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Are Information Technology's Glory Days Over?

timothy posted about 5 years ago | from the incentives-attract-takers dept.

Businesses 333

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that computer science students with the entrepreneurial spirit may want to look for a different major, because if Thomas M. Siebel, founder of Siebel Systems, is right, IT is a mature industry that will grow no faster than the larger economy, its glory days having ended in 2000. Addressing Stanford students in February as a guest of the engineering school, Siebel called attention to 20 sweet years from 1980 to 2000, when worldwide IT spending grew at a compounded annual growth rate of 17 percent. 'All you had to do was show up and not goof it up,' Siebel says. 'All ships were rising.' Since 2000, however, that rate has averaged only 3 percent. His explanation for the sharp decline is that 'the promise of the post-industrial society has been realized.' In Siebel's view, far larger opportunities are to be found in businesses that address needs in food, water, health care and energy. Though Silicon Valley was 'where the action was' when he finished graduate school, he says, 'if I were graduating today, I would get on a boat and I would get off in Shanghai.'"

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Obvious (4, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29001603)

It's just obvious. The reason for IT's growth during late 90's and early 2000's was because it was new, great technology. Now its getting common.

In Siebel's view, far larger opportunities are to be found in businesses that address needs in food, water, health care and energy.

This doesn't really make sense. IT has lots of opportunities too. Its true that "sure ways to get rich" times might be over, but its not like the other indrustries have those anymore.

Re:Obvious (5, Interesting)

linhares (1241614) | about 5 years ago | (#29001679)

You're right on mark. Of course there are diminishing returns for those working on "classical" areas, like sysadmins, or IDE development, etc. But that does not mean that the industry as a whole is stabilizing; that's bullshit: we have nothing close to AI, we are just starting the überphone revolution; we are just entering the high-bandwidth computing era with 1080p, GPGPU for all, etc; there are whole new frameworks of interaction in the web, like html5 (and the idea of openGL in the browser is popping up), Adobe Air, etc., and things are improving in each of these areas.

Let's not forget that computing is now accepted as a new way of doing science--going beyond experiments and theorizing (and way beyond what we can do with mathematics in complex, highly interacting multi-agent systems. Data mining is exploding; just take a look at Freakonomics and there you have it: a hotshot economist who does nothing but interesting data mining.

Then along comes this suit and brings this stupid false dichotomy: because there is demand for other stuff, like food; demand for IT is stabilizing?

I am from Brazil (thank you for your sympathy) where global demand for food will probably benefit our economy (and hurt other industries like IT, due to a rising currency), but seriously, WTF? The only news here is that this dude cannot reason very sharply and shouldn't be invited again.

Re:Obvious (4, Interesting)

SerpentMage (13390) | about 5 years ago | (#29001751)

>Data mining is exploding; just take a look at Freakonomics and there you have it: a hotshot economist who does nothing but interesting data mining.

Yes, but what was he first? A computer programmer or an economist? He was an economist first who happened to learn how to use a computer. That is the way that the industry is shifting.

The industry is stablizing for those that are general programmers. And what is opening are specialized niches of people who understand the business and the computer. As I work in a hedge fund I cannot imagine any fund these days not having quants or algo-programmers at their disposal. Guess what I did about 4 years ago? I switched from being a general programmer to a specializing quant/algo-programmer.

If I had to advise somebody today I would say learn a field first, and then make sure that you can write the code in that field. That is the best combination. Could you first learn the code and then the field? Well sure you can, but business will prefer the other guy first. After all most companies and people in the field don't really care about the code anymore. After all most of the code these days is written in "very safe" languages where it is hard to shoot yourself in the foot.

Re:Obvious (5, Funny)

linhares (1241614) | about 5 years ago | (#29001837)

The industry is stablizing for those that are general programmers.

Oh, [slashdot.org] is [androiddevelopment.org] it? [google.com] I [apple.com] missed [adobe.com] that [cnet.com] memo [numenta.com] .

Re:Obvious (1)

codeguy007 (179016) | about 5 years ago | (#29002201)

[quote]And what is opening are specialized niches of people who understand the business and the computer. As I work in a hedge fund I cannot imagine any fund these days not having quants or algo-programmers at their disposal. Guess what I did about 4 years ago? I switched from being a general programmer to a specializing qua[/quote]

I beg to differ. There's been a need for computer programmers who understand business and accounting since before the PC was born. IBM has made their business on providing computers and software for businesses. Even before computers, IBM was making machines for Business. Nothing new here.

Re:Obvious (1)

hitmark (640295) | about 5 years ago | (#29001777)

in other words, the pure computer job is saturated, but the computer aided jobs are still out there.

thats something thats been bothering me for some time. We seem to have overspecialized, and therefor miss out of eureka effects that come from people mixing knowledge in one area with knowledge in another. Basically, there are to many ivory towers, striving to build towards the heavens in their own focused ways, when they would get there faster if they joined forces with 3-4 nearby towers and turned them into the foundation of a single, large tower.

Re:Obvious (4, Interesting)

SerpentMage (13390) | about 5 years ago | (#29001787)

I disagree here...

You have chemical engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers and system engineers. Very different and very specialized. Is there some overlap? Sure a bit, but generally very unique and very different. I am a mechanical engineer and that means anything that moves belongs to me. Civil engineers ensure that nothing moves, and system engineers ensure that the project moves.

But there is nothing wrong with specialization since with specialization we have a mature industry and we are moving forwards.

Re:Obvious (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 5 years ago | (#29002387)

Of course one thing that computers are really good at is engineering. In fact the easiest areas to apply artificial intelligence are in engineering, especially molecular engineering. Give the computer the problem and let it iterate through possible solutions, whilst a person might make an intuitive leap or stumble upon a solution through serendipity, the computer is relentless, calculating solution after solution until through, evolutionary based engineering, it finds the optimal solution, whether it take 10,000 trial runs or 10,000,000 trial runs, it will inevitably find the optimal solution, and then it can automatically prepare the documentation for slower humans to produce the actual product.

The trickiest thing for artificial intelligence to replicate is effective interaction with a real world environment. Safest jobs are tradesmen, electrician, plumber, carpenter etc. The reality is a couple of very skilled engineers and a bunch of coders can replace tens of thousands of engineers, produce just one solution in software and it can be copied an unlimited number of times.

Re:Obvious (4, Interesting)

SerpentMage (13390) | about 5 years ago | (#29001733)

No IT is actually mature. And with a mature industry there are less opportunities.

BUT, what also can be said is that without IT there is no industry. IT is at the heart of every industry, and hence the focus has changed. Namely you would focus on the industry and make sure that you know IT.

So if you were to seek out a niche in energy, good for it, but you better know how to use a computer, and potentially write a program.

And if you are going to do IT, you better learn a programming langauge that can be applied to a specific industry. For example I am in the financial industry. And I am not having a hard time looking for work. Why? Because I am act as a junior trader. I know how to place trades, watch the market and manage my positions. And on top of it I can write all of the data mining routines that our hedge fund needs.

Re:Obvious (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29001965)

Please learn how to shoot VERY accurately. Then I'd like you to go on a murderous rampage at work and don't miss even one of the blood sucking vultures you work with. Bullets, $9.95 at Walmart. One less hedge fund, priceless.

Oh yes there is! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29001765)

but its not like the other indrustries have those anymore.

To name a few: Biotech, green energy and nano tech.

Re:Obvious (5, Interesting)

Znork (31774) | about 5 years ago | (#29001867)

The reason for IT's growth during late 90's and early 2000's was because it was new, great technology.

Actually I'd say it was because the cost/benefit ratio came within reach for a large number of applications that could benefit from IT solutions. Computers had already existed for a long time, but replacing phones, typewriters and hordes of analysts, accountants and other 'manual-IT' workers with computers that'd do the same job for a vastly higher price wasn't very useful.

This doesn't really make sense. IT has lots of opportunities too.

Indeed. IT for ITs sake has never been much more than a scam. IT is something you use to address various needs. In, for example, health care, where IT is vastly underutilized (systems to assist medical diagnosis, to prevent misdiagnosis, track drug interaction to a larger extent, computer assisted surgery, etc, etc). If other fields have opportunities, IT has opportunities in those fields.

Growth rates may become more tied to specific industry segments, but that's because most of the current useful things that 'everyone' was doing, communications, bookkeeping, typing and presentations, wont experience the same mass-affordability and cost/benefit threshold traverse anymore. But the fields that do grow are likely to also do so through IT improvements, in everything from food and water logistics, farm automation, healthcare IT, smart energy usage/production, etc.

Re:Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29001881)

More importantly, you can now hire it out ridiculously cheap off shore. It's as menial and blah as flipping burgers.

Nice speaking engagement (5, Funny)

Overunderrated (1518503) | about 5 years ago | (#29001613)

In other news... Thomas M. Siebel is no longer being asked to come speak at colleges.

Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29001615)

It just got sodomized like every other technology area. Nothing to see hear. Move along now, go on! Once the monkeys get a foothold, it's game over.

An apocalyptic view of computers and IT? (3, Informative)

Norsefire (1494323) | about 5 years ago | (#29001625)

If everything anyone ever said about IT and computers came true, we would all have 640K memory.

As a HS sophomore, I was told to not major in CS (5, Insightful)

VampireByte (447578) | about 5 years ago | (#29002327)

At age 15 my college plan was to major in computer science. This was in 1978. My father had me meet with some people who worked in the field. They all told me to find another interest, that by the time I graduated from college there would be nothing to do... all the computer programs would be written, all maintenance would be automated, etc. Lucky for me I snicker at crusty old fuckers, ie. anybody 20 years older than my current age.

What would that do (4, Funny)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about 5 years ago | (#29001629)

if I were graduating today, I would get on a boat and I would get off in Shanghai

So you'd be in a foreign country with no visa, no local language skills and no experience in any professions. I'm guessing his business is going downhill too.

Re:What would that do (5, Insightful)

koxkoxkox (879667) | about 5 years ago | (#29001781)

Why is it moderated as troll ? It is NOT good advice to tell people : "China is where the business is, go there and you'll be rich".

Think about the reasons why a company would want to hire you instead of a local engineer : you don't speak mandarin well, you don't understand the culture, you often ask for a bigger salary... Some people do really well in Shanghai, but it is not easy.

Re:What would that do (-1, Troll)

Informative (1347701) | about 5 years ago | (#29001839)

if I were graduating today, I would get on a UFO and I would get off at Uranus

Thanks a lot for the insight, fuckwad.

He's missed the boat, in fact (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 5 years ago | (#29002309)

I'd moderate this insightful had I not run out of points. The simple fact is that unless you are already established in a business, and you just want to extend your reach - your supply or possibly customer chain - your best bet is to stay in your own country because you have years of experience of living there. I'm not a fan of Western triumphalism, far from it, but anyone who thinks that there are fortunes to be made just by emigrating should look at the real history of the growth of the US. Many of the people who went West did so because they were failing in the established, well off East. And today? The US East Coast is still where much of the money is, and California is suffering economically. Despite the apparent opportunities of boundless land, minerals and eventually oil, the East leveraged its installed base of civilisation, knowledge and business relationships to stay dominant. The same could well happen with the West and China. It still makes sense to follow the old adage and do not run after money, but go where the money is.

Sigh (5, Funny)

XPeter (1429763) | about 5 years ago | (#29001631)

It seems as if the only tech job left is SysAdmin; I wonder why that spot is always left open...

Re:Sigh (1)

andrea.sartori (1603543) | about 5 years ago | (#29001655)

It is a plot by online magazines to keep the feed of horror stories alive.

Re:Sigh (4, Insightful)

Keruo (771880) | about 5 years ago | (#29001687)

Because you need to have certain personality to become great SysAdmin. You cannot be too introvert, nor extrovert. You need to be social enough to provide sufficient local tech/application support to the rest of the staff, and still "geek" enough to handle the more technical aspects of the job.

In a sense, good SysAdmin is like successful project manager, you must schedule tasks and prioritize them, if possible allocate tasks to jr. sysadmins. If done properly, IT becomes invisible in most organizations. (and you have more time to read slashdot)

Patience is also a virtue. If you can tolerate stupid users and explain the same thing 10 times over, you will succeed.

Theres not much glorious in SysAdmin job actually. Most sysadmins are underpaid, underrespected and rarely loved, but still our love for the technology (or sufficient amounts of single malt after hours) keeps us doing our thing and keeping the industry running.

Re:Sigh (5, Funny)

Informative (1347701) | about 5 years ago | (#29001915)

Theres not much glorious in SysAdmin job actually. Most sysadmins are underpaid, underrespected and rarely loved, but still our love for the technology (or sufficient amounts of single malt after hours) keeps us doing our thing and keeping the industry running.

That should be modded "poetic", or something.

Re:Sigh (3, Insightful)

Spit (23158) | about 5 years ago | (#29002015)

I've been a sysadmin for a long time. As long as you like tech and know how to do your job, you'll be fine. There are a lot of shit admins out there, for a while the ratio of good sysadmins was quite low which makes your job all the harder, you have to pick up the slack. But when you've got a good team, it's a great job.

Re:Sigh (1)

digitalhermit (113459) | about 5 years ago | (#29002257)

The role of sysadmin has changed. In some places a sysadmin would build out PCs, help users with opening Word docs, fix network issues. This still happens, but in a lot of places, the sysadmin role is much more specialized and broader in others. We have to work with the business users, manage budgets, act as vendor liasons, architect solutions.

Whereas cron may have been good enough a few years ago, we now have beefed-up schedulers. SANs, geographically disperesed DR sites, 24-hour operations, etc.. A while back a sysadmin could also be the web developer. Now the web content is done by one person, the code by a java developer, the app server is managed by another, the OS by another. At the same time the sysadmins need to understand all the systems so that we can tune and troubleshoot.

I'm not saying it's a harder job than any of the others, but IT has grown up and the level of professionalism required has grown with it.

Re:Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29002365)

cron may have been good enough a few years ago,

cron is still good enough.

whatever business, IT will be there (4, Insightful)

tommeke100 (755660) | about 5 years ago | (#29001633)

> businesses that address needs in food, water, health care and energy

guess which field in these businesses will address those challenges? the Information Technology field is my guess.

Re:whatever business, IT will be there (1)

linhares (1241614) | about 5 years ago | (#29001703)

Exactly; shit like Geographical Information Systems; Operations Research; Data Mining; AI, etc., have a looong way to go to fulfill these needs.

Re:whatever business, IT will be there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29001719)

I doubt it with food & water that would likely be the realm of civil engineering, biology, & chemistry. Possibly some ancillary electrical & mechanical engineering most likely also doing their own "IT".

Health care would be medical, biology, and chemistry primarily, oh and they also seem to classify any IT workers in health care as part of thta broad health care umbrella and health care industries never seem to employ very many IT specialists anyways.

Energy, electrical engineering with some mechanical and civil engineers most of whom will be doing their own "IT".

Beyond that I really doubt that the pure play IT will ever really be over and as pointed out elsewhere the years looked at encompass two relatively major recessions skewing all the numbers.

Shanghai: have fun in the People's Republic of China, kiss your civil liberties goodbye, but I suppose as long as you don't vote you'll be happy as a lark. Well, as long as you like living in 3rd world conditions anyways.

Re:whatever business, IT will be there (1)

khallow (566160) | about 5 years ago | (#29001875)

I doubt it with food & water that would likely be the realm of civil engineering, biology, & chemistry. Possibly some ancillary electrical & mechanical engineering most likely also doing their own "IT".

Thinking about it, this is right to a good extent. The developing world has a vast need for better food and water supplies. So there will be a large market for people applying proven solutions in the developed world to new places that need the same things. Basically, he's saying that the big business of the next few years (or decades) will be to raise the rest of the world to the living standards of the developed world. There's little need for innovation, it's just work that needs to be done.

My concern though is what can a developed world worker do about it? You're not going to be directly farming the land and putting in pipe. Those jobs pay too little (and take place in a third world country). A lot of the manufacture is going to be overseas because the developed world can't compete directly. IT and biological engineering are likely to be the two areas where the developed world won't be competing with developing world industries. The developed world will make the control systems that run this new infrastructure (as well as the factories and bureaucracies that make parts for the infrastructure) and the new food crops that will allow farmers to keep up with demand. My view is that the new industries like IT are the strengths of the developed world. It doesn't make sense to compete in older technologies, heads up with other groups that have much lower costs than you do.

Re:whatever business, IT will be there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29002049)

> guess which field in these businesses will address those challenges? the Information Technology field is my guess.

I agree in principle, but sooner or later someone is going to need to dig a well, lay a pipeline, build a reactor, etc. Far too few people in the US have any of the required math or engineering training to properly manage and execute such projects. Add to it our ever-burgeoning regulatory framework and too many lawyers.

While IT is revolutionizing exploration and drug development, it doesn't actually recover the resources or produce the energy. How do you see this gap being filled?

Kondratief cycles (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29001649)

At some point, the efficiencies of a new technology will be fully achieved. Then it's time for a new technology.

I would say microcomputers have largely gone through their cycle. The internet not so much.

Re:Kondratief cycles (3, Interesting)

linhares (1241614) | about 5 years ago | (#29001761)

I would say microcomputers have largely gone through their cycle.

You are very funny, dude.

When you look at this [hothardware.com] , you probably see an effing ugly gaming laptop. I see a massive supercomputer [gpgpu.org] that you can throw in a bag, something capable of outshining anything CRAY had 10 years ago for millions of greenbacks.

The only thing is that there are no killer apps YET for a beast like this; when a killer app for something like this comes along, we are in for a thrilling ride.

Re:Kondratief cycles (1)

dirtyhippie (259852) | about 5 years ago | (#29001897)

A netbook and a cheap desktop with a few extra graphics cards in it is waaaaaaay cheaper. Do you really need disconnected operation?

Siebel sucks.... (4, Interesting)

LordKazan (558383) | about 5 years ago | (#29001653)

Well considering his creation - siebel - is one of the biggest steaming piles of crap i've ever seen... why would i listen to him?

Re:Siebel sucks.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29001799)

because you get karma for badmouthing him on /.? :^)

Re:Siebel sucks.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29001825)

Even Secretariat had to take a dump once in a while. Still a good lookin' horse though.

Captcha: "naturals", ftw

Re:Siebel sucks.... (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 5 years ago | (#29002233)

Golly, I sure didn't see that coming. What is you superior achievements in life that lend weight to the opinions you express when giving invited lectures at Stanford?

Re:Siebel sucks.... (1)

Alex Belits (437) | about 5 years ago | (#29002325)

Even if the poster spent all his life in his mom's basement posting to /b/, he would achieve more than Siebel.

Because Siebel is an epitome of "let's write a lot of code for insipid, unusable applications for overhyped purpose".

Tehnology evolution goes in streaks (5, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | about 5 years ago | (#29001661)

His explanation for the sharp decline is that 'the promise of the post-industrial society has been realized.'

Evolution and transformation in technology doesn't happen on a linear time line. It goes in streaks, followed by times where the previously disruptive technologies retrench and normalize. That lasts until the next transformative technology comes along.

Just because we're in a phase of technology normalization doesn't mean it's going to stay that way. I think he's taking kind of a short view of tech history.

Re:Tehnology evolution goes in streaks (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29002073)

Evolution and transformation in technology doesn't happen on a linear time line. It goes in streaks, followed by times where the previously disruptive technologies retrench and normalize. That lasts until the next transformative technology comes along.

Do you get paid by the buzzword?

A longer view of technology (5, Interesting)

Lorien_the_first_one (1178397) | about 5 years ago | (#29002221)

James Bessen and Robert Hunt did some interesting research at the federal reserve. What they found is that software patents tend to substitute for R&D. The study shows that over a 20 year period, investment in R&D suffered a major decline, apparently to finance software patents, patent searches, litigation and the like.

That might be a better explanation for the decline in IT perceived by Siebel. Or, maybe Siebel isn't happy with his patent portfolio.

You can find that study here [repec.org] .

good riddance (5, Interesting)

speedtux (1307149) | about 5 years ago | (#29001671)

Siebel is absolutely right: IT's "glory days" are over. And good riddance, I say: the spectacular growth of IT has attracted all the wrong people and stifled real innovation. And "all the wrong people" includes people like Siebel himself.

If there is less of a get-rich-quick mentality, maybe people can return to focusing on innovation and long term planning again.

Re:good riddance (4, Insightful)

pelrun (25021) | about 5 years ago | (#29001771)

Exactly - he's only talking about people with "entrepreneurial spirit", i.e. those people who only care about getting as filthy rich as possible, as fast as possible, and not about working in an industry they enjoy. If they all decide to piss off to China then good luck to them.

Re:good riddance (5, Insightful)

elnyka (803306) | about 5 years ago | (#29001987)

Exactly - he's only talking about people with "entrepreneurial spirit", i.e. those people who only care about getting as filthy rich as possible, as fast as possible, and not about working in an industry they enjoy. If they all decide to piss off to China then good luck to them.

Your definition of "entrepreneurial spirit" is very, uhmmm, strange to say the least. It is as if "getting as filthy rich as possible" and "working in an industry they enjoy" were somehow mutually exclusive. They are not.

As surprising as it might seem to you, it isn't a black and white thing. The most successful entrepreneurs are those who make it big in doing what they enjoy. And entrepreneurial spirit is not necessarily driven by the desire of (what some ideological tards consider as) obscene financial success. If you are a good entrepreneur and do something that you like well, financial success will almost inevitably follow.

Surprising, I know!

Re:good riddance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29001815)

Nope.

Mature industry means it's filled with managers and buzz words.

Innovation? Only if you can describe it as "mobius defense based cloud computing."

Re:good riddance (2, Interesting)

elnyka (803306) | about 5 years ago | (#29002041)

Siebel is absolutely right: IT's "glory days" are over. And good riddance, I say: the spectacular growth of IT has attracted all the wrong people and stifled real innovation. And "all the wrong people" includes people like Siebel himself.

If there is less of a get-rich-quick mentality, maybe people can return to focusing on innovation and long term planning again.

Yes, yes and yes.

Now, if we mean "maturity" to imply solid work processes and repeatable methods (as in the physical engineering disciplines), then certainly not. Not just IT, but software development in general is far from being mature.

However, I see Siebel's point in that IT has reached maturity in the sense no one can pull the kind of crazy shit spending we saw a few years ago. An IT shop can no longer afford, for example, to spend half a mil on hardware just for experiment and see if it works, not without a solid plan and understanding of what they want to get in return from that type of acquisition.

And people can no longer treat a college education on software as the geese of golden eggs, expecting to make $80+/year even if they suck at programming. We have too many unqualified people graduating and getting hired and committing terrible design/development decisions that cost millions, if not billions to the industry and the economy at large.

IT industry by and large has been confusing R&D with indiscriminate spending, and people unqualified for doing software development have been cruising along for far too long at industry's expense.

It's taken a while since the Internet Bubble to reign in and establish a sound economic and spending/investment model on IT. But finally (or so I hope), we are getting there.

Progress shaped like an S-curve (3, Interesting)

Koookiemonster (1099467) | about 5 years ago | (#29001673)

Technical progress often takes the form of a repetitive S-curve [stevens.edu] [see figure 4 in the .pdf] It could be that we're just in a somewhat horizontal part of the curve now, and the industry will experience another boom in the near future.

Re:Progress shaped like an S-curve (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 5 years ago | (#29002293)

Or, maybe it won't experience another boom in the near future.

I look at aerospace from 1900 (the Wright brothers) to 1970 (landing on the moon) - amazing! Now I look today, and we're still flying airframes from 1970, at the same speeds and altitudes for the most part.

What also amazes me is that the Internet revolution has made me (and many others) radically more efficient in my job over the last 10 years, yet hasn't translated to higher pay for people in the industry at all.

Basically, no bucks without hardwork (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29001675)

If you want to get rich doing not much more than touching your windows and talking about it, don't get into IT because all the money now is going somewhere else.

Post Industrial??? (3, Insightful)

pooh666 (624584) | about 5 years ago | (#29001689)

So since we are now in the business of moving information around, what need is there for IT? Is he kidding? Post Industrial also is another stupid term for service economy which is another way of saying the middle class is dieing because the jobs that supported it best are now overseas, but that is "ok" These are the clues I see to say this guy isn't worth listening to seriously.

cross the barrier (1)

deacon_sweeney (1595681) | about 5 years ago | (#29001699)

That the low-hanging fruit have been picked should come as a surprise to nobody. And other countries have imitated us and are now competitive for entry level positions. Again, no surprise. To respond to this, take advantage of the diverse set of viable fields in the market. Take your bachelors in CS and get a masters is something completely different. Odds are that field will have some demand for a cross-disciplinary engineer. The domain knowledge afforded by a graduate degree is invaluable. I'm a bioinformatics scientist, by the way.

Go Biotech, young IT programmer! (5, Interesting)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | about 5 years ago | (#29001741)

I'm glad someone has the balls to say it: Universities are still pumping out IT graduates into an already crowded job market. It's like these kids have shown up to the California Gold Rush after all the gold has gone. IT has well and truly jumped the shark. There will still be jobs, but not enough to support the hordes of unemployed IT people out there. The parties over. Sorry you didn't score, but it's time to go home anyway.

But fear not, because Uncle CuteSteveJobs has a backup plan for you: Biotech. Bioinformatics is a new are and lets even little old you try and crack the genetic code. Hunt through DNA. Discover proteins. Build new drugs, all on your PC. Open source your discoveries, or sell out to Big Pharma.

You'll need to learn a bit of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Bioinformatics. Take heart: It's said Bioinformatics is closer to IT than it is to either of the former. Think of it as learning another language. That .NET isn't exactly cutting it these days, is it?

You'll be curing people and doing far more to help the world. And it's a lot more useful than doing another useless social networking website. Let me help you get started:

1. Download Chimera (It's free!)
https://www.cgl.ucsf.edu/cgi-bin/chimera-get.py?file=win32/chimera-1.3-win32.exe [ucsf.edu]

2. File > Fetch by ID > PDB=1BGX [Fetch] ...wait... Actions > Atoms & Bonds > Show Only ...rotate with mouse...

3. That molecule is a polymerase. It can run down a DNA chain, unzip it, and build a protein as it goes. Yes, a little protein nanomachine? How cool is that? And to think you wanted to write web sites instead. C'mon. Try doing something useful! ;)

Re:Go Biotech, young IT programmer! (2, Informative)

pooh666 (624584) | about 5 years ago | (#29001757)

Yet where I work, we can't find enough people. Why? So few are able to really learn on their own and most jobs these days are a mixture of tech. So if you are a DBA, you are instantly not qualified at a lot of places, if that is really all you are.

Re:Go Biotech, young IT programmer! (1)

SerpentMage (13390) | about 5 years ago | (#29001779)

You hit the nail on the head. About three years ago I gave a BOF at a conference, where I said that classical IT is dead. I was scoffed at, made fun of and considered completely clueless. NOW I laugh my head off.

The issue that you are having is the same issue that many companies are having. They want their IT to know about their business. Each business has its special needs and generalists are not wanted. Specialists are wanted... Though I am completely happy since I had the clue to adapt while the adapting was still easy...

Overspecialized (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29001789)

I've found employers are getting ridiculously overspecialized these days. For example, I know Microsoft SQL Server pretty well, but not the latest version which unfortunately makes me unemployable. I've also got skills in other DBs, but none of them are Oracle. Sure I can retrain, but retraining takes time and money and you're not guaranteed a job at the end since you'll be going up against people with active experience in those new systems. You can keep at it and hope you break through, but at some point you give up and say hey - let's do something else.

The dumb thing is if you know one SQL database it's not too hard to learn another one, but employers don't respect that. I hope in a few years they're sweating again, but I won't be around waiting for them.

: Dummy spat off.

Bullshit (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29001829)

...we can't find enough people. ... So few are able to really learn on their own...

Bullshit. Either you're in east buttfuck or your company has unreasonable expectations. I bet the latter.

I bet your company has the laundry list of a shit load of skills and yet, if a candidate walked in and told you that they'd learn on their own time any skills they don't have, you'd send them packing.

I had once an interview with a manager who asked me what would I do if I had to change a technology or something on the job or make up for lack of a skill. I replied that I would head down to my local Border's (they have the best tech section) and buy a book and start cramming. He said that was the correct answer. He moved on before the hiring was done and they got a new manager who wanted the laundry list. Of course, he says "He can't get enough "qualified" people.

There are plenty of qualified people. You people just need to get your heads out of your ass and hire people not skills. Because, if you keep that up, your organization will never keep up with the times.

IBM used your excuse and it was just a cover to move all their technical people overseas.

Re:Bullshit (1)

pooh666 (624584) | about 5 years ago | (#29001845)

And I am sure you would be a pleasure to work with! :) Other than your attitude, your ability to go out and read a book and learn, is in fact rare. I work for a company that does 100% telecommute BTW.. The problem as I see it is companies are indeed desperate to get bodies, so they hire people who have certs for the sake of being able to say they hired 40 new IT people and that should cover the load, when in fact it was more like hiring 4 really good people. It isn't BS, and you should feel good about your abilities that way. I have seen the stacks of resumes and despaired at finding 3 good people to even interview. I can remember one time hiring for a web designer position. We hired a person who actuality had an online presence and portfolio to show us. He was one of about 5 people who had such a thing, out of about 250 applicants! I mean why on earth would anyone apply for a web designer job without at least hacking together one website to show? The reason we hired him, mainly was that, plus the other 4 people already had jobs by the time we contacted them.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29001883)

And I am sure you would be a pleasure to work with! :) Other than your attitude,

You're reading waaaay too much into that post. How can you tell what someone is like without meeting them? The parent has some great points. You're jumping to conclusions.

This is probably a sore topic for him and during an interview, he's probably the most articulate and knowledgeable person you could meet.

And to add, considering the things I've seen happen to folks regarding employment, I don't blame him at all for his "attitude". One day you may be in the same boat. Just remember that.

Re:Bullshit (1)

pooh666 (624584) | about 5 years ago | (#29002173)

No one who thinks about others perceptions, would ever use that word in an online conversation,email, text, IM. That is the other half of the hard to find IT person, if he thinks that is going to be an ok way to communicate with business people, then maybe that is why he is so upset and out of work. Good people expect respect and reasonable conversation about logical points, not loud calls of BS! He did have some points and that is why I replied at all to his flamebait post.

Re:Go Biotech, young IT programmer! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29001831)

I have absolutely no clue what you just said, but apparently .NET isn't cutting something.

Re:Go Biotech, young IT programmer! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29001887)

I have been trained in bioinformatics at a fairly low level, as well as machine learning, as well as having actually maintained research NMR systems in pharma industry, and am still unemployed. I am not an expert, but that goes without saying. If you think people like Jobs have big heads, the biochemistry world has been filled with real hugely big dicks, real prima-donnas and control freaks, who very much hate information systems people except to chew up and spit out like their undergrads, or to add another patent to their wall.

Re:Go Biotech, young IT programmer! (3, Informative)

MrKaos (858439) | about 5 years ago | (#29001931)

1. Download Chimera (It's free!)

Ahem! you could have pointed to the download page [ucsf.edu] where you can download it for a variety of platforms.

Re:Go Biotech, young IT programmer! (-1, Troll)

Informative (1347701) | about 5 years ago | (#29002011)

Blow me.

Re:Go Biotech, young IT programmer! (1)

MrKaos (858439) | about 5 years ago | (#29002111)

3. That molecule is a polymerase. It can run down a DNA chain, unzip it, and build a protein as it goes. Yes, a little protein nanomachine? How cool is that? And to think you wanted to write web sites instead. C'mon. Try doing something useful! ;)

Very interesting - thanks - and it's a whooooole lot less complicated than the innards of the Windows kernel.

btw - it runs good under linux too!

Studying IT to solve problems (1)

skywatcher2501 (1608209) | about 5 years ago | (#29002341)

Isn't it more important to solve problems than to employ some technology just for the sake of employing it? I'm interested in model checking and working on diagnosability analysis for my BSc thesis, but not because I think it's cool per se. My objective is to help building highly dependable spacecraft, and for that objective approaches leveraged by model checking seem the way to go.

My point is, one should look for interesting problems, challenges, or specialized areas, then pick the technology (most likely IT based) that is best to solve it. There maybe shouldn't be generic academic IT curricula ("Computer Science"), but more specialized ones ("Bioinformatics", "Financial Informatics", "Critical System Design", whatever).

Siebel has no vision. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29001747)

Seriously, is this guy delusional?

Look at the way the iPhone has completely changed the mobile landscape in the mere 2 years it has existed. Now granted, I dislike Apple as a company and would never buy an iPhone, but it would be idiotic to deny the huge impact the iPhone and the app store has made on the phone market and on mobile computing in general.

Mobile computing has been a hot area of interest over the last couple of years, and the real potential of mobile devices has yet to be realised. People are now able to easily write software which utilises ubiquitous GPS devices, accelerometers, cameras, microphones, and plenty more - all of it with 3G or wifi internet access, all of it capable of interacting with millions of other users of such devices. There is enormous potential in mobile computing! In fact, many of the problems he cites as being the next big thing could very well be solved by innovative mobile computing devices.

This is just one example of IT with plenty of room for growth. There are plenty more. Sure, you can't roll up to some venture capitalists with a few powerpoint slides and walk away with a couple of million bucks anymore, but that doesn't mean that it's all over and jump ship while you can. It just means you need some actual ability and proof that you're capable of building something that people will invest in. No wonder some people think the sky is falling - for them, maybe it is.

Frankly, the fact that Siebel cannot see any way for the industry to grow significantly says a lot more about his lack of vision and inability to innovate than it does about anything else.

Re:Siebel has no vision. (1)

SerpentMage (13390) | about 5 years ago | (#29001813)

Your iPhone example is an interesting example against you. Yes the iPhone has completely changed the market. But how much has it changed the market in terms of dollars. Not much... In terms of dollars the iPhone has changed the bottom lines of Apple, AT&T, and a few other people.

This is the problem, because the absolute dollar amounts are piddly when compared to the overall market it is not that relevant for the little guy. The mobile market is a playground for the big boys.

Go back to 1980's. At that time ANYBODY could start up a company and hope for some clients. There was no multi-national corporation breathing down your neck since they did not exist. Look at the case study of Microsoft, Lotus, Apple, Borland, etc. These guys went from nowhere to somewhere. These days in the IT industry that is simply not possible.

After Microsoft there has been no small time 3 person shop who could challenge Microsoft in dollar terms. Redhat is not an example because their revenue is piddly for the amount of time it has taken for them to get where they are. 10 years later they are barely a billion dollar company. Compare that to Microsoft, and other PC players in the 80's.

With energy, food, etc there is still quite a bit of room to play and express yourself. There are many small time players running wind farms, building solar cells, running fish farms, etc. You have no big time competitors because it does not make sense for the big multi-national corporation.

Re:Siebel has no vision. (1)

PeeShootr (949875) | about 5 years ago | (#29001983)

You couldn't possibly be any less correct when you say, "The mobile market is a playground for the big boys." Particularly in reference to the iPhone! Haven't you read a paper in the last year?? All kinds of one man shops are making money building apps for the iPhone. The App store has truly empowered 'lone wolf' developers to build software and sell it on a scale that could never be reached before without massive budgets.
I have personally built a few apps for the store and have made over $10k this year. By myself. After work. On the side.

Re:Siebel has no vision. (1)

The Bastard (25271) | about 5 years ago | (#29002051)

Go back to 1980's. At that time ANYBODY could start up a company and hope for some clients. There was no multi-national corporation breathing down your neck since they did not exist. Look at the case study of Microsoft, Lotus, Apple, Borland, etc. These guys went from nowhere to somewhere. These days in the IT industry that is simply not possible.

I was in the 80's...and you're wrong.

I.B.M.

Re:Siebel has no vision. (1)

The Bastard (25271) | about 5 years ago | (#29002065)

Go back to 1980's. At that time ANYBODY could start up a company and hope for some clients. There was no multi-national corporation breathing down your neck since they did not exist. Look at the case study of Microsoft, Lotus, Apple, Borland, etc. These guys went from nowhere to somewhere. These days in the IT industry that is simply not possible.

I was around in the 80's...and you're wrong.

I.B.M.

Re:Siebel has no vision. (1)

turbidostato (878842) | about 5 years ago | (#29002175)

"After Microsoft there has been no small time 3 person shop who could challenge Microsoft in dollar terms."

I think I want to challenge your assertion. Maybe I can *Google* for some counterexamples.

Re:Siebel has no vision. (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about 5 years ago | (#29002275)

Look at the way the iPhone has completely changed the mobile landscape in the mere 2 years it has existed.

Pray tell me, how it has completely changed the mobile landscape? All I see is just an evolution of things available long before iPhone was even projected.

Excellent (1)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | about 5 years ago | (#29001759)

In the 1990's I had the interesting experience of speaking with a number of IT folks about why they chose this field. They said that they looked at job listings, found an industry with high-paying job offers listed, and selected it solely on that basis.

If it's leveling off then great! Leave technology to those of us who have a passion for technology. Even better, as we head into middle age, we won't have to worry quite as much about competing for jobs with 20somethings who are willing to work for half as much.

Glory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29001767)

Seriously? Did IT professionals stalk forth upon the killing fields of Europe or Asia, driving forth their enemy, burning and pillaging vast tracts of land? Did network geeks stride mountains to bring food to needy children? Did legions of white shirted nerds conquer Europe or forge the Han Empire? Did the heros of the information age bring power to the weak, save the world from disaster or make anyone, least of all themselves, happy?

They made money hand over fist for a few years because they decided to invest their energy in learning and proliferating a few solutions to a set of abstract math problems solved in the 50s and the associated intellectual and physical machinery involved in solving said problems.

Don't get full of yourselves.

Now cryptographers, those guys are total badasses.

Tom Siebel is a dried up prune (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29001769)

Tom Siebel is an old man trying to shore up his business in the face of increasing competition from young, innovative companies like Salesforce.com and Sugar CRM. Siebel cut his teeth at Oracle (where, interestingly enough, Marc Benioff of Salesforce.com got his start), one of the most ruthless and anti-competitive companies the world has ever seen. What better way to shut down any future competition than to tell would-be entrepreneurs to pack up their toys and go home?

Re:Tom Siebel is a dried up prune (1)

linhares (1241614) | about 5 years ago | (#29001859)

What better way to shut down any future competition than to tell would-be entrepreneurs to pack up their toys and go home?

Perhaps the IBM [halfsigma.com] way? [nytimes.com]

The Christmas party rating (1)

MrKaos (858439) | about 5 years ago | (#29001775)

I always used to judge the general well-being of the I.T industry by how lavish the christmas parties were. In the good years there were parties on yachts, triple hull catamarans with a live band and a dance floor large enough for a lot of people, parties on the 50th floor of some luxury hotel as opposed to of late christmas parties where everyone had to chuck in to afford it.

It's rather obvious to say 'water, health and food' are the growth industries because what human on the planet does not require those. Anyone with a minute amount of sense would want to get into the food (or health) industry because it is a massive market and water is so massive it is in the domain of government. Buy stocks in good water filtration technology companies, of course they grow - have you drank anything with water in it today, of course you have.

The IT industry is unique because it disrupts horizontal *and* vertical markets with new innovations. There is always going to be vertical markets that require innovation using technology, and IMHO the energy market is on that is ripe to have the efficiencies information technology can bring to it. The only time there are bottlenecks to this growth is when you have a existing business model lobby to reinforce the status-quo and prevent innovation. Case in point: The music industry, who knows what innovations would have been built on top of reshaping that industry.

He could be right, it's just hard to believe there is no more innovation left in the I.T industry, isn't that I.T's job?

Nothing to see here, please move along (2, Informative)

Doofus (43075) | about 5 years ago | (#29001783)

Siebel's comments were apparently uttered without any supporting homework. A glance at a graph does not a studied analysis make.

From TFA:

But the recent drop is not as steep as it seems at first. I asked Shane Greenstein, an economist at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management who has written extensively about the computer industry, to take a look at the raw data upon which those numbers were supposedly based: the annual I.T. spending estimates published by IDC.

Mr. Greenstein's calculations produced a more moderate compounded annual growth rate of 11.6 percent for 1980 to 2000, instead of 17 percent. (Mr. Siebel's personal assistant said last week that the 17 percent in the Stanford talk came from a staff member who calculated from a reading of a chart, not from precise figures.)

When Mr. Greenstein looked at the full IDC data set, which goes back to 1961, and used other breakpoints to compare growth in earlier and later periods, he found that the most golden years of I.T. were in the 1960s, when use of mainframe computers spread widely. From 1961 to 1971, the compounded annual growth rate was 35.7 percent, more than three times the rate in the 1980-2000 period celebrated by Mr. Siebel.

The article goes on to point out the obvious, that the percentage growth of an industry will decline as the installed base rises over time. Absolute growth in IT will continue - though it may not be gangbusters of old, IT will never be stagnant.

As other posters here have pointed out, many, (many) industries depend on the support infrastructure that IT provides to work effectively and efficiently. This will not change overnight. While some of this infrastructure has been substantially commoditized over the last 10 years or so, there will always be challenges that non-technical team-members cannot solve themselves. These challenges will require the participation of and collaboration with technologists in organizations that want to function at the high-performance end of the bell curve.

Radical CPU changes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29001785)

There is a transition in the data center from SPARC and proprietary cpu systems to x86 occuring now. AMD based machines started appearing more a few years ago. But there is something pretty incredible going on, and that is what Intel will be shipping soon. It is already becoming apparent that the biggest bang for the buck in midrange is Xeon based hardware. When multi path QPI x86 (like i7) comes out in the near future it will be possible for small businesses to have multiple data center class machines in their office. Right now they probably have a single cpu pentium system, or maybe opteron. I also read that it would take 70,000 petaflops to do a full weather simulation, and machines which could yield that power are on the roadmap, and might be in the *home* by 2020 !

Yes. (1)

John Hasler (414242) | about 5 years ago | (#29001797)

IT is dead. Windmills are the future. At least, this week. Next week it may be back to biofuels.

Short sighted (3, Insightful)

lurker412 (706164) | about 5 years ago | (#29001805)

Utter nonsense. Siebel's view may have some merit when applied to those business problems that have largely been solved--payroll, HR, general ledger, etc. But as technology advances (and business models change), there will be entirely new areas for IT and consequently, IT employment. There may not be much growth in the existing job positions, but those who understand computer systems will have opportunities that we simply can't imagine yet. Stay tuned and stay the course.

Insight from the master... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29001807)

"All you had to do was show up and not goof it up," Siebel says.

Which is funny, because that's pretty much what he did. Siebel Systems was never as a particularly well run company. I only saw their lame attempts to get on the Homeland Security teat in 2002-2004 for terrorist CRM, but it was all fail. I remember form mockups with a giant red button that said "DETAIN". It was like porn for bureaucrats. Also, it didn't work.

So from 2000 to 2006, Siebel drove the industry leader into the ground, until Oracle put them out of their misery. But by all means, Tom, blame the industry.

Idiot parade (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29001817)

"No new technological advances, he believes, would impel I.T. customers to replace the computer technology they already had: âoeI would suggest to you that most of whatâ(TM)s going on today is not very exciting.â"

Yeah, we've already invented it all. Let's go ahead and close our minds, lay down, and die. We know everything there is to know. We've reached the end of our potential.

What a tool. It just shows how powerful human ingenuity is, when even a moron like this can cash in on other people's work. Information technology will continue to grow as long as human imagination drives it. It's unimaginative idiots like you that value money over progress that slow everyone else down.

Think IT, build IT, share IT. Everyone benefits.

BTW...if I were a shareholder in an IT company whose founder was spouting that IT's glory days are over, I'd get rid of either him or the stock.
What a stupid tool.

He is right in many sense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29001835)

After the Internet, digital content creation, virtualization, moving desktop functionality to commodity wireless devices there does not seem to be an other "earthshaking" IT technology on the horizon. The IT needs of most business seem to be pretty much covered by currently available IT technologies and solutions. These IT solutions are now highly "commodified", from hardware to 99cent games. On corporate level the "IT miracles" are considered as a given, deliverable cheap. While MBA, finance, legal professional incomes continue to grow, IT staff income seems to be stagnating or declining. The "glory days of IT" are over generally.

Our appetite for "IT miracles" both at work and at home seem to be satisfied or relatively easily achievable at this moment.

Feel free to argue against this with your own "I wish if IT could do this..." list.

On the other hand, there is a long not directly IT wish list.
Just to name a few items from there randomly: ... I wish my house could be energy self-efficient. ... I wish I had a cheap commodity, fully functioning electric car. ... I wish I could grow healthy food for my own consumption. ... I wish I could stay healthy without using prescription drugs or intrusive medical procedures. ... I wish my lost tooth could "grow" back and prevent all others from further decays. ... I wish a truly 8 hours, five days a week work hours could provide sufficient money to support comfortable middle-class life with a family.

Dev to SysAdmin to Dev to SysAdmin back to Dev (1)

Marble68 (746305) | about 5 years ago | (#29001841)

I'm currently doing sysadmin work, but am looking to move back to dev.

About 6 years ago I left a dev position to do sysadmin work.

My thinking told me you can dev anywhere - but you'll always need someone in the server room to physically touch the servers.

Well, IMHO, what's matured are the tools that make server administration more mindless. I'm not saying it's a good thing, but the perception is that you don't need to have an experienced, well paid sysadmin when XYZ company will monitor your HW. Security is usually an afterthought, and I think cloud computing has the potential to reduce the importance of quality sysadmin to many businesses also.

I think consumer broadband has contributed to the decreased perceived value in a quality sysadmin aslo; many bosses have the mentality of "I built a network at home, how hard is this person's job, really?"

From my perspective development offshoring seems to have slowed down; at least from what I can tell. Another maturity has happened as companies have begun to calculate the costs of off shoring and realized that most of the time those projects take longer and are of lower quality. Combined with the fact that many off shoring shops have figured out they're halfway around the world and double or triple book clients and get away with it, and you have a situation where another "maturing" that's taken place. This maturing is happening in the cube farms in India.

A good sysadmin is worth his weight in gold IMHO.
A good developer is also worth his weight in gold.

From a businesses' perspective, they almost always see the developer as someone who understands their business better and so is therefore more valuable.

So, I'm swinging back towards development. And I think I'll stay with it this time, for good.

Because frankly, a leader with an attitude like this isn't going to drive innovation from the top down. In a few years, they'll be easy pickings because they'll be so locked down in policies and procedures that they'll be slow to compete when new opportunities present themselves.

Re:Dev to SysAdmin to Dev to SysAdmin back to Dev (1)

The Bastard (25271) | about 5 years ago | (#29002197)

Heh. Be ready for even more politics than when you left six years ago. I'm in a similar boat, and am thinking of heading back into pure sysadmin work. Why? Simply because politics--at least in my location--have become vicious in the dev world.

Politics and holy wars have always been a part of dev and IT in general. But over the past few years, I've watched the intensity and viciousness increase by orders of magnitude to be the worst I've seen over my 20+ years in the industry.
For instance, I've watched a CIO of a 100 person IT department reach into the trenches and toss out very good devs simply because he didn't like them. (No, I was not one of those let go.)

Not to say that infrastructure doesn't have it's own politics; but usually not as vicious. In the end, systems run or they don't.

Perhaps true with enterprise software apps . . . (3, Insightful)

PeeAitchPee (712652) | about 5 years ago | (#29001847)

. . . like the one which made Siebel his fortune. I'm an ex-enterprise software sales guy myself, and have many friends still in the business, some of whom worked for Siebel "back in the day" and have been on sales calls with Siebel (the man, not the company) himself. Most are of the consensus that the "glory days" are indeed long behind us (as in ten years behind us). In fact, one of my mentors recently told me, "enterprise software is dead." I certainly wouldn't tell a young college grad to go get rich selling software to big companies these days (though maybe to the federal government). It's easy to understand his myopic statement when you consider his background (former Larry Ellision disciple and ex-Oracle guy who pioneered selling "value selling" CRM apps into big business for mega dollars).

Here, however, Siebel is ignoring continuing advances in computing hardware, raw processing power and storage (multi-core architectures, SSDs, 64-bit OSes and gobs of fast memory, and other things which software has yet to really take advantage of), as well as other related things like nanoelectronics and continued innovation in materials sciences. The software just hasn't caught up yet to allow developers to take full advantage of these things and build out the next generation of applications.

In short, the more connected our world becomes, and the more people inhabit it, the more data we will create. There will always be a needs to collect, organize, and process this data, and attempt to draw meaningful conclusions from it, because that is what people do when they try to understand the nature of things. Perhaps IT from Siebel's world view (first generation enterprise software applications) is on the downslope, but I guarantee you that within the next decade you will see new ways of working with information that Siebel and co. could never have imagined.

Wind energy (1)

zogger (617870) | about 5 years ago | (#29001851)

Semi related as an alternative, here is a short article outlining the rising demand for new wind power tech jobs [nytimes.com] .

I remember the first time they said this. (4, Insightful)

hamburgler007 (1420537) | about 5 years ago | (#29001869)

After the bubble burst, back around 2001, and students started focusing on economic related major and getting their mba so they could go into banking/wall street. That worked out great.

After 15 years.. IT is "boring" (2, Insightful)

evanism (600676) | about 5 years ago | (#29001877)

As a multitime CTO, I can assure you now that IT is now "just" another business arm.... it is hard, boring, unrewarding and accusatorial. Overly accountable, ultra bureaucratic, under-resourced and now infested with leaches. On my 17th year in this gig, I gave it up for online retail? Why? PROFIT.

Pay me 180k as a senior tech guy working bullshit hours with bosses who are basically fuckwits, retarded morons who call themselves "programmers" and useless sysadmins.... or give me decent Human hours, a GREAT PROFIT and some decent people with personalities (not corporate zombies on a brain-eat fix) and Im outta hear.... see-ya IT....

The door will not be hitting me on the way out.

Tell your children to avoid a job in IT like the Black Death. It is not funny.

this guy is the anti-Kurzweil (1)

Blue Shifted (1078715) | about 5 years ago | (#29001919)

kinda. sorta. just saying that Kurzweil thinks that somehow computing power will make EVERYTHING get better, exponentially.

please, i know i'm not being exactly accurate, so you Kurzweil worshipers can refrain from any geometric proofs here, thank you.

"food, water, health care and energy" (1)

smchris (464899) | about 5 years ago | (#29001963)

So post-industrial society looks a lot like pre-industrial society? A deer, a stream, a tepee and a fire?

viability in "specializing" in implementing SaaS? (1)

drougie (36782) | about 5 years ago | (#29002039)

My company went chapter seven and I've been scrambling to stop needing to collect unemployment and as I would (though I'll take what i can take) like to work for a small company, should I supplement my sales pitch/resume with being able to mitigate/eliminate the prospective employer's need to buy and have maintained a handful of servers when they could just pay me to make sure their network works and line them up with Google Premiere accounts? Or would that pretty much be saying Hey hire me so I can set you up to fire me a few months later?

The Inevitable Truism (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | about 5 years ago | (#29002061)

1. Every movement comes to recognize its Golden Age. It is always found to have been the earlier times of the present majority generation.

2. The same will be true of the next generation.

3. Someone may claim from outside the movement that this this Golden Age is past. They will be wrong, despite #1 still being true.

4. Proof that this apparent contradiction is correct will come when #2 comes true, who will in turn have to contend with the outside claims as in #3.

5. When the generation in #2 faces the problems in #1, the previous majority generation will become the mature generation. It will still remember its Golden Age as in #1, but with nostalgia rather than grief.

6. The mature generation will seek to impart the wisdom earned in its Golden Age and since to the majority generation in #1 and the new generation in #2.

7. #1 and #2 will listen with amusement if at all, and may gain some insights, but will proceed to develop their Golden Ages on their own.

Mature: "Will The Circle Be Unbroken?" -- Traditional

Majority: "Will It Go Round In Circles?" -- Billy Preston

New: "Life Circles" -- Soul Control

Moron (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29002117)

"In Siebel's view, far larger opportunities are to be found in businesses that address needs in food, water, health care and energy."

What a moron. IT's gone as far as it can go, guys. It's done, no more innovation here. Let's go back to studying water.

overall market vs. individual opportunity? (1)

Walter White (1573805) | about 5 years ago | (#29002391)

I guess if all you want to do is "show up and not goof it up" and make a great living, then IT may not be the place to go. However if one is interested in putting some effort in and addressing challenging problems, I'm sure they will be able to find opportunities. We had the bubble and the bubble burst in the late 90s.

Further, I disagree that IT is a mature field that will not grow faster than the rest of the economy. And food? FOOD? Didn't that peak prior to the industrial revolution?

Re:overall market vs. individual opportunity? (1)

ErikZ (55491) | about 5 years ago | (#29002413)

That was back when all we did with food was eat it.

Now we burn it for energy.

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