Effect of IT megatrends on your career

To those who have emailed me asking what specific technologies they should learn or what IT trends you should follow, here is my reply.

I often receive emails asking me questions such as:

• Should I learn Java or .NET? • What cloud technologies should I learn? • Should I become a Business Analyst or a Project Manager? • Will learning PHP and MySQL help my career? • Is web design a good thing for me to learn? • What types of jobs could I get with a Masters in Computer Science?

These are all very important questions to ask and are very difficult to give quality generalized answers because everyone’s skills, strengths, weaknesses, career aspirations, are different. Added to this difficulty is that the local demand for specific skills and technologies vary in different parts of the world and from industry to industry.

What I can say to all, however, is to pay attention to the various IT megatrends in general and pay very close attention to the IT megatrends related to your specific technical profession. For example, if you work in a data center, you should follow industry trends related to virtualization, green computing, IaaS and PaaS (Infrastructure/Platform as a Service), private cloud technologies, and software-driven data communication.

The reason that following these IT megatrends so closely is because each of the trends can:

• Create new exciting and lucrative career opportunities • Make your current skill set obsolete • Provide interesting technical challenges • Require you to gain new skills or risk falling behind • Dramatically increase your pay and professional marketability • Cause you to wake up one morning and realize that you have no marketable skills

For better or worse, as a technologist, you have entered a profession that requires professional curiosity, lifelong learning, and stepping outside your technical comfort zone on an ongoing basis. You basically have two choices, embrace this continual technical advancement or slowly professionally decay.

The list below outlines many of the IT industry’s biggest megatrends. Read though each one carefully and make an assessment of which trends you should casually follow and which trends you should continually and closely examine because of its effect on your specific technical profession.

Business oriented IT Megatrends

• Mobile Computing: The ability to use a computer from any location with or without a connection to a physical network to retrieve, create, and/or distribute information • BYOD (Bring Your Own Device): When employees bring their personal devices to work and use them within the workplace as part of the organization’s technical platform and infrastructure • Consumerization of IT: An expression used to describe consumer-related technology purchasing trends that find their way into corporate computing environments and infrastructure • Content-based Marketing: A social media based marketing strategy for companies that market their products and enhance their brand by providing quality information related to their products • Social Media Monitoring: Watching/listening to what consumers are saying online about their company, products, and brand • Big Data Analytics: The process of examining large quantities of data in a variety of formats to discover hidden patterns, correlations and other useful information. This information can then be used to provide competitive advantages, enhance current products, enter new markets, and other business endeavors • Data Visualization: The process of visually representing data in a way that provides meaning to the viewer; its goal is to communicate information clearly through graphical means

Technology specific IT Megatrends

• Big Data: Data that is so large and complex that it becomes difficult or impossible to process using conventional database management tools • Machine-Generated Data: Data that is created by machines, without human intervention • Cloud Computing: Large general-purpose, scalable computers, accessible via the internet (or company’s intranet network), used to serve multiple organizations • Virtualization: The logical separation of software from the underlying physical device on which it is processed • Green Computing: The practice of creating and running efficient and eco-friendly data centers

If you have any questions about your career in IT, please email me at eric@ManagerMechanics.com or find me on Twitter at @EricPBloom.

Until next time, work hard, work smart, and continue to build your professional brand.

Read more of Eric Bloom's Your IT Career blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Eric on Twitter at @EricPBloom. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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