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Key Skills and Jobs for Aspiring IT Professionals

Key Skills and Jobs for Aspiring IT Professionals

What Job and Skills Will Lead You Up the Ladder to IT Career Success?What Job and Skills Will Lead You Up the Ladder to IT Career Success?Some IT roles face extinction while others are set to expand in the modern workplace. Which ones will lead you up (rather than down) the ladder of success?

I don’t hear from Senior Editor Barry Gerber at Tom’s very often, but whenever I do my profound tendency is to stand up and pay attention. Last week he suggested to my immediate supervisor and regular collaborator at Tom’s IT Pro that I might just want to check out an article from a recent Global Knowledge (a large and well-recognized training and certification company) newsletter entitled “IT Roles Facing Extinction.”

This turned out to be a very worthwhile suggestion, for reasons this blog post will do its best to elaborate as briefly and clearly as possible. Hopefully, you’ll also get some good career advice and suggestions along the way, too.

Let’s start with a list of “Interesting Aphorisms” that I see all over this article:

  1. Basic programming jobs and simple, first-line support positions will continue to move offshore. The economics of wages and cost of living keep pushing the most rudimentary and basic tasks and activities wherever they can be performed most cheaply, and that’s not going to change any time soon, if ever.
  2. Today’s IT workers, and especially tomorrow’s, need more versatile and people-oriented skillsets. Project management, people skills, and math/science expertise are all becoming increasingly important in IT. The drive toward these kinds of value-adds will only increase over time, and those who have or can develop such skills should prosper accordingly.
  3. IT’s role in businesses and organizations is changing from a break-fix, stop-gap, support cost center to an outward-focused, business-oriented, and productivity-enabling profit center orientation. Where IT plays an important role, it provides extreme opportunities for leverage and for business: think about how Amazon’s data center expertise has changed the industry, or what the development of a cloud ecosystem means for future IT deployments and uses.
  4. IT is getting far smaller, with far more concentrated and elevated levels of skill, knowledge, and expertise. Contributing factors toward this distillation process include increasing and more effective uses for automation, virtualization, off-shoring, and the migration away from low-level, traditional IT job roles and activities.

Next Page: The kinds of IT jobs moving up or expanding and moving down or contracting.

Ed Tittel is a 30-year-plus veteran of the computing industry, who’s worked as a programmer, a technical manager, a classroom instructor, a network consultant and a technical evangelist for companies that include Burroughs, Schlumberger, Novell, IBM/Tivoli and NetQoS. He has written and blogged for numerous publications, including Tom's Hardware, and is the author of over 140 computing books with a special emphasis on information security, Web markup languages and development tools, and Windows operating systems.

E-mail Ed at with your request for IT certification or career info, or your ideas for future blogs. If your e-mail leads him to a blog topic, he’ll have the Tom’s staff send you your very own Tom’s IT Pro t-shirt! Be the envy of your friends and colleagues, and help him help you with your IT career! If you do have a request for Ed, please read his How to Help Me Help You blog posting, and answer as many of the questions this post contains as are applicable to your situation and inquiry. Thanks in advance for helping make his job easier that way!

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