I figure I might as well join the ranks of the forecasters for the upcoming year – heck, what good is a New Year if not to look ahead at what might be? My 2009 crystal ball is multi-colored and multi-dimensional, pointing to the need for IT talent with a wide range of skills. Given the current (and projected) economic climate, it seems only natural that an individual with broad experience will find their opportunities less limited than the narrowly focused and experienced individual. Just because the economic climate is poor doesn’t really eliminate many real needs that companies have and are looking for from their IT departments. Multi-talented individuals can help the department do more with less if that individual is used to potential.
In 2009 I see more attention being paid to training existing IT staff in new areas rather than looking to hire from the outside. There is no argument that budgets will be tight to non-existent. Management will certainly be looking to chop costs anywhere they can without risking failure of the operations. I suspect that IT departments who to this point have been reluctant to join the virtualization bandwagon will be forced to train staff and begin implementing virtualized systems. There have been many case stories showing that huge savings can be achieved – not only with hardware savings, but also support and staff.
My crystal ball does show a lot of activity — like a storm at sea, there is churning of the waters and constant change. Certainly there will be loss of IT jobs as projects get canceled. What I see for the future is that many will find they have to get training that perhaps they do not yet have. I suspect that 2009 will see more hiring from the smaller companies than the large ones – which will mean fewer hires overall and more unemployment. Some IT workers used to large operations may have to be satisfied working in smaller environments and keeping much busier than they’re used to.