The New IT Professional
Having technical expertise will no longer be sufficient for IT professionals to secure future jobs, according to new research by Gartner. Skepticism toward the effectiveness of IT, the rise of IT automation, and continued geographic labor shifts due to outsourcing means that a new breed of IT professional will be required. By 2010, six out of 10 IT pros will assume business roles, according to the report.
Regardless of whether IT pros work in a corporate IT organization, an outsourcing team, product development, or a business unit, their areas of expertise will change. They also must prove they have a firm understanding of the realities of the business, such as the industry their company plays in, core business processes, customer bases, and regulations, according to Diane Morello, vice president of research at Gartner and author of the report. By 2010, IT departments in midsize and large companies will be 30 percent smaller than they are in 2005, she says. "Some will be bolstered, some will be carved up, some will be redistributed, and some will be displaced. The last decade represented the era of specialists; this decade will mark the era of the versatilists,...people whose numerous roles, assignments, and experiences are enabling them to synthesize knowledge and context to fuel business value."
IT automation will have an impact, most notably software development, testing, and remote system monitoring will all reduce staff size. The use of online services and mobile phones will reduce tolerance not only for complicated systems and applications, but also for the departments and people required to run them. Finally, business restructuring, such as mergers, acquisitions, consolidations, and outsourcing, will challenge IT professional positioning and weaken employee commitment.
According to Morello, IT professionals must focus on their skills in four areas: technology infrastructure and services, or the ability to handle new hardware and software; information design and management, such as BI, online consumer services, and work-enhancement initiatives; business process design and management, and finally relationship and sourcing management, or the ability to manage a diverse workforce from different cultures, due primarily to outsourcing. "IT professionals need to act now by assessing and building their business-specific, core process, and industry knowledge," Morello says. "The greater their grasp of the realities of a business, industry, core process, or market, the wider and more durable their opportunities will be."
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