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IT Careers in 2010 - Learn a business 170

Posted by Zonk
from the in-the-year-25-25 dept.
feminazi writes "Business knowledge and domain specific skills are becoming more important to IT workers, according to Computerworld's special report on IT careers in 2010. The most sought-after corporate IT workers in 2010 may not have deep-seated technical skills at all. Traci A. Logan, vice president of information technology and vice provost for academic affairs at Bentley College in Waltham, Mass. says, 'That [business skill set] is going to be more important than the straight technical skills they know, because you're going to see a closer marriage between the business and IT.'"
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IT Careers in 2010 - Learn a business

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  • Yea! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rbannon (512814)
    That's always been the case. Business skills, especially salesmanship is what's most important.
    • Sure, what's "most important" is being able to sell. Particularly when the corporate network was just cracked and you have to explain to the CEO why all the clients have been looking at "j00 b33n pwN3d" on your website all morning.

      Technical skills? Not so important.

      That's "sarcasm" for those of you unable to see it.

      Being a good salesman can get you in the door and on the project. But nothing will help if you don't have the tech skills to deliver.

      Particularly as more and more of the business is being put on
      • I think the point being made is that business/sales skills are more important for your career not for the business. As long as the technical skills are available to keep the tech going, sales etc. will put you at a higher level in the business than tech skills. I agree though, I would hate to be a good businessman trying to sell broken products, or products made on a broken production line.

        Business skills being more important doesn't make tech skills non-essential.
        • I think the point being made is that business/sales skills are more important for your career not for the business. As long as the technical skills are available to keep the tech going, sales etc. will put you at a higher level in the business than tech skills.

          The flaw in that approach is that it depends upon nothing going wrong that you cannot blame on someone else.

          Which is not to say that you won't get lucky and succeed with that approach. Just that it is a flawed approach.

          And that is the essence of "tech

          • by rohan972 (880586) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @02:38AM (#15723761)
            I think you missed this part of my post:
            Business skills being more important doesn't make tech skills non-essential.

            And that is the essence of "tech viewpoint" vs "business viewpoint".

            May I dare to suggest that you develop tech skills and business skills? I am not employed in management, and don't intend to be, but understanding some of the skills/viewpoints of management allows me to:
            1. Better understand the priorities of management (you know, those guys that sign the cheques?)

            2. Be more skilled at promoting my ideas to management (the stuff alot of workers find really difficult, but is really valuable to the company)

            3. Deal with customer issues more succesfully (for some reason our customers are more concerned with being profitable than with being assured by me that our product is within the ordered specification. This sometimes involves coming up with solutions that require some knowledge of business)
        • Depends on what you want for your career. Personally, I'd quit before taking a management job. So no, buisness skills are not necessary and do not help.
          • by Ranger96 (452365) on Friday July 14, 2006 @11:10PM (#15723181)
            It's not about taking a management job. In corporate IT, it's all about understanding the business you are supporting. If you are a great coder but have zero understanding or interest in the business processes your systems support, you are not near as valuable to the company as the average coder who can successfully translate business requirements into a technical implementation. Or, as is more likely, translate those business requirements into a comprehensive technical spec that can be handed off to the contractors performing the actual coding.

            Coding is skilled labor that the company prefers to acquire as needed on a contract basis. The 'professional' job is the business analyst, technical analyst, and architect.
            • Absolutely... Wish I had mod points tonight.

              Know what's important to the bottom line for your employer and adjust your priorities accordingly. This is especially important in smaller outfits.

              I'm working for a manufacturer outside the "technology" sector for the first time in my life now. I'm learning as much as I can about every aspect of the business.. from production and distribution to customer service. What else can I do to increase my value to them? They're already getting the full benefit of my te
            • So true. I've been working in business software development for about 8 years now. Over the last 4 I've been working in lots of custom in-house leasing, loan, and accounting applications. Having a solid grasp of the development tools and being able to build a solid framework is important, but it doesn't help the company. Being able to communicate clearly with the accounting department, or understanding lease accounting, implicit rate calculations, and the whole litany of terms that your users live by, that
              • I agree you with, and grandparent, except with one caveat; learning advertising helped me in my previous job of writing advertising delivery and reporting software. (No, it wasn't straight spamming, it was legit.)

                I'm still left wondering if that was worth it because I feel so dirty to be able to make marketing employees and managers drool when I 'talk the talk'. Probably an easier croud to please than most, but I do agree with you; learning what customers were looking for when they ran campaigns and contrac
      • But the tech skills are the most important.
        When you find a company that recognizes this and compensates the technical people accordingly, please let us all know.
        • Yes, this just in. The business does recognize this and will be compensating their outsource Indian partners handsomely whilst pocketing the difference of your bloated 'techy' salary ~ afterall, the kids need Beamers too.
        • When you find a company that recognizes this and compensates the technical people accordingly, please let us all know.

          Just ask the people working for Google. In fact, just look for any of the companies that the tech people are trying to get into.
        • Why search for a company? Start your own. You will be directly compensated on the value you produce; no layer(s) of management to blame for ciphoning off the fruits of your labor... Of course, some of those sales & biz skills will rapidly start to feel pretty important! :-)
          • And you have the added bonus of having a 90% chance of being out of work within 3 years and having to work twice as many hours as someone else's employee.
            • having to work twice as many hours as someone else's employee.

              Uh, you're either thinking of a third-world textile sweatshop as your replacement job, or you have no clue what kind of effort you need to spend in a startup. What employee position has you working twice as many hours - or even the same number of hours - as any reasonable startup effort?!

              As for 90% chance of being out of work... so what? Get another f-ing job, or try again with another startup. This sub-thread wasn't about a psychological need t
              • Where are ou going to raise enough capital to start your own business? My guess is you could lose your home and maybe your marriage as your bank takes it for equilateral for giving you money for the startup.

                It takes money to make money. I suppose you could be a consultant if you want to save money without renting an office but you need years and years of experience and know alot of people via networking to do this.

                But starting a business is not for everyone. We need only so many chiefs but lots of Indians.
                • A bank is a rather poor place to capitalize a new business. Although I do wonder how much "equaliteral" they'd give me in exchange for a marriage - maybe that wouldn't be such a bad deal! :-D

                  Friends & family is a good place to start; personal savings; and the angel community. Or you can bootstrap - start it part-time while working at a big co, build the business until it has the revenue to justify a full-time position. And yes, consulting is a viable options as well. You do need experience - and netwo
                • My guess is you could lose your home and maybe your marriage as your bank takes it for equilateral for giving you money for the startup.

                  What's that, Henny Youngman-style lending?

                  For those too young (ha!), see the first [wikipedia.org] paragraph.

              • First of all you've misconstrued what I said. I said that running your own business requires twice as much work as having a regular job; now most people would like to do something else with their lives apart from working all the time. As for a 90% chance of being out of work, well those are far, far worse odds than being an employee in my country. I don't know the ins and outs of US employment law but even if you're made redundant in the UK the company gives you money; that doesn't happen with a startup. In
                • Apologies if I did take what you wrote the wrong way, re effort. That's how I read it...

                  It's not easy to start a business. But it's not impossible for those who are motivated - you have to look for ways to succeed, not reasons to not try. Mortgage, kids... join the club. But in that situation, you've also presumably got something to show for your 10-20 year career (saved up some equity on that house, some savings from your past work), and kids implies you've got a spouse. That spouse can be a second breadw
    • by MikeFM (12491)
      A strong set of business and a strong set of technical skills combined is what will make you successful in my experience. Being able to deliver a strong product and keep customers, coworkers, investors, etc all happy isn't easy at all but it can really pay off.
    • Knowledge of business theory and its practical application will outweigh salesmanship. The ability to apply IT in order to increase profits is what businesses will look for and what they are already looking for. This isn't really anything new. IT folks who understand how to better the bottom line are the ones who really succeed. I'm not a programmer but programming is a great example. A programmer who understands business is much better able to supply IT tools that help businesses thrive. I can sell j
    • This idea is what we typically call "Business Analysts." They are the liason between the business and IT. Nothing new here with this report.
    • by E1v!$ (267945)
      Your sarcasm is beautiful.
  • Nothing new (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Friday July 14, 2006 @10:05PM (#15723001) Homepage
    This has always been true. This is why you can't just replace coders. Even though there's lots of coders out there, having someone who understands your business on a higher level will help you create a much better product. You can't just high someone who's been doing financial software for 10 years to go write a game. Maybe it would be nice if companies started realizing this, and didn't just bring in contractors to do everything, who have no idea about the business, or the business's real needs.
    • Flipside (Score:5, Informative)

      by mgkimsal2 (200677) on Friday July 14, 2006 @10:15PM (#15723026) Homepage
      The flip side of contractors not knowing anything about a business is companies with internal software developers who don't know how to develop. I've been on both sides of the fence, and there's no simple answer to the issue of corporate software development. I can tell you that I've worked in some places where the existing software was put together so poorly that it was little more than a deck of cards waiting to fall. "But it addresses the business needs!" is a valid point, to be sure, but when small enhancement requests which should take a day start taking >1 week solely because the original software was put together so poorly, you've got bigger problems than whether someone understands the unique business needs or not. The first core business need is that the software needs to be available and known to be functioning properly - you need to have confidence in it. Without skilled developers with a track record of proven success, that trust is harder to come by.

      The best middle ground is to have hybrid people - people who have thought and can think from both sides of the aisle, so to speak. When contractors are brought in, if there's no one who can explain the business requirements at *any* level (and I've been in some places like that over the years), it's not the outside contractor's fault.
    • Ideally, the company wouldn't just bring in "generic" contractors, but would select firms (or groups within large contract houses) that specialize in that company's specific industry & market. Sure there's some learning curve to the specifics of that company, but that experience not only helps narrow the gap, but it brings insights of what others in the industry do and different points of view that a company insider may not have.
  • by hazah (807503) on Friday July 14, 2006 @10:05PM (#15723002)
    Who will be solving the technical problems?
    • The businessmen with a technical background, thats who.
      • by Umbral Blot (737704) on Friday July 14, 2006 @10:12PM (#15723016) Homepage
        That's like assuming that business men with a mathematical background will prove that P = NP. It's not going to happen, because some problems are so hard that it requires a full time devotion to the subject in order to simply to understand them, and an exceptionally bright mind to make progress. Technical work is like this, it requires a full time devotion to stay on top of technology and to master it. Solutions created by people who think of themselves primarily as business men will be atrociously bad (even worse than normal), and businesses that rely on such people will quickly go under.
        • But remember, when they say "business knowledge" what they really mean is domain knowledge. This can be anything, for instance the inner workings of a particular sector like finances, government, aerospace, health, etc. So a developer can branch his or her knowledge out to this and gain an advantage. It's better to have more tools at your disposal, domain knowledge is just another tool.
        • by radtea (464814) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @12:06AM (#15723357)
          Technical work is like this, it requires a full time devotion to stay on top of technology and to master it. Solutions created by people who think of themselves primarily as business men will be atrociously bad (even worse than normal), and businesses that rely on such people will quickly go under.

          You are vastly over-rating the time and effort involved in running a business. If you are technically good, and have invested in acquiring a basic set of business skills, then running a business is no big deal if you're talking about a single person consultancy.

          The things you need:

          1) Basic accounting (and I mean VERY basic--my accountant does all the hard stuff. And besides, most of advanced accounting is learning ways to lie with numbers while still remaining a respected if not respectable member of the community. The least honest developer I know once voiced a desire to become an accountant, and I can well understand why.)

          2) Basic business law, especially contract law (lawyers are a lot more expensive than accountants, but the cost of failure is also higher. Tread carefully.)

          3) Presentation skills. Stay away from all the bullshit seminar stuff. Join your local community theatre group.

          4) Reputation. Every business contact you have, ever professional contact, is marketing. Every arm's length interaction you have is marketing for your future business. Businesses don't start in a vacuum and they are essentially based on relationships of trust based on reputation. Build yours carefully and it will be your greatest asset when you strike out on your own.

          It just isn't that hard to be in business for yourself. There is a certain level of complexity you have to deal with, and a lot of discipline required to deal with it (I update my books religiously ever Friday morning, for example--keeping on top of the paperwork is vital.) But 90% of my time is spent on purely technical work. I just get to keep 100% of the profit from that, instead of paying most of it to support an ignorant manager with a big ego.

          It took me five years to move from academia to being in busines for myself. Every career move I made within that time was aimed at getting me closer to the goal. I took jobs so I could learn particular business skills or get a closer look at how a small business is run. Anyone with a brain can do this, and acquire sufficient business skills to run their own show. It just isn't that hard.
    • Everyone else! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by porkThreeWays (895269)
      I've never understood why business people, management, basically any non-technical position is considered the top part of the totem pole. Put 4 engineers together and they are going to make something really interesting that just may better this planet. Put 4 businessmen together and they'll probably come up with a new cover sheet for a 3 letter report.
    • I agree - the question is not whether the future will need more people with business skills to do technical work. The question is - once this mindset is established how will anything get done?

      "the most effective workforce will be outward-focused, business-driven competency centers"

      People have been spouting that sort of gibberish for a long time - until now big companies have managed to survive despite that, however if it becomes even more widespread than now, they are going to take those companies down

  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Friday July 14, 2006 @10:07PM (#15723003)
    Look at the job boards. Employers are looking for the right mixture of product specialized knowledge. Usually that want a combination of about six different products, and it's different for every position: one may want cisco, solaris, citrix, windows, oracle, veritas. The next may want: windows, redhat, ms-sql server, perl, php, html, css. And so on.

    I always get the idea that the "authorities" who right these articles don't have a clue about the real world.
    • No kidding. Just click on my sig for some horrible examples. And they keep getting worse.
    • They write it that way so they can pschologically hammer you down in salary if you don't have all the skills. And they don't want you to have all the skills listed.
    • I always get the idea that the "authorities" who right these articles don't have a clue about the real world.

      And I have the feeling that you don't know how most businesses work: They tend to use more than one technology and of course their IDEAL candidate possess all the technology knowledge, heck, that's whey they want to hire you.

      It doesn't matter at the end of the day that you don't, because the guy who is interviewing you hopefully realizes that very few people have ALL the skills.

  • So... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Duhavid (677874) on Friday July 14, 2006 @10:07PM (#15723006)
    You mean that business will stop treating IT
    like janitorial staff? Start acting on the ideas
    that IT brings to the table?
    • No, it doesn't work like that.

      The business requires the support of IT to push their *business objectives*. Its nothing to do with technology.

      So many IT people fail to see that the reason their is an IT department is to support the needs of the business.

      IT is just a vehicle to delivering faster, and more effective business drivers.
      • Hopeless (Score:2, Funny)

        by rowama (907743)
        I'm hopeless and should quit IT. When I read your last sentence ...

        IT is just a vehicle to delivering faster, and more effective business drivers.

        I visualized IT as a minivan delivering the likes of Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Little E, etc. to their retirement assignments: Driving business executives around.

        It's bedtime kiddies.
      • Re:So... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Duhavid (677874)
        You are exactly right, except I would say that
        it is business that fails to see that the reason
        for the IT department is to support the needs
        of the business. My admittedly anecdotal view
        is that most "business" types just expect IT
        to keep the machines running, and dont come to
        IT and say "we want to do 'X'" or "can we do
        'Y' more efficiently", or "what can we do next
        to improve how IT can support the business".
        In fact, advice from IT seems to be rejected
        with a "it will cost too much".
      • What about business process reengineering?

        It sounds to me alot of IT folks dont know how to sell themselves. It shows if your organization thinks it only supports. I have seen posts here where IT reports to HR rather than implement plans like MRP and ERP systems that can really make a difference to cut costs and bring information to employees.

        A good intranet site linked to a database with suppliers or a customized accounting app is alot more value than Excel and some as/400 terminal app for employees to sea
    • Bwahahahahahahahaha

      *gasp*

      *wheeze*

      ahahahahahahaha

      *choke*

      Thanks, I needed a laugh!
  • BS Bingo Anyone? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rowama (907743) on Friday July 14, 2006 @10:08PM (#15723007)
    Sorry, but I bingo'd before page 3 and had to stop reading.

    Bottom line is diversify your portfolio of skills. Pick one or more of the math, engineering, financial, public speaking, etc. skills and you will have a better chance in the future.
    • Bottom line is diversify your portfolio of skills

      I'd say the bottom line is to learn to speak and act like a suit even when keeping the brainpower of the techie. Suits respect suits, and there is a coded language they use, much like dogs sniffing each other's behinds. Pick up a popular business book some day--the vacuity actually sucks air from the room. But these people are inexplicably good at making money, so go figure. But they do not respect a t-shirted morlock telling them that their latest e

  • by amightywind (691887) on Friday July 14, 2006 @10:13PM (#15723021) Journal
    IT and business unit employees will work more closely together -- and in some cases, interchangeably.

    This runs completely counter to the outsourcing and cost focus of todays businesses. Indeed even people hired "permanantly" are usually seen as expendable at the end of major projects. These are the ones with the most domain knowledge. Business types tend to be "visionaries" and whip crackers. Rarely do the excel at requirements or planning. I have worked for major corporations since 1990 and I see the gulf between management and software professionals growing widerthan ever with the increasing sophistication of tools and the increasing complexity of projects. Engineering culture has all but disappeared.

    • I have worked for major corporations since 1990 and I see the gulf between management and software professionals growing widerthan ever with the increasing sophistication of tools and the increasing complexity of projects. Engineering culture has all but disappeared.

      This is where a good Architect (if you like or hate that designation) comes into play. S/He would be the person who bridges that divide. A "jack of all trades". In essence you have to know the bullshit from the real stuff and understand what i

  • by krell (896769) on Friday July 14, 2006 @10:18PM (#15723035) Journal
    Can't get the idea of Roy Scheider using an Apple //GS (the true technology of the future!) out of my head, along with the damn spinning sand-covered pacman spaceship. Arthur C. Clarke surely would have been rolling in his grave over THAT movie if the damn old coot had died long ago like the other scifi grand masters.
    • Sorry - it was an Apple IIc. I worked on those and probably have a poster with Roy sitting on the beach doing AppleWorks or something. :-)

      Okay - now back to our regularly scheduled rant...
  • How many? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 14, 2006 @10:22PM (#15723045)
    Geez - these IT career planning stories are getting tiresome.

    You want to make money? Quit beating around the bush and
    just go to law school!
    • Amusingly enough, I finished my law degree and went into IT... and I'm still not rich. You may be onto something! On the other hand, "do what you love" has definite merits.
  • by 0racle (667029) on Friday July 14, 2006 @10:25PM (#15723058)
    ... where all the actual work is done by immigrants or off-shored because no one local knows how to do it anymore.
    • by TrippTDF (513419)
      Hear Hear!

      I'm the IT manager for a small advertising company. I was hired as the company was just starting, and built a small network of Macs and PCs. As I was being hired, we also got an outsourced IT company. I'm a person that tends to do things himself, and then ask for help only after I have given it my best shot... otherwise, how the fuck do I learn anything?

      However, we are a company of managers, and I find that I get praised for doing a good job when I call the outsourced company to deal with an is
  • by TrappedByMyself (861094) on Friday July 14, 2006 @10:27PM (#15723063)
    What the hell does that mean?

    I think we need to start with: "Learn how to communicate"
  • Offshore (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jours (663228) on Friday July 14, 2006 @10:28PM (#15723066)
    Anyone who's worked with offshore resources knows this is exaclty true. A couple of years ago I was contracted at a large 401k company when they brought in massive amounts of Indian labor. They were bright, spoke English well, and did passable work...but they didn't know a thing about retirement accounts or any other American financial practices. I was far, far more valuable working with them as a business analyst then I was as a coder. Yeah, those of us Americans who are left in IT in 2010 are going to have to know the businesses very well.
  • by tyrr (306852) on Friday July 14, 2006 @10:37PM (#15723092)
    There was a time when IT was a part of R&D and it's gone. A natural cycle of every technology kicks in. During emerging stages a technology is a research. After a technology comes out of the woodwork and mass-adoption starts, a technology becomes a production.
    There is no magic in computer development any more. Adoption and demand are so high, people literally code for food. Take a look at your ten year old coding his website and think how many people could do that fifteen years ago.
    The fact that there are so many companies nowadays in 3rd world counties (no offence meant) who act as major players in outsourcing means we are far beyond research and development stage in IT.
    We did not need business people to manage IT when it was R&D simply because any R&D requires tremendous dedication and you can't do both research and business.
    A production can and has to be managed. Business skills mean more than research capabilities in production. Why approach the problem with your mind if you can approach it with your pocket book and do not pay an arm and a lag?
    I'm not worried a single bit about IT researchers. They are very bright, hard working and will be able to adapt. One year in an MBA programs is all they need.
  • by Servo (9177) <dstringf@@@gmail...com> on Friday July 14, 2006 @10:38PM (#15723095) Journal
    The person writing the article is clearly seeing this from a managerial point of view, and not as someone who actually understands the technical side of IT. What I read between the lines was that the expectation is that FTE's will be more business and vendor/project management oriented while the pure IT skills will be contractors or PS engagements with vendors.

    As someone who's seen this first hand, I don't think the author has hit the mark at all. Instead of shifting high level responsibility on day to day IT folk, they would be better to invest in key architects and engineers who can bring all of the existing reponsibilities together. These positions require leadership and long term planning/project management. These types of folks will replace the VP of IT types that write these articles, not the specialized IT skillsets that we have today.
    • years ago. The managers were saying the same things then. They say it because they don't understand the complexities of what we do, and can't (otherwise they would be in IT). We can understand them, and most of us ignore these ignoramouses, who mouth off with this stuff. Business analysts work with the business, technical types do technical, cause it is a full time career just to understand all the technical stuff.
    • These types of folks will replace the VP of IT types that write these articles, not the specialized IT skillsets that we have today.

      Which is why articles like this keep getting written and read, of course. Most of management's time is spent justifying its own existence.
  • From TFA:

    The most sought-after corporate IT workers in 2010 may be those with no deep-seated technical skills at all. The nuts-and-bolts programming and easy-to-document support jobs will have all gone to third-party providers in the U.S. or abroad. Instead, IT departments will be populated with "versatilists" -- those with a technology background who also know the business sector inside and out, can architect and carry out IT plans that will add business value, and can cultivate relationships both inside a

    • There are job titles for the jack-of-all-trades type...Professional Services, Consultant, System Integrator, and informal titles such as guru, subject matter expert, generalist, visionary. These people tend to know much about many things, and know how to research what they don't know. They aren't afraid to say they don't know something, and to roll up their sleeves and get dirty reconfiguring the guts of machinery.

      It's been my experience that there is a need for someone like that, and they get paid enough
  • to go with the pointy haired boss?
  • TRANSLATION (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    TRANSLATION TO IT WORKERS:

    I can't UNDERSTAND our H1B slaves.

    I need a middleman who'll be willing to work for entry-level IT wages, but do essentially all my management work for me, keeping my servants on task and getting the job done, meanwhile able to speak to me in plain MidWestern English and occasionally pick up my dry-cleaning.

    That will be all.
  • by gweihir (88907) on Friday July 14, 2006 @10:55PM (#15723143)
    ...bullshit I keep hearing for over a decade now. Ths most sought after people will still be those that understand what they are doing. I am really fed up with management types tryinf to convince the world, that IT people are actually sort-of failed managers. The real reason is that the managers have an inferiority comples, since they do know that they can never, ever, under any circumstances replace an IT specialist. Too much air, greed and selfishness in their heads. On the other hand many managers are so bad at their job, that most IT people would do at least as well.

  • explosion in job market for certain hardcore tech skills: storage/SAN; disaster recovery including replication, failover clustering, archival and backup; security including networking and system hardening and vpn/remote access; consolidation and virtualization with vmware and now I'm getting calls for xen and other Linux vm; network engineering.
    • It's the old chicken-and-egg problem. No body will hire you for those "hot" technology unless you already have years of experience with them.
      • actually, most of these technologies haven't been around for years and years. The motivated geek can incorporate many of these things into a project with existing servers and networking hardware for $0.00 extra expense. Or for starters mess with them at home. Build an iSCSI SAN, or make an oracle RAC cluster on a firewire device or supported NAS, learn how to build your own router and vpn, make a Xen virtual machine, sign up for a VMWare ESX evaluation, etc. You'd be surprise what you can give yourse
  • Look whose talking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Friday July 14, 2006 @11:16PM (#15723192)
    Bentley is a business school. This is basically them saying, "Wahhhh... we wish IT people know our line of business... wahhhhh...."

    Duh, or COURSE they wish IT people knew their line of business. So why don't we start looking at the courses they'd like CS majors to NOT take in order to make time for the business courses. Databases? Obvious nope. Programming languages or operating systems? Not a great idea if you want them to pick up new platforms / languages quickly. Algorithms? Don't hire that person to a project where you need advanced warning that something won't scale well. Computer graphics? OK, maybe that one is rarely necessary, but that's just one course.

    My point is whether or not the author knows it, they're asking to eat their cake and (still) have it too. They want someone to study the line of business more, but ignore the dumbing-down effect that has on their IT skills. Taken to that extreme, you may as well just offer a few extra "IT" courses within the business department, and let those people be your company's IT staff. Which in most cases is moronic for well-known reasons.
    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Friday July 14, 2006 @11:38PM (#15723257)
      The first line of the first FA:
      The most sought-after corporate IT workers in 2010 may be those with no deep-seated technical skills at all.

      I don't know about you, but that's a huge warning to me.
      Instead, IT departments will be populated with "versatilists" -- those with a technology background who also know the business sector inside and out, can architect and carry out IT plans that will add business value, and can cultivate relationships both inside and outside the company.

      So, the "most sought-after" IT worker will be one who can ... "cultivate relationships" with "outside" people who do have the "deep-seated technical skills".

      Why? Because ...
      The nuts-and-bolts programming and easy-to-document support jobs will have all gone to third-party providers in the U.S. or abroad.

      Translation:
      2010 management will demand IT staff who can understand the business and technology sufficiently to manage the out-sourced projects.

      Said out-sourced projects will be the actual writing of the software that supports the company and the end-user support of the remaining company employees who use the software that was written by other people outside the company.

      Welcome to the "Titanic" business model.

      I'm sure you can all imagine the fun that that will be. With the out-sourced support staff blaming the out-sourced programmers and the out-sourced programmers blaming the support staff ... while your users struggle to just get their work done.
  • I've only worked in corporate America for 3 years now, but I see a couple trends: 1. There are 3 basic types of IT: - Production Support - the folks who run the systems from a day to day standpoint - Admins - the folks who keep the systems running on a slightly longer time frame than day to day - Developers - ie programmers who write the code to do the above two functions Prod support and admin functions can be outsourced relatively easily. Dev functions often require a good deal of business knowledge.
  • by moochfish (822730) on Friday July 14, 2006 @11:30PM (#15723227)
    Wait, so where do these IT people get all these conglamoration of skills? Seems like you can't do it without several years of working history. If anything, that tells me the industry will start to heavily focus on internal training to ensure new and old IT staff can fill this new gap.

    You aren't born with business/writing/accounting know-how, nor with IT knowledge. People already spend a lifetime trying to be an expert in their respective fields. You can't be an expert in every field, especially those that require distinctly different skills.
    • What you're speaking of is a huge problem - IT knowledge can be learned through school, training, etc., but industry knowledge generally only comes through experience working on cross-functional projects that expose you to the whole organization. Unfortunately for most techies, good project management means bringing the right resources to bear on the right tasks at the right time, which argues against bringing tech staff into the requirements gathering activity (which is often where the rocks get lifted an
      • Unfortunately for most techies, good project management means bringing the right resources to bear on the right tasks at the right time, which argues against bringing tech staff into the requirements gathering activity (which is often where the rocks get lifted and you see just how ugly the business really is).

        I love how this works - managers refuse to tell you how things work (so I hear), then complain that you don't know the business side. Odd thing is, most every place I've been has been more than hap

  • Not surprising... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Refried Beans (70083) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @12:01AM (#15723340) Homepage
    What else did you expect to hear out of a business school?
  • Make sh*t work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrNougat (927651) <ckratsch@g m a i l.com> on Saturday July 15, 2006 @12:10AM (#15723366)
    The IT people who are always going to be in demand are those who make sh*t work - whether those are managers pulling projects together under time/budget, or coders/networking/systems people who fix broken stuff and build the right new environments.

    Yes, you'd damn well better have the needs of the business in mind in any position. But if Company A decides they're going to have manager types who don't have IT skills doing skilled IT work, they're going to find out real quick that sh*t don't work and there's no one around who can fix it.
  • by tyrione (134248) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @12:26AM (#15723437) Homepage
    We want to hire one person not only to do the tech skills of four but we now want you to be our point of sale and make it all happen. We'll pay you for the talents of 1.5 employees while we keep costs down by 3.5 employees.
  • I once worked for a 'business' manager and spent two month collating accounts data into a spreadsheet. He couldn't understand the concept of backups and stored the one copy of the file in the C:\progra~1\excell directory and was in the habit of deleting the entire directory once a week.

    "they will use outside vendors to gain those skills"

    What he means is when they want to appear 'managerial' they hire in a systems analyst to tell them what their own staff already know. You get the work done in spite o
  • Engineering skills in the US are already undervalued.
    We are just heading to a point where no-on at all in the US will actually DO anything. Everyone will just be middle-men managing everyone else. It's like one of those pyramid schemes.
    If someone somewhere in the business pyramid doesn't actually produce some tangible product (i.e. made by engineers) then you've got no basis on which to exist.

  • Before university, I worked with a comp sci university grad, and was so disappointed in how little he could apply his skills to the business at hand. It's what led me to take a B. Comm. in University. I followed it up with an M. Sc., which was a good mix. The computer technology, I always found I could easily learn; the business skills were better learned in the University environment. I never regretted that approach. (Led to me being able to found one business that employed 100 people for a few years,
  • Has IT ever been the place where hard-core development goes on? In high-tech companies, IT generally doesn't directly participate in product development.

Prototype designs always work. -- Don Vonada

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