Corporate IT is in the midst of a major transformation. You already know that. One thing you may not realize is that the movement to externalize service delivery and implement shared services will eliminate more than half of today’s roles by 2015, leaving experienced professionals with little choice but to reinvent themselves.
“IT Professionals can’t wait, or their employers will end up deciding their fate,” says Margaret Meloni, president of Meloni Coaching Solutions in Long Beach, Calif. “They need to do some soul-searching, decide what they want to do and set a new course, because the clock is ticking.”
Option One: Stick to a Pure Technical Role
Traditional technical roles in Corporate America will decline by at least 80 percent, according to the Corporate Executive Board. If you want to continue developing applications and technical infrastructure, you’ll will need to transition to a cloud provider or high-tech firm, or hope you’ll be one of few to survive corporate restructuring.
“Every company will retain a few technical professionals, but they won’t be working in production,” says Abhijeet Khadilkar, a career counselor in San Jose. “The survivors will primarily serve as advisors and they’ll need a broad base of expert technical knowledge along with the ability to integrate governance and planning into day-to-day operations.”
Cconsulting is another option, though long-term survival requires a commitment to learning cutting edge technology. Alameda-based career coach Tim Johnston says technology professionals with diverse specialties should consider banding together and offering their services through a guild as an alternative to working in the corporate world.
Option Two: Get Into an Emerging Role
Although some roles will be eliminated, the shift to the cloud and service management will create at least seven new IT-related positions, including leadership roles in shared services and technology brokers. And, there’ll be an astounding estimated 250 percent increase in the need for information architects.
Most will need new skills and competencies to nab one of these jobs. But most companies don’t plan to offer training. So you’ll have to demonstrate your ability to think strategically and work with large groups of diverse stakeholders if you’re going to compete against outsiders.
Khadilkar says professionals can acquire knowledge on the cheap by searching YouTube and TechCrunch to pick-up emerging skills like usability design, information visualization, unstructured information management and cloud integration. And since CIOs are still devising their plans and have yet to allay concerns about information security, you have a limited opportunity to reposition yourself in order to fend off advances from outsiders.
Option Three: Find an Embedded Role
Sixteen positions currently housed in IT will move to shared services by 2015, and 88 percent of embedded jobs won’t require a technical background. But the change could usher in new opportunities for multi-skilled professionals, because business unit line managers will need basic knowledge in requirements definition, product and vendor management, and product evaluation.
Requesting a transfer to a business unit today can help you become tomorrow’s line managers, relationship managers and user experience designers. “Great designers and architects aren’t born or created in school, they evolve through experience,” Johnston points out. “It’s better to embrace the change and move out of the IT silo now, so you can re-tool for the future.”