IT Careers That Will Stand the Test of Time

It certainly isn’t a pleasant memory. Tech had been riding high for years. Fears about the millennium bug meant that any programmer with a pulse could find employment. Most programmers with a pulse, however, weren’t looking for work—they were probably already employed at an improbable salary by some high-flying tech company.
Then it all fell apart. There were no computer problems with the date rollover to 2000, and all the programmers hired to take care of Y2K problems were suddenly superfluous. Many of high-flying tech companies crashed. Outsourcing became popular. Jobs that had seemed entirely stable simply vaporized. Corporations that seemed entirely stable simply vaporized. The US software industry lost 16% of its jobs between March 2001 and March 2004 .
Tech is one of the few bright spots in the economy today, but we live in a world where it’s difficult to feel secure about the economic future, especially when memories of the 2000 dot-com crash are so fresh. And unnervingly, most experts agree that the world economy is undergoing a fundamental sea change. It’s difficult to predict how much, and in just what ways, it will be transformed over the course of the next couple of decades. An article in Forbes posits that traditional employment is an outdated concept and that jobs as we know them are going to soon almost disappear.
IT seems to be in a better position than many career fields to weather the storms. IT jobs are becoming more and more portable. IT specialists work remotely all over the world without leaving their kitchens, and being able to work anywhere represents lots of opportunity. And IT is still one of the drivers of innovation. Clouds, iPhones, and Big Data today, and who knows what’s coming next?
These might be some of the best IT careers for tomorrow’s IT experts:
1. Business architecture. One aspect of IT that seems destined to flourish in the future is integrating IT with the business needs of companies. Business architects help determine what business systems will most benefit from IT, and just what kind IT applications will be most suitable. A business architect should have deep knowledge both of business processes and technology.
2. Analytics. Everyone’s drowning in data, and surprisingly enough all that data might be useful. Slice and dice it just right, and it could actually provide very useful consumer information, the kind of information businesses are dying to have. The advisory firm Gartner predicts that there will be 4.4 million Big Data jobs by 2015, and that because of a lack of qualified people only one-third of the jobs will be filled.
3. Project management. This old-fashioned career continues to prosper. IT projects can be incredibly complex, and the demand for skilled project managers grows every year. Project management is becoming better defined—it used to be a job that many people more or less fell into, but now more and more companies demand certification.
4. Consulting. What could better typify the trend toward non-traditional employment than consulting? Jobs that last only the life of a project are obviously more economical for an employer, and consulting seems very likely to continue to grow. And it can provide lots of benefits for the consultant. An opportunity to travel, a chance to work in many industries, good money—for anyone who’s ready to embrace an independent career path, this could be the way to go.

Lani Carroll lives in Colorado Springs with her bees, chickens, and horses. She can be found at her Google+ Profile.