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I AM AN IT SPECIALIST, WHAT’S NEXT?

Business in the IT market has grown spectaculary in the past 30 years, the IT industry being one of the most dinamic and revolutionary. With technological maturity, IT&C employees have had to face new challenges in their careers due to a large degree of obsolescence when it comes to advanced knowledge concentrated around niche products or products that dissapere from the market[…]

In just 20 years, the global network known as Internet, is heading according to technological predictions to the shocking number of 50 billion interconnected devices by 2020, more than 6 times more devices than people. This new reality makes the IT industry focus on developing hardware equipment and software solutions oriented towards this area.

As jobs dissapere because of technological advancements, those who practiced them need to be ready for something else. The future of the work force market will bring continous changes and as such the working part of the population need to follow continous learning programs. The famous Alber Einstein used to say: “Learning is what remains after we eliminated all the information reiceved in school” and was complemented by this saying: “I do not teach my students anything, I just try to offer them the conditions in which they can learn.”

As such, the era in which a gruaduate of a prestigious learning institution with a specialization known to society (lawyer, doctor, economist etc.) would have their future settled for, is about to be replaced by one in which continous development of capabilities as well as an open mind are the main trump cards of the new type of specialist.

20 years ago I was starting my career in assisted computer projection, thinking that that domain will guarantee my professional success. After just 5 years, I was convinced that data bases and computer networks for comapnies, always in a continous development, represented the true professional El Dorado. As such, in 2001 I started my “crusade” with IT Pro professional certifications for Microsoft products, reaching over 40 held exams and certifications.

Even though all of this was not an objective in itself just a necesity imposed by the more and more advanced knowledge of software platforms launched by Microsoft, each new step had a huge impact over my self esteen and brought immediate recognition of my professional abilities in the projects I was a part of. As such, when I considered myself experienced enough in designing, planning, administering and implementing these platforms I considered a must my engagement in the training of new specialists, thus reaching my 16th year as a Microsoft trainer.

The year 2010 is a turning point in the evolution of Microsoft products, when, the public cloud platform Office 365, Windows Azure platform and the series of products destined for private environments based on the Windows Server 2008 R2 and System Center platforms were launched. As such I considered normal to focus on this new line of business, obtaining in less than 6 months the charter acreditation MCSE Private Cloud. The quick evolution of these platforms have forced Microsoft to change multiple times the vision and trajectory in which these products were heading which lead to a new series of products being introduced from the 2012R2 familly which will proppel in just 3 years (according to a study by Gartner 2015) the Microsoft platforms on second place world-wide.

The continous development of public service platforms aimed at the billion of connected devices has lead to the dissaperence and transformation of many IT specializations and makes finding an answer to the “what is the next step in my IT career” question required.

This is the reason for which this article trys to bring some answers to this questions. In the following rows we sugest a few areas of interest for the future of IT&C industry:

Online sector specialization: the Internet

The online sector is the one that will continue to grow from now on. There is a tendancy of finding new uses for this medium which will indirectly lead to the creation of new jobs. Companies will continue to be present on the Internet in the future as a consequence of their audience moving to the virtual environment. In order to not lose contact with their clients, comapnies will use online strategies to attract the public. As such web developers, web designers, SEO specialists and online content editors will be highly sought after in the future.

If people spend more and more time on the internet, then publicity tends to follow this trend. This has lead to a growing number of specialists that take sell online publicity space. The positions of online media planner and online media buyer will be numerous in the future. In order to become one you need to be creative, know the online market and not least to be a good negotiator.

More so, online information, so accessible in the present will have a different status in the future, online publications will trade information for money in order to increase the quality of articles. Users won’t pay for data which are not credible enough or that they could get from other sources. Information security will become one of the more acute problems than in the present, with the need to not only protect copyrights but also personal information and user’s access as the number of fraud attempts increase. As such, data security jobs will increase in number and complexity.

Specializations in  hardware and software IT infrastructure

The IT industry never stopped developing since the first hardware and software platforms keeping up constantly with the development cycles: mainframe systems, personal computers, virtual environments and more recently cloud services. For this, pro hardware and software IT specialists are invaluble.

In a continous ascention is the software area, meant to give the growing number of users, new platforms managed by software developers. Even though in the years to come the supply and demand of work in this area will even out, information technology specialists will continue to be sought after. The future is heading twoards a domination of services and software products because these successfuly replace the human component and even the programming activity is expected to be replaced by machines in the future. Even so, the creativity and innovation aspects of software design will be missing from these machines.

Currently, the best payed programmers are those working in the banking and telecommunications sectors because they need to also have knowledge of those industries. In the future, programmers will need to specialize in various sectors and, indirectly, acquire knowledge different from just software. Currently IT specialists have the advantage of not competeing with people from other generations, as it happens in other sectors. But as this situation changes the level of candidate’s knowledge and skill will increase to keep up with the market.

In previous years the best paying jobs in Romania used to be those of programmers. Currently new specializations have appeared in our country as well such as system architect, software applicaitons architect, business analyst. Romanian specialists who occupied these positions in foreign countries will, in the years to come, come back to work in Romania.

Because many data bases will be transfered into a computerized system those who currently hold the position of data base administrators will be sought after in the future as well. The tendancy to depozit more detailed medical information in the present as well as the ease with which through mobile equipment and devices you can gather personal information, will make developing managing, sorting and analyzing tools a must ofering additional specializations to programmers. Just like the online environment there will be an increasing demand of data security technologies and as such more data security specialists, current technologies being replaced by more advanced encription technologies. The transfer of data to computerized platforms will require a new apraoch regarding computer networks as well.

The current positions of system administrator and engineer, support tehnician and network administrator will be converted into new specializations: Cloud Solution Architect, Automation Eengineer, Technical Engineer Cloud Ssolution, Cloud Service Life Cycle specialist, Cloud DevOps, Planning & Design Cloud Engineer. Because of their technical background old specializations will have several requirements of the new ones and as such the process of reconversion will be simplified the only chanllenge being the number of available jobs because of automation and moving responsibilities from hardware resources to service providers.

An increasing trend can be noticed with regards to outsourcing services, our country becoming an active player on the european and world scene because if it’s large number of specialists. In the 90s Romania considered itself 50-100 years behind developed countries from North America and Europe, with this distance shrinking to less than a year in present because of the easy and quick access to information and technological selectivity specific to new players on the market. As such romanian companies will continue to attract pro IT specialists twoards technical support positions for externalized IT services of companies throughout the world.

Communication between devices will take on new dimensions in the future and once started, this process will replace human effort with technological one. As such, information technology specialists can consider themselves people of the future. The market development will indirectly provide new job opportunities.

Marian Pandilica, Systems Engineer Bittnet

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