Saying “It’s not what I do” can get you unemployed

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I had the pleasure of speaking with Jonathan Rider, Founder and CEO of JetStream Consulting, regarding current and future job opportunities in IT, given current and future trends in IT and the business place.

Regarding the technical landscape, Jonathan metaphorically compared forecasting the future directions and technologies of cloud computing to being similar to how meteorologists forecast the weather. That is to say, both activities require:
• A careful analysis of current conditions
• An understanding of which way the wind is blowing
• Input from leading industry thinkers
• Data analysis based on imperial and historical evidence

Then, with all this information at hand, you must make an educated decision regarding the future climate. From a weather perspective, missing a major incoming storm leaves you unready to properly respond to inclement weather. From a technology perspective, missing a major IT megatrend can hurt your professional growth and marketability. It can even cost you your job.

Moving from our discussion on the technical climate, we moved to a discussion of what this means for IT jobs today and in the future.

He went on to say, that in today’s technical and business environment, there is a huge advantage of being an out-of-the-box thinker and look at your IT organization holistically, rather than through the lens of your specific technical specialty or current job. This wider vision makes you more valuable to your company because you play the role of internal consultant, in addition to technical hired gun.

In the past, people were hired for their expertise in a single skill, such as Java, SQL Database administration, etc. Today, while it is still very important to have a strong technical specialty, you can’t simply be “a one trick pony”, with no knowledge or familiarity of the technologies around you. While you don’t have to be an expert in all these other technologies, which would be virtually impossible, you should understand how your technical specialty:

• Interacts and interfaces with the technologies around it
• Can be used within the context of cloud-based and other IT megatrends, such as big data
• Helps your organization meet its corporate goals
• Is trending, in regard to its usefulness within the mix of upward trending technologies, trends, and market forces

The lack of this wider view of technology makes you:

• Less versatile to your organization
• Limit your potential employment opportunities to large organizations where specific skills sets are departmentalized
• Reduces the likelihood that you will be included in new technical initiatives outside your tightly defined specialty
• More susceptible to layoff when compared to other techies that can wear multiple hats

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