The Affect Technology will have on the IT Profession in Fifteen to Twenty Years

With a major surge in the availability, attainability and accessibility of information; and the cultural trend moving us towards a more information based society; it\'s not difficult to predict the future of the IT (Information Technology) profession and the impact future technologies will have. Simple by looking back three to five years we can see just how much technology has changed the roles of IT managers. According to Blair Barrett, Division IT Manager for Division 5, Bill Communications, Atlanta; "The roles have changed a great deal regarding the role IT professionals play in the corporate environment. Information is now the key factor in what makes businesses competitive. Businesses, now more than ever, are dependent on technology to access vital information quickly and efficiently. The current result is that IT professionals have moved from the periphery to being a core strategic asset."
Information is becoming more and more the wealth of economy. Cultural phenomenon has us moving from an industrial-based civilization with a national economy to an information-based civilization with a universal economy. This correlates directly with the IT profession - as we become more and more information-based, we are going to need someone to manage these resources as well as someone to design and implement emerging technologies. According to Blair Barret, "Rapid changes and advances in hardware and software technology has given rise to the need for more specialized technicians and technical managers. In the past, managers didn\'t need much if any technology background to perform their jobs. However, today it is becoming increasingly important for managers to know how the technology works in order to make more educated decisions. Where in the past homogenous networks were the rule, they are now the exception." This rather recent trend of managers knowing the ins and outs of how technology works in order to make more informed decisions will only grow in the next fifteen to twenty years as the computer impacts or daily lives more and more. The onslaught of the information age is here and specially trained persons are needed to make sense of it all.
However, one of the biggest problems today with the IT profession is the lack of qualified graduates entering the field. Though this statement is applied more liberally to the late 90\'s, it can also give insight to the future of the IT profession as it relates with advancing technology. Business was one of the first to recognize this problem and has thus brought it forefront. Aileen Crowley of PC Week Online summed it up best in her September, 7 1998 article, "IT Administrators are Hitting the College Circuit to Evangelize Opportunities in their Companies": "Given the shortage of skilled IT talent, technology groups from every industry are recognizing their increased dependence on attracting a flow of college graduates to build their ranks. To help foster connection with the next generation of professionals, technology managers are taking on a variety of roles, including curriculum adviser, faculty and student mentor, and goodwill ambassador for the IT profession." (http://www.zdnet.com/pcweek/news/0907/07recruit.html).
In the next fifteen to twenty years we surely won\'t see the IT profession taking a back seat. IT professionals are highly sought after today, and though numerous technical institutions are springing up offering IT degrees, the anticipation of an over-saturated IT market is more myth than fact. "There is a lot of hype surrounding the IT profession and the high salaries which are being offered. The situation now, and will be for the foreseeable future, is there is a shortage of IT professionals. While there will be a large percentage of under qualified IT professionals, I think it will be a situation where either they will rise to the occasion or move on to other professions." Stated Blair Barrett.
Job security and availability is a major concern for anyone entering the job market in the next two to three years. However, with new, bigger, better and faster technologies hitting the shelves every day; and with information being key to economic prosperity, the next fifteen to twenty years look exceptionally bright for the "new IT professional". Proof of this can be seen as businesses and organizations alike join with