The days when you could slap some Cisco or Microsoft certifications onto your ré³µmé ¡nd write your own ticket are long over, says Lenny Fuchs, owner of My IT Department, which provides contract tech services to small businesses.
"Without the work experience to back it up, certifications are almost useless," he says. Fuchs adds he gets a kick out of seeing ré³µmé³ that read "John Doe, MCTS, CCA, CTSGIT, MCITP, CCNA, MCP. Last held position: Assistant manager at Starbucks."
Thanks to increased automation, even high-level Cisco Certified Infrastructure Engineers could be facing the same fate as encyclopedia salesmen, paperboys, and switchboard operators, says Dante Malgrino, CEO and co-founder of Embrane, a platform-as-a-service vendor.
"In the new programmed network model, it will no longer be about humans configuring machines via a CLI or GUI, but rather more about machines and software communicating via programmatic interfaces," he says.
How to avoid extinction: Become an engineer/programmer by mastering a scripting language like Python, Ruby, or PHP, says Malgrino. Or turn your attention to creating your own intellectual property, such as journal articles and presentations at industry conferences, advises Meikle. "That will help you truly stand out from the crazed credentialists."
Endangered IT species No. 6: The Common Web Designer (Templator fillerupus)At one time they numbered in the millions; now there are only a handful left. Automated site-creation tools and increasing dependence on sophisticated marketing techniques has deprived millions of HTML and Flash designers of the natural Web lands they once called home.
"Dropping boring prose into a template isn't going to cut it in today's marketing maelstrom," says Simpletech's Madderra. "Companies that wish to flourish online need to build content based upon solid SEO [search engine optimization] principles utilizing media, writing, and design elements organized around a marketing plan. The Internet is swarming with companies champing at the bit to provide these services, some even for free."
As Fuchs from My IT Department notes, "My mom has a website. She made it herself with Go Daddy's tools. Once your mom can master a technology, experts begin to disappear."
How to avoid becoming extinct: Become an SEO maven, says Fuchs.
"With all these site-creation tools and the move to less dynamic websites that are more friendly to mobile devices, Web designers need to become to SEO experts very quickly or they will be out of a job."
Endangered IT species No. 7: The Woolly Unix Mammoth (Mainframus obsolete)Once one of the dominant creatures in the enterprise biosphere, Unix servers -- and, by extension, the people paid to tend them -- are heading for the tar pits. Not because they can't still do the work, but because they're being replaced by more nimble and less expensive Linux boxes, says Anthony R. Howard, author of "The Invisible Enemy: Black Fox" and a technology consultant for Fortune 50 companies and the U.S. military.