Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The future of IT, as told by someone who clearly hasn't worked in the same circles I have

I'm a big fan of Tech Republic and their articles, so I thought I would pass on this little charmer.

The Future of IT Will Be Reduced to Three Kinds of Jobs

On the surface it sounds like it's offering solid advice on how up-and-comers can prepare for the future of IT, but I think it neglects something very important: actual businesses.

I've worked for many different companies, both since I remustered into IT and before, and what most of them have in common is that they are not on the cutting edge of technology. I don't think I've ever worked for a company that has had all-new computers running the most up-to-date operating systems and software available. At least not all-across the board, and the ones who were lucky enough to get upgrades then had those machines from then on until retirement (caution: I might be exaggerating).

I've worked for companies that fit in someone's basement, and for multi-nationals that employ many thousands of people. And, let me tell you, Windows XP is still very much alive and well in those environments. Heck, if Windows 3.1 were still supported by Microsoft, I'm half sure it would be running in many of these places.

The major issue is partly cost, but largely it's the users. I still work with people who employ the "hunt and peck"-style of typing and who, if I change the login ID on their computer to briefly troubleshoot an issue, do not know their login name. And many of these people are not edging to retirement.

It's been my experience that a lot of companies have grown and shrunk and experimented with various modes of user support, and the larger companies have realized that they need full-time, permanent IT staff in order to keep operations running smoothly. There are certainly exceptions, but there always are.

Long story short, take the above article with a grain of salt, hone your skills in any of those three areas if that's where you want to be, but don't despair that the desktop technician has gone the way of the dodo just yet.

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