IT Career JumpStart

Sep 5 2012   2:13PM GMT

Evergreen Industry Sectors for IT Workers

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel

The August newsletter from Global Knowledge has come and gone, but I wanted to comment on one of the articles in that issue — namely, Kerry Doyle’s “Top 12 Recession-Proof IT Jobs.” While I don’t really take issue with the substance of the piece — more on that to follow — I have several problems with its title. For one thing, I guess I’m enough of a pessimist that I would be inclined to use the term “recession-resistant” rather than “recession-proof” simply because I’m not sure ANYTHING (or any market sector, as I will shortly explain) is really recession-proof. If things get bad enough, the old saw about ‘a rising tide floats all boats’ needs to be reversed, because a falling tide lowers all boats as well.

My second issue with the title is Mr. Doyle’s use of the phrase “IT Jobs.” If you read his article — and I certainly recommend that you do so — you’ll see that he calls out one dozen different market sectors in which IT jobs remain vigorous. But alas, he doesn’t actually single out specific jobs, though he does bandy a bunch of skillsets, job tasks, and potential job roles about with gusto and abandon. That’s why I think the piece would be more accurately labeled if the headline read something like “A Dozen Recession-Resistant Market Sectors With Great IT Job Opportunities” or perhaps even “A Dozen Market Areas Where IT Jobs Remain Strong.” But those headlines are also nowhere near as punchy (and I’m no stranger to having an editor “tighten” titles for my own stories, either). But hopefully, you get my points…

For the record, the dozen sectors Mr. Doyle singles out are as follows:

Recession Resistant Market Sectors for IT
Cybersecurity Healthcare Gaming
Mobile Development Big Data/Analytics Telecommunications & Unified Communications
Software Engineer/Developer Creative Design/User Experience (UX) Designers IT Human Resources
Online Advertising: IT-based SEO/SEM/Social Media Specialist Systems Analyst Programmer

Of the sectors that Mr. Doyle mentions in his article, I have to guess that he was reaching for the final element to round out his dozen. Item 7, Software Engineer/Developer, and Item 12, Programmer, are more alike to my way of thinking than they are different. If pressed to add another item to take the place of one or the other, I would suggest the following areas of IT expertise and activity: wireless network design and deployment, cloud computing (and constituent technology areas such as data center networking, virtualization, storage, and so forth), and developing deep expertise in IPv6, over to which the world will be moving slowly but inexorably over the next decade as the Second and Third Worlds join the First World online.

Furthermore, to give Mr. Doyle his well-deserved due, I concur heartily with the selection of elements for his list of market sectors, except 7 and 12, which I believe should be conflated, and item 3, Gaming. I’ve lived in or near Austin, TX, for the past 36 years — it’s long been a mecca for game development, thanks in large part to Richard Garriott (aka Lord British) and his highly successful Ultima franchise, and a concerted effort by the City of Austin to fund and develop a variety of gaming programming centers, camps, and academic programs. During that time, I’ve seen the gaming industry yo-yo from incredible peaks to doleful valleys, and watched friends and colleagues bounce in and out of start-up and heavy-duty gaming jobs. I’m not willing to concede that this sector is exactly “recession-proof” even if Gartner does opine that “70 percent of leading global companies will have at least one ‘gamified’ application by 2014.” Games live or die by their customer uptake, and constant job churn remains the norm for this industry even today.

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