Effect of IT megatrends on your career

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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

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