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Which IT Careers Are Hot and Which are Not?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the where-should-one-go-from-here dept.

Education 284

necromante asks: "I've been working on different IT positions through my career: support; some networking; DBA; web development; project management; even working on the client side for a little while. However, I don't feel like I am really a specialist on any of those subjects and I feel I need to focus on a particular field. So, I decided to ask for some feedback before making my decision. I understand that this depends everyones tastes, likes and dislikes. However, I would like to have a better idea of which are the available options, and I hope the results of this discussion can benefit other readers. Is there any IT career that I should consider more than the others? Which are the emerging fields? Is there any industry I should focus on in particular? Which careers on IT are actually more in demand and which ones not? Is it a better path to focus on moving into management?"

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Instant Manager ! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18457065)

For the love of God, the last thing that we need is another manager without any hands-on project experience.

Hmmmm Slashdot (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18457069)

What should I do with my life?

Get out of IT (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18457345)

If you are having this much doubt about what you want to do, for Gods sake, get OUT of IT.

Go into the resturaunt business. run a mcDonalds. Get into the auto mechanic shop business. You can probably make better money herding 10 people cleaning houses. (That right there is a six figure a year job, for basicly managing a crew of people who descend on a house, clean, sweep, vacume and leave, repeat ad infinitum, scale as large as you want)

Of course, considering your lack of direction, you may not be the best person to run a business. Perhaps you should stick to help desk.

Re:Get out of IT (1)

j-pimp (177072) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457869)

If you are having this much doubt about what you want to do, for Gods sake, get OUT of IT.

It seems like the person likes many facets of IT and his problem is what to specialize in. How would entering another field, expanding his choices, be a good thing?

Of course, considering your lack of direction, you may not be the best person to run a business. Perhaps you should stick to help desk.

Some people are really bad with coming up with an original idea, but if given a task clear but broad task like "Write a Wiki like system that the outlook and excel crowd would use." can come up with a proposal, and given proper manpower and budget, can pull the task off. Then again, some people have a million great ideas but can't make them happen. Thats why a company should have a captain and a helmsman. Someone should say, "Set course for ". . . Engage", and someone should else should chart the course.

Good techies don't necessarily make good managers (5, Insightful)

rf0 (159958) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457093)

I've worked for a number of people and myself one thing that seems to come up is that good techies don't always make good managers. So don't assume that managment is right for you (or that you would even enjoy it).

Re:Good techies don't necessarily make good manage (4, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457147)

Where I work, the opposite tends to happen. If you're not that good technically, you tend to bubble up to management. I'm not saying they're complete idiots, just that they're not the best technical people. I still don't think it's the best way to find good managers though ... they may suck at that as well.

Re:Good techies don't necessarily make good manage (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457229)

The worst part about this type of "manager" is that they usually think they're the bees knees of technological savants, when they were really "promoted" to make room for someone who could actually get something done.

Re:Good techies don't necessarily make good manage (2, Insightful)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457305)

It happens in a lot of places and it's called the "Dilbert Principle". Unfortunatelly, it is usally a self-sustaining process.

Re:Good techies don't necessarily make good manage (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18457483)

Actually, it is older that Dilbert, and used to be known as the Peter Principle. In short form it stated that as long as people could manage their jobs, they got promoted, so everyone ended up on a level where he could not manage his job.

Re:Good techies don't necessarily make good manage (3, Informative)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457909)

Actually, I beleive the Dilbert principle is more accurate in the GP case : "The least competent ones are promoted first to take them away from productive position where they could be dangerous".

Re:Good techies don't necessarily make good manage (5, Insightful)

dlZ (798734) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457303)

I have to agree with this. I'm a business owner, with a partner. I'm the hardcore techie here, while my business partner has a background in video production and marketing. He tends to take on the true management role here while I worry about actually getting the work done. It works out well as I'm not a great manager but I can get the work done when it needs to be.

The thing I have noticed is that a lot of people in a more technical role feel that they would be better in charge but in reality would probably just hate the position. I love being in control (hence owning my own business) but at the same time I'd rather leave the more managerial duties up to my business partner while I really worry about the technical side of things.

I have been a manager at a few places and while I did a decent job and my staff liked working for me, but I didn't enjoy the role as much as I enjoy being in the forefront with my technical skills. I did learn a lot about running a business from these positions which is a benefit now, though, and don't regret having been a manager. I just didn't enjoy it.

Re:Good techies don't necessarily make good manage (5, Insightful)

bjd145 (99489) | more than 7 years ago | (#18458019)

From what I've experienced again and again and again is that one of the reason (and there can be others) that techies don't make good managers is that they try to live in both worlds. The new techie manager still wants to get his hands dirty doing the day to day work. Part of this is that they are don't trust others to do it "right" or they are afraid of losing their technical skills. The new techie manager never really gives him/her self over to the dark side of management.

Re:Good techies don't necessarily make good manage (4, Interesting)

ElForesto (763160) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457601)

Amen to that. Far too many businesses promote someone to management because 1) they're been there for a long time and 2) they're good at their technical job functions. They don't, however, have a lick of personnel or project management skills. It also usually ends up taking someone from a job they do well and putting them in a job they do poorly, a double whammy. I'm at least smart enough to know that I shouldn't be given anything beyond a team lead position.

Re:Good techies don't necessarily make good manage (0)

jsight (8987) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457875)

The link in your signature has a typo, making it a fairly weak ad. :)

Domain Knowledge (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18457101)

A lot of demand has to do with your demand knowledge. I don't know if you could say with a broad stroke that devs are in more demand than DBAs or whatever. If you have financial experience for instance, demand is pretty strong across the board. You need to consider the industry you want to work in as much as the role you want to play.

emerging fields: (5, Funny)

farker haiku (883529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457103)

Which careers on IT are actually more in demand and which ones not?

Editor who doesn't rely on spell check.

Re:emerging fields: (2, Informative)

gosand (234100) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457383)

OK, so which word is misspelled?

Re:emerging fields: (0, Offtopic)

BadERA (107121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457417)

The point is, editing means editing of grammar as well as spelling. Spellcheck doesn't check grammar. "on IT" is not proper grammar. Next.

Being a manager... (5, Insightful)

Hoplite3 (671379) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457109)

When you were young, did you ever play video games with an older sibling where they played and you watched? Your brother would insist that you were "a team" and wouldn't let you play. Being a manager is like being the little brother, but you do get to fire the other guy if he dies five times in a row on level 8-2.

Seriously, if you like something, why stop doing it and start just watching people do it?

Oh, money.

Re:Being a manager... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18457975)

One other reason to get into management though is the lack of time to learn the latest programming language du jour.

Once you get older and start a family the time that you have outside of work to sit down and learn D++ or Python.Net or whatever gets a lot harder to come by.

If you have the opportunity to learn on the job that's great. But it's not always the case.

Even if it's what you love to do it's still gets harder to find time to do. So moving into management seems like a reasonable step.

Although I'm putting it off as long as possible myself. ;) But I see it coming some day.

The Fileds You Love (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457111)

... and I feel I need to focus on a particular field.

Personally, I value breadth over depth. And I'm going to propose a reason why everyone should also: in the world of computer science, at any minute a once vital skill could be obsolete. Granted, it doesn't happen often (as we still need workers to maintain cobol & fortran code) but, instead of spending my free time hunched over Enterprise Java Bean projects learning their delicate intricacies, I find myself learning about Ruby, Spring, Hibernate, etc. Now, I might not be an expert in any of these fields but I may be glad when their time comes. All good things come to an end--and if EJBs were to be retired, I'd certainly like to know my way around these other frameworks & tools. I think the same can be said about fields of computer science. Be wary of the web developer that doesn't know the first thing about networks & server/client communication--that's often a pitfall for security.

So if you want my honest opinion about which "are hot or not," I think they're all pretty damn hot and I bleieve you can find money in any job where you make yourself usefull & valuable to a decent business. I find them all attractive because I enjoy setting up networks in my house and playing network administrater even though I don't do it at my job. I love networking Linux, Windows, FreeBSD, Solaris, etc. and I like toying around with different databases. I love to start new projects that rarely go anywhere but leave me with more understanding of how technologies or products work. I'm not a "trained expert" at any of them though, most importantly, I feel that I could easily become one if a situation deemed it necessary. If you don't enjoy doing some of these things--DON'T DO THEM. Who cares if they pay alot or are "hot"? I'd rather die happy & poor than rich & sad.

Is there any IT career that I should consider more than the others?
Of course there is, it's the career you enjoy the most :-) If you're honestly worried about having a job and aren't confident in yourself, learn Java. It might die tomorrow (who knows?) but I've seen mountains of code and somebody's gotta maintain that or at least translate several years from now. Not the most glorious job but it would certainly pay the bills. The language is still in use and I've seen people hired by simply writing "Expert in Java" on their resume (whether it was true or not).

Is it a better path to focus on moving into management?
The company I work for is unique in the respect that I am allowed to grow on one of two paths. One is a functional manager that has many people reporting to them (think Lumberg from Office Space). The other is a technical leader--one with degrees & experience implementing ideas. The latter is actually the kind of leadership I desire to fulfill. While it may be more difficult to pursue this "other" kind of management, I hope a lot more companies offer pay equivalent to their technical leaders and recognize them as being just as important as your traditional managers. Technical leaders are the Chief Engineers on projects, the "go to guys" in any scenario where you have technical questions/problems, the subject matter experts, the scientists. The traditional path are the project managers, the leaders who never have to prove themselves, the people who protect you from upper management and who, eventually, become upper management. If I ever found myself interviewing for another company, I would definitely ask them about positions available for technical leaders and, from the sound of your question, this may be something you desire also.

Choose your path wisely.

Re:The Fileds You Love (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18457297)

I largely agree with the parent, but I feel that the response (and the original question) are a tad myopic. The hot fields are where people take a background in IT and specialize in an orthogonal direction. Say you have experience in large db applications -- do you have an interest in genomics or proteomics, or maybe large scale data mining of medical records? There are many other examples, but you have to be creative. I'm a firm believer in growing out of IT.

Re:The Fields You Love (1)

boristdog (133725) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457551)

I agree - keep a broad base. Nothing is more valuable than someone who can consider all the ramifications and needs of their projects. A polyglot can see solutions that others cannot.

Re:The Fields You Love (5, Interesting)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457791)

I disagree. I'm a "jack of all trades, master of none" and I'm well paid. That means I'm pretty much stuck in my job unless I want to take a huge paycut.

It started off as a specialty position (graphics), and I was well paid for it. But it turned into a position where I was responsible for a lot of other, varied things, like the intra-departmental website, and eventually my grasp of modern graphics technologies started slipping.

Now, because it started off paying so well, I'm still paid well... but now my raises are crap, not enough over cost of living to make any difference. I while I like the company I work for, I hate the location, and would take an equally paying job (adjusted for location) just about anywhere else.

The problem is that when I look at available jobs, the ones that pay even moderately close to what I'm getting now require a specialty.

This really kills me - because I'm sure I could get a great raise here if I threatened to leave, but I wouldn't threaten to leave unless I could follow through on it (I'm not good BSing with empty threats).

So, OK, I'm giving my annecdotal experience, but I find it's true elsewhere. I've had this conversation with my manager and he agrees, and he'd like to see me be able to get back into graphics 100% of the time, but the company won't budget for another programmer (I'm in a unique position here). I like all the things I'm doing, but I wouldn't mind dropping the variety and concentrating on being great at one or two things, I'd still be happy and I'd be able to demand more at a different place.

Re:The Fileds You Love (4, Interesting)

scoove (71173) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457789)

One is a functional manager that has many people reporting to them (think Lumberg from Office Space). The other is a technical leader--one with degrees & experience implementing ideas.

There's also a third option in many larger companies: a cross-functional, multi-domain expert. While many people are familiar with the Java/Routing/InfoSec/DB2/etc. expert who has developed extensive expertise and attained mastery in the technical domain, the multi-domain expert is another option which can be quite professionally rewarding.

Both my brother and I had IT careers (he in client app development and me in infosec and internetworking), and both of us went back to school. He added a marketing undergraduate and a MBA with a marketing focus, while I added a finance undergraduate and a Master of Science in Economics. For both of us, it was an exceptional career move. He's a marketing information systems manager for a Fortune 500 company, handling most of the IT projects for the different product brands of the company and gets to work with developing them the way he wants for his clients - architecting the solution, developing cross-functional dev teams, etc.

The finance and economics addition to an infosec and networking background has helped me become a dual-domain expert in operational risk management (an area that needs many more experts who understand both IT operations and the whole quantitative aspect). I get to design and develop metrics that help us analyze, track and improve our operations, manage the development of the systems that collect and report these metrics and then evaluate them to assess the company's global risk.

The cool part is if you like to set yourself apart from the crowd, it's a great way to accomplish that. It certainly isn't easy committing time to develop that second domain, and takes very careful job selection to get into a place where you can start using both domains. However, because companies seem to have serious problems communicating between different functional areas (e.g. marketing can't speak IT, and IT can't talk marketing), people who span the gap get very nicely compensated, have significant creative authority and overall get to see their ideas implemented.


Depends on what you like. (2, Insightful)

dpaluszek (974028) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457135)

I think it all depends on the person and what they like. I'm currently an IT Project Manager while dealing with managers and I can't stand it. My goal is to get another Sr. Systems Engineer/Manager position that entails working with various Operating System environments (Solaris, RH, Windows, etc.) while doing IT projects (rollouts, migrations, etc.).

Again, you need to decide on what you feel is right. Obviously, money always come into play here, but it seems like you already have a wealth of information and a broad spectrum of experience that you have the capability of going into any IT arena.

Good luck.

Re:Depends on what you like. (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457177)

Also, what's hot today is not tomorrow (or 2 years from now). Just do something you enjoy, instead of what it seems everybody wants, or you will be in the situation of changing fields every 2 years, and having lots of breadth, but no depth.

Re:Depends on what you like. (1)

naked_biker (985687) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457527)

Couldn't have said it better and I'm on the flip-side of your coin. I was systems engineer doing middleware development but I was mediocre at best and eventually became bored and in a funk. I discovered, by accident, that I was a very good project manager. I took some idiot boss (or maybe he was a genius) pushing me into management to discover this.

Tech Support (5, Funny)

cralewyth (934970) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457139)

I hear it's lovely over at tech support. You get to talk to n00bs all day and make them run around in circles because it's the "fixing ritual" and stuff.

No seriously. BOFH is the field you're after.

Re:Tech Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18457221)

Working in tech support is much more than making the caller run in circles. Personally, I like putting the caller on hold while listening to them yell at family members or sing along with the music.

Re:Tech Support (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18457477)

My tactic is similar. Only, you leave them on hold, go to lunch, and hope they are gone when you get back. Seriously though, how come no one on /. ever mentions the fact that tech support is also about dealing with liars and they're all liars. "did you double-click on the icon?" "yes" "ok, click file, edit" "where?" "on the software you just opened" "I don't have any software open." pushes [mute], screams, puts on hold, goes to lunch.

Re:Tech Support (1)

Mr2cents (323101) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457513)

"SCO server sysadmin" is also booming, I heard.

Too many variables (2, Interesting)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457167)

What's hot in my area (washington metro)? security. And based on some of the crap being pushed on us, it takes very little experience or understanding of the system to force functionally useless requirements on us. (HSPD12, anyone?)

You then also have to look at not just region, but industry -- informatics is becoming more significant in some industries, but not in others.

Then there's issues with the size of the company -- specialization may be good for large companies with a massive IT workforce, but it's not desired in smaller companies with a small IT staff.

From the sounds of things, you need to look into systems analysis -- and review your organization, and your network of contacts. What's good advice for one person is most likely not what's good for anyone else.

Wrong Question (4, Insightful)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457171)

The right question is: "Which area of IT do you LOVE?"

Almost all areas are 'hot', but that doesnt mean anything. The one that will STAY hot for you, is the one that you love enough to continue your education throughout your career, and dont just pick someting to do for a paycheck.

If you love a particular area, your constant learning and improvement will lead you into related areas and keep you relevant throughout your career, you can move into consulting, writing and development within your chosen area and never miss a beat.

Never chase a paycheck.

Re:Wrong Question (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457409)

You are a steaming pile of bad advice.

I don't think economics work the way you think they work.

Re:Wrong Question (3, Insightful)

Cytotoxic (245301) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457479)

Listen to LibertineR, he knows what he's talking about! Always do what you love. You'll be passionate about it and you will do well. There are way too many people in IT because they they heard that there are a lot of good jobs available, rather than because it is their calling in life. Finding out what you love to do is easier said than done, but it is the secret to success. (and if what you love is money, then go into sales or start your own company - that's where the money is, not management)

Re:Wrong Question (2, Interesting)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457969)

But I think the original poster made it clear (and if he didn't I will) that some of us are happy doing any of the technologies we are familliar with. I got my MS concentrating on computer graphics, but in my unique position at this company, I write tons of non-graphics related apps, DB programming, intranet website development...

I could do any of these things and be happy. I'm one of those guys who would stay up all night when I was a teenager just playing with code on my Atari 400 with the membrane keyboard just to see what I could do. I'm still that way.

But because I do all these varied things, and don't have a concentration on any one technology anymore, I'm not great at any of them. This keeps me locked into my job (more or less), because I won't be able to ask for as much anywhere else.

Before I was married with kids, I could take the high road and say "well, I'll take a pay cut to do what I want." But back then I was a specialist and got a lot of job offers (I liked, and still like, where I am, though). Headhunters used to call all the time. Now I haven't had an unsolicited job offer in like 8 years.

Like I said, I like the place I work (although I hate the location), so I'm not actively looking, but I take a look at Find Your Spot [] every so often, and wish I could afford to move.

Screw "hot or not" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18457173)

Life is way, way too short to worry about stuff like this. Here's an idea: Do what makes you happy. You love coding? Then code and screw the forecasts. Just don't work in any field because it could be hot in the future.

Someone needs to quote a scripture from the holy text of "Office Space" to back me up. =)

What you like (1)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457201)

Well, as you rightly point out, it does depend a lot on your tastes.

However when specialising, the trick is not to become _too_ specialised. There are many skills that are transferrable, and others which are not. The non transferrable are probably directly relevant to what you're doing. The transferrable cover the 'other stuff' like writing reports, project management, process management, change control, that kind of thing.

In my opinion, you are best served to aim for something you like doing first, but keep an eye on the supporting skills whilst you do. Those are what keep you growing, learning and at the end of the day, able to move to another job, when you inevitably do in your career.

Actually, I'd recommend having a look at something like ITIL for the 'IT baseline'. It's not the only way to run an IT department, but I'm noticing more and more companies are 'going that route' - being able to understand how and why your department does things the way it does is, IMO, very valuable, and more importantly, an excellent plus point when going elsewhere for interviews.

Doesn't matter (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18457203)

Any provided you live in India. Gotta love cheap phone support.

Choose a career you like (2, Insightful)

ma11achy (150206) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457205)

"Choose a job you like and you will never have to work a day of your life" - Confucius

That's one of the better quotes out there. I've been in the Unix Sysadmin/Programming areas
for 10 years now and while I haven't found it all easy going and wonderful, I DO like what
I do, which is a huge advantage to quality of life in a career.

Pick something from the areas you listed that you enjoyed and work at it. Don't be too
concerned about "what's hot". If you have the fundamentals (such as a CS degree or equivalent experience) you will be fine.

Best of luck.

Re:Choose a career you like (4, Insightful)

l0rd (52169) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457309)


One thing I miss about the good old days when anyone who even looked at a computer was considered a nerd was that you didn't get these kinds of questions. The words IT & career in the same sentance just bring a foul taste to my mouth.

Sure, if you just want to make a living IT is an industry that will probably always have a job for you. However if you aspire to become a master at something it has to be something you live & breathe. Just figure out what you like doing and roll with it.

You like organizing people become a manager. You like helping people work at a helpdesk. You like figuring out how computers work get a job making device drivers. You like php become a web developer... You get the idea. Doing something just because it's hot is a sure recipie for disaster.

Re:Choose a career you like (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18457591)

"Choose a job you like and you will never have to work a day of your life" - Confucius

As a counterpoint I'll bring up what a friend once said to me, "Get a job doing something you love and what you love becomes work." And I found that to be true. I used to love writing code just to be writing code. I taught myself Perl simply because it sounded fun. Then I got a job as a programmer. Writing code became work. For years it was work and I never did it for fun. Now it's been five years since I did that for a living and I'm just now getting to the point where it can be fun again.

Just because someone is wise, doesn't mean they're always right.

Agreed, lots of demand all round (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457595)

The market is hot now in a lot of fields. I do custom business software solutions, and anytime I'm on the market my phone is ringing non-stop and I'm doing multiple interviews each week. I have a bunch of buddies on the Support/Hardware/Networking side of the house too, and they're not slouching either. And I've never worked for an organization who couldn't use a technical writer or business systems analyst. Get a degree, get some hands on time in what ever field of IT you love, and you can go where ever you like. If you want more flexibility and variety, aim for a smaller organization. If you want to focus in one specialty, aim for a larger organization.


Re:Choose a career you like (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457623)

My problem is I don't like anything.

Re:Choose a career you like (1)

jweller (926629) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457717)

That sounds nice and all, but I don't see companies lining up to pay me to surf /. all day

besides, once it's your job, it becomes work.

Monocareer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18457211)

"Which IT Careers Are Hot and Which are Not?"

You'll notice on slashdot you'll never see "Which hospitality careers are hot and which are not?". Is everyone here in IT?*

*That would explain much then.

Re:Monocareer (1)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457289)

Is everyone here in IT?
You must be new here.

Hello, welcome to Slashdot.

News for Nerds, and Stuff that matters.

And yes, there is a correllation between IT people and the Slashdot readership.

(Not least an appreciation of the humour implicit in naming your site after some of the punctuation you would see in a URL)

Re:Monocareer (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457533)

I wonder what the ratio is between IT professional and hobbyist on Slashdot. I imagine there are a fair number of hobbyists here that wonder what a real IT career is like.

Cisco Voice (4, Informative)

eggoeater (704775) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457213)

One area that is rapidly growing is Cisco VOIP. I've been studying for my Cisco CCVP cert and it's more complicated than you might think. Most companies love the fact that they can use their existing network equipment (routers/switches) to replace all their PBXs/ACDs, not to mention free inter-network calling.

I work for a large company and we're currently in the process of a ~5 year migration from all legacy PBXs to Cisco Call Manager. Many other companies are doing the same. Just about all new offices are built with either Cisco or Avaya VOIP systems, but most companies go with Cisco since you don't have to be concerned with compatibility. (eg. A high-end Cisco router is also your telephony gateway where the T1s are converted to VOIP.) As you can guess, this calls for some highly specialized skill sets (eg. Call Manager/ICM/IVR + Cisco Networking/IOS, etc.) which not a lot of people have. If you're certified, you will NOT have a problem finding a job.

Pick something boring, or get lucky (3, Interesting)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457219)

Seriously. Some of the worst jobs have great security and pay well. Look at COBOL programmers - it's probably better to say you're a piano player in a whorehouse than to admit you mind legacy COBOL installations, but I hear that they're pretty darned good jobs. The "coolest" jobs usually pay squat, have lousy hours, are highly competitive, and experience high burnout. (see: Elelctronic Arts).

On the other hand, you can always pursue what you really love, and hope that you happen to get lucky and that your obscure interest is the Next Big Thing (TM). That's how the really great ones did it. Of course, if you did a better job selecting your parents (see: Paris Hilton), the career thing wouldn't really be an issue and you wouldn't be in this boat. So based on your track record, going with the chance part isn't such a good idea for you.

Re:Pick something boring, or get lucky (2, Insightful)

xzqx (866110) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457561)

What's wrong with being a piano player in a whorehouse?

Avoid "hot" careers (4, Insightful)

Pope (17780) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457223)

Today's "hot" career is tomorrow's outsourced to India dead-end job. Stop caring what's popular and focus on what you like doing the most. If you like doing all sorts of different things, then keep on doing that!

Re:Avoid "hot" careers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18457697)

This is no joke. Seriously.

At least if you're involved with software development, the best investment in your career you can make is the "Rosetta Hindi: Level 1" software.

I'm not being facetious, being one of the few who can communicate effectively over the English/Hindi language barrier is quite valuable. Moreso in the coming years no doubt. These guys are outsorcing today, but the innovators tomorrow.

Re:Avoid "hot" careers (1)

radtea (464814) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457707)

"Virii" isn't a word, you frigging morons.

Neither is "frigging".

Good advice otherwise, though. What's hot today in IT will be tomorrow's dead end. If you do something you love, and it dies out, you may well be able to get a job for life maintaining the legacy code base in some dead technology. It's a pity there isn't more FORTRAN code still used outside of academia, because I'm still kinda partial to it.

Loaded question (4, Informative)

t00le (136364) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457225)

I think the question is somewhat loaded, but I suppose everyone has a perspective. In my opinion VOIP and Network Security are hot career paths. I have been working with both (Cisco) over the course of the last five years and the market is very good for specialized Network geeks. When looking for marketability on the job boards VOIP/NetSec are paying more than my other skills.

The one thing I do know for a fact is if you are diversified in a couple of "hot skills" your marketability goes through the roof. If you throw management experience along with that you can make some pretty hefty sums AND find a job you like.

My .02

hot or not? (0, Offtopic)

raffe (28595) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457231)

Well if you want to check if you are hot or not you can always go to hotornot [] and.....ohh THATS what you mean.....never mind

Go into programming (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18457241)

i think you should go into programming and learn to write malware so i can keep charging my customers $95USD to format and reinstall Windows.

Job Sites (1)

duffer_01 (184844) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457263)

I think the easiest way to find the answer to this question is to go to some of the Job sites like From here you can narrow down your search to the fields that you have experience in and get an idea of the number of jobs available for each of these fields. I would expect the ones with the most job openings would be the "hottest" jobs.

Of course you can also take a look at some of the analyst reports who survey IT Managers to see what areas they will be focusing on over the next few years.

I guess the main problem with any of these are that they are somewhat short term outlooks. Although I don't think you are ever going to be able to predict what is going to be hot long term.

Re:Job Sites (2, Interesting)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457793)

I would expect the ones with the most job openings would be the "hottest" jobs.

Not as much as you'd think. A good portion of openings I've seen there are from headhunter agencies that put up phony jobs for clients that don't exist. This gives them a pool of resumes to boast to their own clients about.

Out of all the career books I've read, Ask The Headhunter is the one that struck a chord with me. His take on Monster/Careerbuilder [] , while old, still holds true.

As if this is a real question.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18457279)

The same thing thats always hot...


Start taking those spam emails seriouly. Increase your girth 400%!!!!!!!!111!1

There is a high demand for people like me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18457285)

I'm a open source programmer who worked in the buzzword business for too long.

Now I finance myself with random fake portals that display adverts like they were news (kinda like Slashdot).

If someone approaches me with a problem (which happens occasionally) I solve his/their often trivial problems for free so they do not need to spend money on hiring a new buzzword invested CS graduate. I know this might sound like I'm bitter or something. But actually I thing I do the right thing to save the IT business where far too many people with some important names, words, clothes, faces but without any valuable practical knowledge block/demotivate people who would get work done.

Too extreme? No, certainly not. Many people have come to the conclusion that a bad job can become a great hobby again and that working for themselves is far more rewarding than being a passionate developer in this lets-get-as-much-money-as-possible-without-doing/k nowing/investing-anything crowd.

Flip some burgers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18457295)

Burger King and McDonalds need some good multitasking people that don't need to focus on one career path. They like it when you can fliip a burger, microwave some frozen nuggets, fry the fries, work the drivethru, and take order at the register. And, in this case, you can debug their network problems when you have issues with credit cards and the phone system!

User experience (1)

Kobayashi Maru (721006) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457335)

Requisite warning about getting into something for reason other than love aside, UX is the Next Big Thing(TM): usability, HCI, interaction design, UX design, etc. There are a lot of disparate sub-disciplines, but the overall theme of the movement is to put the people who use your products first. In academia that sometimes translates to taking control away from the "evil developers," but most of the UX people I talk to know that multidisciplinaranism is really where it's at. Like any other successful field, UX is at its best when it's part of a well-coordinated team of people who know what they're doing. We all care about "the users," but writing good software is challenging enough without worrying about the complexities of human behavior. It goes both ways: just as UX doesn't work when the developers resist their presence, good UX people have to be technically savvy enough to know what computers can do these days. When I was in school, I watched far too many design teams fall into traps like assuming perfect natural language processing, but that's another topic altogether.

Keep UX in mind. You'll find it mostly at large companies at IT hotspots like the Valley right now, but that's how it is with any emerging field. It starts at the top and permeates outward. There's a competetive advantage to well-designed software, and UX is one way to get you there.

On the DBA path lies the money (and the stress) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18457347)

Good DBAs are in demand and will always be in demand. This has been the case since the beginning of the IT industry and will continue to be the case for as long as there is an IT industry. It's also a career where you'll be on call until you retire. There is a reason beyond scarcity that DBAs make a full metric truck load of money compared to other IT industry career paths at the same level of experience/education.

But if you want something `hot', look further into Business Intelligence. Right now people experienced with Actuate and other BIRT tools can pretty much write whatever figure they want on their paychecks.

AUDITING (4, Funny)

kalpol (714519) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457369)

Oh yeah...I'm coming for all your asses.


Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18457825)

Oh yeah...I'm coming for all your asses.

You've been modded funny.. yet I don't think they should be laughing. I'm an IT wonk with sixteen years of experience who intends on starting an accounting degree with a specialization in auditing due to the stupid and reckless practices I've seen at my last two employers (along with a lot of other firms). It's time to work from outside the department to correct these issues before data is compromised, and if it takes a harsh approach to do so, then so be it.

It is time to inflict pain until a desired result is achieved. I used to shy away from people and really hate confrontation, but over the last five years I've become so enraged at the lax attitude ("we've been doing this for ten years.. and we haven't gotten hacked yet so it must be okay") that it's time to take action. Plus, I don't have to worry about changing code requirements or dragging a network cable across the floor.

The ones where (0, Offtopic)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457375)

you have to go undercover as an exotic dancer at a strip club as part of the requirements gathering phase.

I suggest.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18457385)

personal interest is very important. I do feel you should do what you like to do rather than following the market trends. The market trends don't last long, but your interest does.

Now coming back to your question- I would personally suggest working in the finance sector. There are lots of challenging jobs in this sector

- If you like low level system/network programming companies like Bloomberg/NYSE/NASD will give you a very nice exposure and package. They really respect people who think that every call should return in a few milli second

- Most of these companies have huge data centers, optimizing and fine tuning them is fun

- Working for a team building a trading system (a bit tough to get, but if you get then it's really worth it)

- Working for a hedge fund automating trade strategies, exploring arbitrage opportunities through code, and coming up with a few strategies of your own

My personal experience, most of the crowd in finance-IT is dumb, so if you are a good programmer you will make it good.

BTW if you are a good programmer you will do well anywhere :)

Management is a different role... (1)

dbmasters (796248) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457423)

Managers don't have to be technical proficient, they simply need to know different technologies conceptually. I have found the best managers used to be developers, and, while they may have never developed .Net or Java or AJAX specifically, they have enough experience and knowledge to understand the concepts, and know who they can rely on that knows the specifics of what needs to get done.

Managers manage...

My Faustian deal (2, Insightful)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457447)

About ten years ago, I sold my soul to Microsoft and haven't regretted it yet. I work for a healthcare organization that's a Microsoft shop. I started as a database developer, switched to SQL Server administration, and have been a web developer ever since.

I personally prefer development over administration. Being a database administrator was a lot like being a firefighter. There were long periods of boredom where everything was running smoothly, coupled with late night crisis modes with huge pressure to get critical systems running again.

As a web developer, I get to do database work as well as creating web applications. I create a lot of things to make people's lives easier, some of whom are patients to our hospitals. It's interesting work and I get fairly generous praise heaped on me by coworkers and customers. The really crazy thing is that they pay me quite well to keep doing it.

I am an IT Multi-Tool (3, Interesting)

Dareth (47614) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457453)

I have the same problem. I am an IT Multi-tool. I am not the best tool for any particular job, but I may be the best and only tool you currently have for the job at hand.

I have the following credentials:
Degree in Computer Science - No I didn't learn everything I needed to know in college, but that paper opened a few doors.
10+ years experience with computers in a networked environment.
Experience using and troubleshooting computers ranging from DOS to Windows to Linux, with a sprinkle of Unix.
Programming in C,C++,Java, VB and VBA
Knowledge of HTML
Experience in maintaining production servers for critical tasks.
Experience with peer-to-peer networks, hundreds of nodes.
Experience with Databases,MSSQL and MySQL know basic to moderate level SQL.
Experiences with Apache and IIS.
Command line scripting from DOS Batch to Linux Bash. ...
Tons more things I have just "worked" with as needed.

I have always been a "jack of all trades" in terms of computer work. Recently I have been specializing, not by choice, but by necessity in Phone and Data Networks. I have taken several weeks of training in ACD and Phone PBX systems. I have been setting up our phone ACD for about 2 years now. About to start working closer with the PBX hardware as well. It is an interesting niche.

If you are just looking for the latest "hotness" in computers it is security. But that type of job could well leave you stressed out with gray or no hair and a coronary in your early 40-50's. I see too many green newbies fresh out of college all excited about security and their careers. I don't know if I should find them amusing or scary. I guess someone has to do that job.

As for me, If I can keep learning and enjoying what I do, I couldn't ask for anything more.

Re:I am an IT Multi-Tool (1)

zero1101 (444838) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457939)

If you are just looking for the latest "hotness" in computers it is security. But that type of job could well leave you stressed out with gray or no hair and a coronary in your early 40-50's.
I know you were joking, but I just found my first gray hairs after a mere 1.5 years in the IT security field. Of course, I also have a 2-year-old at home, so that could be it as well.

These aren't fields, and you don't need to choose (2, Insightful)

BadERA (107121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457495)

"support; some networking; DBA; web development; project management; even working on the client side"

These aren't fields. They're roles. They're roles that will always play a part in IT. As others have mentioned, you should focus on what you like. At the same time, don't become overly-specialized -- if you pigeonhole yourself, you risk your job security in the long run.

Personally I'm a .NET enterprise software engineer, with solid proficiency in SQL Server 2000 and 2005 -- at a large company with a variety of dedicated resources, I wouldn't call hire on as a DBA, but at a small or medium size company, I would feel quite comfortable doing so. I can hack my way through server and network administration, but mostly in a development role -- I wouldn't sign on as anything more than an entry-level role in server or network engineering. (And I wouldn't even sign on for entry-level, because software is where my heart is at.)

"Web development" has become a silly term. Be an engineer, know the technology, and desktop vs. web won't make a difference. Be a "tech," and again, you're pigeonholing yourself, and putting long term job security in the pooper. Make sure you're proficient in current technology, but keep an eye to the future. Attend user group meetings. Attend industry conferences.

You shouldn't base your future on specializing in one of these roles you've specified, unless that's what you want to do, and nothing else, ever. You're better off exploring theory, being capable of applying practice. Improve your communication skills. Learn something new every month. Read the Pragmatic Bookshelf series, I think they might help enlighten you. Read well-known works, the classics, the new hotness. I can't say it enough: don't pigeonhole yourself.

Re:These aren't fields, and you don't need to choo (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457621)

"Be an engineer, know the technology, and desktop vs. web won't make a difference.

It makes a difference to every HR person.

Re:These aren't fields, and you don't need to choo (1)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457815)

I have no idea of the quality of your work...

But I am a web developer. I recently worked on a web project that was created by 'software engineers'. My client called them that..the 'engineers' called themselves that.

They created the biggest steaming pile of crap web app I have ever seen in my life.

Yes, the back-end worked fine. Not mind-blowingly-great, but fine.

The front end (and the admin area) were both absolute crap. Their knowledge of HTML/CSS obviously came from some book that was at least 5 years old. Yes, they used valid XHTML...but man, it was atrocious. And NO we DON'T need to create our own XML schema..there is this cool 'RSS' thing they had never heard of. (Not high-tech enough I guess)

I was hired because the original engineers could not longer give their time to the project. At first I was intimidated by the whole thing.

A few days later I realized that the entire project could have easily been done in (insert your scripting language here) and it would have been better, stronger, faster. Now I'm stuck compiling changes to a freakin' web site.

It was just a case of engineers thinking that they knew the best way to handle ANY project...and that was over-engineering the damn thing.

Re:These aren't fields, and you don't need to choo (1)

BadERA (107121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457913)

There are crap software engineers. There are crap web developers -- I've seen their steaming piles of crap too. I am talking about being an engineer in the purer sense -- understand the workings of the technology, and doesn't matter what your presentation layer is, you'll be able to apply the technology. Again, I'll allude to attending user group meetings, industry conferences, and to reading topical works. Be an engineer.

PS, I came from the web. I started freelancing static websites in the later mid 90s. Before that, I played with BASICA, GW-BASIC and QBasic from the age of 6 or 7 on -- thanks, Mom and Dad, for that book on Tandy BASICA instead of Chuck Yeager's Advanced Flight Simulator. I was writing spreadsheets for quality control operations in the early mid 90s. I got into ASP in 98, which is when I started getting into RDBMS. With .NET, I started to make the transition from the web into OO. (I'd worked with VB, but I hardly think that counts, even though, yes, I was doing desktop apps in the late 90s.)

Expereince has lead me to believe... (1)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457497)

That none of your skills matter, only mine. ;)

Actually, happiness is more important. Do whatever it is you enjoy doing the most. If you enjoy it you will be good at it. While I can program and enjoy it to an extent, I prefer what I do better and only program for short periods of time. (I revamp companies infrastructures for far less than consulting firms) What makes me happy is engineering more and better for less and it's why I do what I do. BTW, NO a white box {name your distro here} Linux server does not make a better router than an off the shelf appliance!

No Future in IT in USA (1, Flamebait)

littlewink (996298) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457501)

Is there any IT career that I should consider more than the others?
Yes. Plumbing.

Which are the emerging fields?
Unemployment is the major emerging specialization in IT.

Is there any industry I should focus on in particular?
Your next career after IT.

Which careers on IT are actually more in demand and which ones not?
There are no IT careers in demand in the USA. However, death is a growth industry, and working as an undertaker or working for such companies as SCI [] are increasing lucrative careers.

Is it a better path to focus on moving into management?
If you want to stay in IT, focus on "moving to Bangalore" rather than "moving to management".

For those who might question my pessimism, note that IT careers in the USA continue to decline to this day.

Re:No Future in IT in USA (5, Interesting)

BadERA (107121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457535)

Somebody's bitter.

I was bitter once. I got laid off after 9/11, couldn't find a job to save my life ... or, rather, my car.

You have to bounce back -- if you don't, you shouldn't be in the field to begin with. Same thing applies if you can't find a job today -- you probably need a new profession. IT is booming, the Internet bubble was a temporary setback. Not all IT is INTERNET.

Not everything can be offshored -- I've seen successful offshoring, but I've also seen a large number of disappointed businesses who feel they were overcharged for sub-par return on investment in off-shored projects.

There is always a need for business analysis and system architecting. Someone thousands of miles away is going to have a very difficult time truly knowing a business, and understanding its needs. There is ALWAYS going to be a need for capable, creative people who know the technology AND the business to be local.

Re:No Future in IT in USA (1)

jjthegreat (837151) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457729)

I dont know whether to cry or laugh at this post, but it is so true. Im sure people will be quick to respond with: "If you are good at what you do and are the best available, then you will never be outsourced."

This may be true for people with more acronyms of their degrees than letters in their names and have 10+ years experience in their field. However for the rest of us emergent in this field, it feels like a false start. If I had to do it over again, I would be in the business field. Don't take IT by itself, complement it with a BA of some sort. I presently play a role as a network support specialist for an ISP but I feel more doors would be opened if I had an MBA added to my title.

If your job can be done by telecommuting, then it can also be done in a different country. In the IT field, if you don't think that you are replacable, than you are just kidding yourself.

Re:No Future in IT in USA (1)

buckeyeguy (525140) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457731)

I'd mod it up if I could. And add that ANY job that can be commoditized by technology or Net-enabled commerce (bank teller, book seller, newspaper worker) should be avoided. Avoid large corporations; if you think that IT is an irreplaceable part of a non-IT business... think again; you're on some execs balance sheet as an expense to be reduced.

Quant Programming (0, Offtopic)

DCFC (933633) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457549)

There is a subset of s/w dev in banks doing trading stuff. Very highly paid, and although the hours are a bit long they are shorter than I see in some sectors like video games. You need good maths, and be very good at programming. In my experience as someone who pimps these people into banks, almost no CS grads can program, indeed I've screened a number who were so ignorant I could not devise a question they could answer. One bank came to me after they'd interviewed 37 "chimps" (their ter)m and not one could demonstrate a grasp of programming that would betray them as different from an French literature graduate who would at least make the office look prettier.

Things that confuse CS grads:
Order N Square is not a Tom Clancy Novel about a Russian Mole.
Shannon's limit is not a village by a pretty river in Ireland
Stack Frame is not a wrestler.
You can't get high at a hash table
Design Patterns is not a boutique, and threads are not what they sell.
Iterators aren't the little evil robots in Stargate SG1, nor indeed are Heisenbugs.
Not not is is the same as no not. Yes, really I've had to explan AND to some...
The brighter ones manage to look amazed at the !! term in the C++ I write, the dim ones , well I don't know what goes on in their minds.
Also a CS grad knows lisp. It does a little banking but not much. However if you can't do Lisp your not a computer scientist you
are merely someone who like Star Trek : Enterprise who never got a data at college.

Also I have no bloody idea how you can call yourself a CS grad if you haven't taken apart an operating system and broken/hacked it.
Hint for CS grads:operating systems aren't written in HTML, I checked, and Aristotle wasn't Belgian.

They are mostly in C & C++ (not Java, a quiche langage, and if you don't recognise the term quiche you need to do some reading)

As it happens C++ is the language of high end banking, as in people straight out of college what earn three what you do after a 3 years experience.
But they're not CS grads. Maybe there are some smart ones, if so, they apply this intelligence in hiding from me as a headhunter.

Re:Quant Programming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18457587)

You are what is wrong with the industry.

Slashdot Editor (1)

CmdrPorno (115048) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457563)

The career of Slashdot Editor is one of the hottest tech careers. Although some editors, like JonKatz, have come and gone over the years, it's an exciting and prestigious profession. Responsibilities include posting dupes, failing to perform due diligence before posting, and denying responsibility for questionable policies... Where can I sign up?

IT is no longer hot..... (1)

cuteface (450372) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457565)

I hate to pour cold water but that's my observation. With hundreds of millions of IT professionals flooding the market from newly emerging economies like India, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Philipines, South America and so on....I cannot help but see the competition faced by IT professionals getting more intense in the next 5 to 10 years.

Ok pessimism from a 9 year old IT professional aside, I believe areas such as security, gaming, content management, knowledge systems and ERP systems as well as embedded system development continue to be good areas to build one's career in. However, any of these areas will force a persion into a niche so there are risks. Some risks are, (A) the area of speciality becomes too popular and competition becomes too intense (Java/J2EE?), (B) the area of speciality becomes unpopular and declines (COBOL?), (C) you may not be given the opportunity in these areas. Regardless, the pressure from wage squeeze will be ever present as companies continue to focus on cost over quality.

I believe the competition in the above areas have a manageable level of competition (anyone is potentially a Java expert nowadays), still offers good money (for a given amount of effort) in your IT career. If instead your priority is geographical mobility, I would think avoiding management roles would be good especially if you intend to work overseas. If you want job security, I personally feel that it is wiser to avoid middle IT management roles as well as to lower your pay expectations.

Whatever your decision pal, all the best! I believe we should continue to build up lots of good karma in any situations and the old lady (meaning karma) will take care of the rest. ;-)

A good start (1)

eugene71 (1077025) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457577)

If you're looking for some insight into career pathways then goto [] . You will find tonnes of stats on how the various technologies are performing within teh industry. I'm a second year degree student and I find this site helpful for directions on what to concentrate on etc... Hope this helps.

security is for the rockstars.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18457637)

a >good security guy could drop his security role and BE the windows admin, or BE the unix admin, or BE the network admin. Could you be a good locksmith without first knowing the internals of how a lock works?

Some diversity in your skills is a good thing... (1)

blindd0t (855876) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457653)

While I definitely feel you should have your strong points, you should always do your best to learn as much about all these areas of IT as reasonably possible. I've been programming for only 6 1/2 years professionally now, but I've found that my interests and efforts towards other areas such as network administration, information security, database design, database administration, web development, web design, usability, accessibility, and so on have all been indefinitely helpful in augmenting my programming skills. For example, you could "know how to code" and write a horrible web application because it looks like crap and is too confusing for anyone to use, the database is unmaintainable because it is not properly normalized. Likewise, even if it were easy to use, aesthetically pleasing, and had a normalized database, if any sensitive information is not secure and your constituents find out, nobody will trust your program/service enough to use it. It's just my $0.02, but I strongly recommend learning a little bit about everything, and a lot about one thing in particular. There's always overlap with these things...

If you don't know what you want, stay out of MGMT (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457661)

If you don't know what you want to do for a living, please stay out of management. Employees, especially employees with their own drive, hate working for a guy without direction.

Go with what you love to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18457719)

What do you love to do most? If you could choose what to do for an 8-hour day, what would give you the most enjoyment and satisfaction?

In my case, it's programming. I'd rather build software than manage projects or meet with clients or do graphic design. So that's what I do, and I love my job.

Stupid question (3, Informative)

MarsDude (74832) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457739)

Go with the job that you LIKE. Not what is the best for a career.

A career in which you don't feel at home with will kill you before you get to retirement.

How bout just answering the question? (2, Insightful)

GoneSouth (1008383) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457751)

Based on job postings on various popular tech boards: 1. SAP 2. .NET 3. JAVA/J2EE Reports of every IT job in the US moving to India have been greatly exaggerated. Indian salaries have been experiencing double-digit growth over the last decade and are now reportedly 50% of US salaries for similar positions. I predict that in the next decade there will no longer be a compelling business case to offshore all but the largest development projects.

Hybrids are key (2, Informative)

morglamb (1079269) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457773)

I'm manager of a couple of teams at top 5 bank, and my team is primarily responsible for data warehousing and ETL processing for the mutual fund division. Frankly, the best position in IT is the job that is not easy to acquire offshore, and pure IT is... I can find .NET or Java engineers both in the states or overseas; I can find sysadmins here or offshore; and while the requirements rigor is much higher for offshore resources in a development context, I can get it done cheaper, as unpopular as that may be on this board. Most IT folks don't work in a pure IT shop, ie - Google/Oracle/Microsoft - essentially a company where the technology is the product/service offering. We are enablers of some other business, and at least at my company, we are offshoring like mad so every new development position gets weighted against a set of criteria to see if it's offshore eligible: unless there's particular industry and/or business data knowledge, they typically are eligible. My recommendation - learn the business. It's the hybrids that companies will retain in the future. It's the blend of business expertise and IT solutions that is difficult for an organization, hell, even a manager, to replace. A specialist here is truly just a commodity worldwide without the corresponding industry and/or business expertise.

Consultant (1)

nnila (1057870) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457785)

If you've got a broad range of experience accross a variety of fields I'd personally say your best bet isn't to give up 90% of your knowledge and try to focus on one area but to istead consider something that wants you to know abit about everything but doesn't need you to be specialised.

A consultant for instance will go into the company and give them overall IT information and what they need to do with some technical details but people will not expect him to get down and debug and fine tune the DB - they leave that to the DB who just then acts on the recommendations of the consultant.

The other thing is that something like consultancy gives you alot more people interaction, company dinners, trips, etc than just being stuck behind a desk as a DBA or programmer.

I've mainly focussed on sys admin type work previously but am now sliding into consultancy and am already noticing the huge improvement. I've had 2 overseas business trips - both of which I extended and turned into a free holiday for me right after the trip and I get to expense a hell of a lot more stuff now and actually get 'perks' to the job - something a sys admin / dba type will rarely get.

No MS, all OSS. Aside from that: Do what you love. (1)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457809)

The overall trend is MS either going the way of the dodo or bogging down the overall developement with the IT industry. Which boils down to the same.
I'd avoid MS whereever possible nowadays. If you do stuff with MS then do it for data migration into open formats or something. Use OSS and you'll never learn stuff that's obsolete 4 years later - this actually is one of the big reasons to switch to Linux aswell. Aside from that do anything you like. Business programming/ERP, Web Stuff, RIA, Admin/Maintainance, Databases, Low-Level/Drivers ... whatever you like. IT in general is growing and all these areas are comparativly 'hot' as you would put it.

Regional Considerations are important (2, Informative)

jerryodom (904532) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457843)

I just finished up a career move and have to say that where you're at matters a great deal in terms of "what's hot".

For instance I was working as a developer for an advertising company doing PHP, Perl, Linux, Javascript, etc where I live now. When that job dried up I needed to find work in my area but 90% of what's going on in Baton Rouge is in the Microsoft environment. I couldn't find a job for quite a while because I didn't have 2+ years of Microsoft development.

I got plenty of job offers out of state(for some reason Tampa Florida companies like my resume) but nobody around here.

So I purchased a few .NET 2.0 books and learned enough to talk my way into a position. Working with Microsoft development is ridiculously easy for me. I can't believe I had a hard time finding a position because I'd done non-Microsoft development but oh well.

Location is extremely important. I'd definitely take a look at what's going on where you want to live before you take a career focus. Now that I've been working with .NET I feel pretty secure that I could jump from opportunity to opportunity if I needed to.

Answer that sounds Sarcastic but I'm Dead Serious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18457947)

Learn Chinese, Vietnamese or Russian. It's not as hard as you think--there are community college crash courses that can make you competent enough in a year or less.

Then become the local pimp for cheap offshore labor. These pimps often go by the title of "Project Manager" or "Requirements Lead." I'm assuming you're American but this will work anywhere that offshore labor is cheaper than indigenous labor.

One big lesson of offshoring is that it's dammned impossible to communicate with some of the less-fluent outfits. To counteract the anti-offshoring backlash of the last 2 years or so, a big demand has emerged for a friendly face to act as a go-between. If you learn just enough tribal language and customs, and they learn just enough English, they can push you forward as the face to the customer. A certain three-letter big iron vendor uses this approach in their "professional services" division.

There are offshore vendors in nations that already speak english well enough to skip the go-betweens, but even those vendors are now outsourcing (meta-outsourcing?) to firms that only recently got indoor plumbing and electricity.

Sorry if anyone finds the above offensive; it's reality and it's a real opportunity.

Computer skills + customer mother toungue + programmer mother tongue = nice slice of the pie.

Choose wisely young grasshopper (1)

heybiff (519445) | more than 7 years ago | (#18457991)

I've had five tech positions as a professional. The first position was at a University, paid badly, but left lots of time for goofing off and playing online games. Lots of fun until my supervisor retired and everyone under him got laid off(read fired). Second position was at a hard core consulting company. Great money, great bene's, little supervision, little human interaction. Drove me crazy and I attempted quitting once, succeeded second time. Third position was tech support at a school, and loved the job, hated the work. Paid enough. Current position is back at a small company that primarily does support, and while the money is again great, I hate it.

I've learned my lesson. Money and titles are for poofs. I prefer my sanity and hair. Currently getting MA in Instructional Technoloy, and heading back to the land of milk and honey: education. There will always be schools, noobs and techno-phobes. Plus they generally promote and pay according to credentials as oppossed to personality and expertise (scarey huh). Luckily I have enough of both to do well. YMMV.

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