Want to keep your job in IT? You’d better be prepared for change

Looking back in time (you know – all the way back to the 1990’s) it seemed that a job in IT was almost guaranteed. After all, each and every company had the need for IT services and they all built IT departments , so it was only a matter of time before they started to employ IT Professionals.  And then they started building internal Data Centers.

Once you had the job it was so easy to keep it. After all, IT was this big black hole that nobody in the business understands… and you’re the magician who makes it all happen. Why on earth would they fire you? And why would they pay you a standard wage?? These super difficult and super secret qualities didn’t appear overnight.. they require at least double the wage/salary that the rest of the people in the business are earning…

And the business paid it, and the business accepted it…

 

Until they didn’t anymore!

 

<… snippet from Friday’s post… > So what does this have to do with humans and human capital? Well – everything! What do you do when everything around you seems stable? Let’s focus on the IT Industry and the need for IT Professionals. (one could even argue that the graph above could be true for the need of internal IT Professionals within companies). <… end snippet – read complete post here>

 

The 2013 version of the truth about your job in IT:

Nothing is what it used to be

    • Information Technology is an integral part of doing business. It is not a stand-alone service anymore – it is encapsulated in everything that we do. IT Services are as important to the business as electricity. Sure – the business probably doesn’t understand all the ins and outs of the technology, but who knows exactly how electricity is created? It is no longer required to understand the science behind the copper wires, the magnetic fields and the power generators. What the business needs is the visible end-result of the process.

      The same is true for IT – what the business needs is the visible end-result of the process of IT. The end result has to provide the best possible result for the business, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the process of managing Information Technology happens in an internal department or internal Data-center.  

    • More and more organisations outsource the technical component of IT to specialist providers. Even Government departments are moving away from a 100% internal IT Service provision model as is evident from this article.

 

    • This doesn’t mean it’s the death of IT or that IT Professionals aren’t needed anymore – it simply means now more than ever before we need to proof our value to the business. What is it that we as internal IT Professionals offer that is priceless?? The IT jobs are changing and you (the IT Professionals) need to change with it.
      What do you know about the trends in IT? How can your business use mobile technology? What can we learn about the big data projects out there? Is this something that could be helpful for the business (who, after all, still pay your wage…). Show your sponsor that you’ve got what it takes and that you are the unique specimen that they can’t live without!… either that or switch jobs. There won’t be a middle ground anymore.

The business knows what you’re doing

    • Information Technology is no longer a big black hole – the business client is savvy enough to understand what you do. And through Internet research they have access to enough high level information to know what results can be gained from IT Services. It just depends if they are interested enough to do this research. And if your business client is a Gen-X person, they most likely will do this research!
      They know about cloud computing opportunities and apps that can be used for business purposes. (and are not afraid to use them without discussing this with you)
    • The way you discuss the need for IT Services with your business client has changed… you don’t call the shots anymore! You need to develop listening skills and generic business / sales skills. You need to actively market the value the internal IT department offers the business because if you don’t… it will be all over! 
    • Show your value – show that you understand what the business needs from IT and show that you’re staying on top of what is out there. If you don’t do it, somebody else will. In this global economy you’re not only competing with the IT Professionals in your city our state but you’re competing globally… So make sure you continue your professional development and improve your skills to continue to stay relevant to your boss and the business.

Gen Y doesn’t respect technology
Jason Dorsey talks about Gen Y in IT jobs
Jason Dorsey tells us in every keynote presentation, article and interview about Gen Y: “This generation is NOT the tech-savvy one.. it’s the tech-dependent one”. Gen Y doesn’t respect technology like Gen-X does. Gen Y doesn’t understand HOW it works, it just has to work (and look pretty!).
This is a challenge for IT Professionals. How do you sell your value to the business client when they don’t appreciate all the work that is behind the user interface? How do you sell the man-hours required to complete a functional statement of requirements? 
Again – it is up to us as IT Professionals to keep an open mind. Continue our Professional education to look beyond what we’ve learnt in school. Have the brains to take control of your own future and study! Study new project management methodologies, study new rapid development methodologies. Analyse what is happening in the industry and where all the jobs are going!

 

I guess this is a long way to say the following: YOU are responsible for your future in IT. YOU make the difference in your IT job and your career in IT. If you don’t take the initiative to continue your professional development, somebody else will. And the way things seem to be going at the moment there may not be as many IT jobs available in the short term future. So you owe it to yourself to stay relevant and valuable to your company and your boss. 

(Next time we’ll look at it from the employers’ perspective and how they can help you to continually improve. )