Is a career in information technology something you were considering just to be discouraged after reading about just another round of layoffs in IT related industries?! IT careers came under scrutiny the first time when the Internet bubble burst in the early 2000’s. Through-out the first decade of this millennium we have seen several waves of layoffs in information technology related careers. These recurring events have discouraged many younger people from learning an IT related profession.
There are not enough IT professionals
I hate using the baby boomers as one more reason why an IT related career is one with a great future, but thinking about how many baby boomers are going to retire over the next 2 decades and knowing that there is a gap in new IT professionals entering this field you can tell there will be a big gap that needs to be filled and whoever is in this field with a good education has great options available.
Over the last 6 to 7 years the number of college students choosing information technology as their major has steadily declined. There will be a gap of software and hardware engineers that needs to be filled somehow. Many IT companies like Microsoft, Adobe, Apple, Oracle, and many others have asked the government to increase the number of visas to get engineers into the country from places like India or Pakistan. These companies are using the lack of IT students in colleges and universities as a reason why the government should increase visa number for either foreign students who want to stay after successfully graduating from college or to bring in fully trained engineers. The government is hesitating to do so for many years – even before the Obama government was put into place.
What does this mean for individuals today?
If you are undecided which career path to choose, it might be a good choice to pick information technology as the career. However, it is important to note that you need to stay away from the generic education paths and specialize in certain fields. As an example, the basis computer technician or the simple system administrator – these are professions that will not be rewarding and not provide a stable career path. Instead students should become highly specialized in areas like virtualization or cloud computing and the related areas (storage, Unix, Linux). Other areas that offer highly rewarding career options are software development combined with a financial degree or project management.
A plain IT career path will be a road that leads into boredom and the option to be easily replaced or being laid off. Today an engineer in information technology needs to be versatile and show knowledge that goes way beyond the standard field of information technology. By combining 2 career paths like finance and information technology one can make a profession extremely valuable. The employee can easily switch from one path into the other one. An example would be how a software or hardware engineer moves from software or hardware development into a management position on the business side of things.
Conclusion: A career in information technology is a great option to chose when thinking about the future. However, it is important to think outside the box and to combine education pieces from information technology and a different profession into one.