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Predictions: The Changing World of IT Work

We’re working in a world of constant change.  In his recent Datamation article, James Maguire noted the difficult challenge of staying employed in an environment in which the rules are continually rewritten.  Looking for a forecast to help workers plan ahead, Maquire spoke with Gartner analyst Diane Morello, author of a study looks at the tech workplace through 2010, The IT Professional Outlook: Where Will We Go From Here?  The article presented 5 predictions for those thinking about career directions as they look toward 2010.

1) 60% of people affiliated with the IT organization will assume business-facing roles.
This is a shift from about 30% today. The IT worker who’s strictly focused on technology is going to be a rarer bird.  “In many of the companies that we talk to, there’s a clear demand from the business that the IT organization become more business savvy.”  Paradoxically, the same report says that “there’s also kind of a subversive demand within IT organizations that businesses become more IT savvy.”

2) 30% of top technology performers will migrate to IT vendors and IT service providers.
Currently, the overwhelming majority of IT workers work for companies that *use* technology, but this is going to change.  IT pros who don’t want to delve into business should look to IT service providers to find more technical jobs.

3) IT organizations in mid- and large-sized companies will become at least 30% smaller.
Outsourcing and automation will shrink IT departments. The impact could be enormous.

4) 10% to 15% of IT professionals will drop out.
Staying employed in turbulent waters can wear down even the most resilient soul.  Some give up and change careers - and a larger proportion of these will be women, a trend already in evidence.

5) 70% of leading-edge companies will seek and develop “versatilists” while de-emphasizing specialists.
A versatilist is a staffer with enough multi-faceted expertise – across business, technology and inter-personal skills – to handle several areas of responsibility at once.  In Agile software, another term for this is the generalizing specialist.

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