What is the future of IT careers
Our expert's opinion
"Where were you 5 years ago? Your life has probably changed a lot since then. Now, picture yourself in 5 years. Lots of things will have changed too. It is also the case for the future of IT careers. According to Joy Beland, computer threats will lead to new security positions, while working remotely will put Project Managers upfront in order to ensure that remote tasks are done correctly.
An increase in specialized IT positions as well as automation will also appear to facilitate easy workload. The future of IT is in perpetual movement and progresses with its generations, which is why, according to Sabharwal, millennials and their new way of thinking will apply the main changes to future IT careers.
How will it be like in 5 years? Will millennials really be the future leaders in the next years? Which positions do you think will be on the forefront?"
- Nadia Veltens, Associate Consultant
Emerging technologies and shifting workplace demands are reshaping the IT career horizon. Here are the changes experts see unfolding for IT roles and how IT work gets done.
If you sketched out how IT roles will change in the coming years, you’d likely envision tech roles maturing around emerging and high-value technologies, such as AI, data science, and the cloud, as well as a continuing focus on security across industries and business divisions.
These topics frequently came up in our discussions with tech leaders about the near future of IT roles. But so too did surprising insights — including potential new positions that don’t exist today.
New security roles
Evolving security threats will lead to new roles, suggests Joy Beland, senior director of cybersecurity business development at Continuum, with an emphasis on organizational culture rather than technology alone.
“The internal culture of businesses needs to adopt a new perspective around privacy and security, the adoption of tools and cyber solutions is completely dependent upon this. I think this will lead to a new title: chief cybersecurity culture officer.
Those who focus on the human element for cybersecurity implementation are going to become more sought after as the integration between old-school HR policy, corporate culture, and information security merge into one leadership role.”
Senior Director of Cybersecurity, Continuum
Beland can also see CIO and CISO roles merging at smaller companies, “as the need for integrating oversight of technology with privacy and security continues to align, and budgets within smaller companies struggle to accommodate both roles.”
Planning for distributed teams
Remote work, like the gig economy, is only expected to increase, driving the need for new tools and approaches to meet deadlines and goals.
“As almost half of U.S. employees already work remotely in some form, technology will enable a greater number to do so over the next five years, and for businesses to truly reap the benefits of such a workforce,
project managers will be needed to ensure the distribution of work is met.”
Senior VP of Solutions and Technology at Avaya
McGugan also sees the need for IT specialists who can implement new collaborative solutions to facilitate remote work and ensure remote workers can easily contribute to projects. “These specialists will be needed to choose the right technology vendors, and make sure the systems operate well,” he says.
Specialized guns for hire
Andres Rodriguez, CTO of Nasuni and former CTO of The New York Times, says there’s a growing need for contracted data scientists with specialized experience that should only increase.
“We see relatively small boutique firms that specialize in specific industries such as pharmaceuticals, transportation, logistics, etc.,” Rodriguez says. “The benefit to their clients is that there’s typically a great deal of overlap when it comes to the useful, achievable goals in any given sector. These firms can help cross-pollinate that utility and reduce the risk of ending up in an analytics dead end.”
Domain experts in demand
While most industries are racing to find was to incorporate AI, Ben Lorica, chief data scientist at O’Reilly, says those with industry-specific knowledge will be in demand in the near future.
“Domain experts are still critical,” Lorica says. “AI depends on data and a certain amount of domain knowledge to assemble high-quality data.”
Without domain expertise on board, companies will continue to struggle finding good use cases for some AI technologies, he adds.
“Acquire domain and subject matter expertise, as current generation AI technologies still need to be tuned for specific applications and settings. It’s important to train and align different parts of your organization: ML and AI involve end-to-end pipelines, so development, testing and integration will cut across roles and units."
Chief data scientist, O'Reilly
New ways to work
Companies who fail to recognize that a new workforce wants new ways to collaborate at work, will lose out to their competition, argues Neerja Sabharwal, head of cloud and big data at Xavient Information Systems.
“Already, we’re seeing the effects of this generation emerge,” Sabharwal says, “with younger employees wanting opportunities to share their opinions and influence decision-making, work more collaboratively across the organization, and participate in customized learning and development plans in order to advance their careers.”
“Millennials and their preferences for the ways they want to work will be one of the biggest factors in determining what workplaces and careers will look like in the next 5 to 10 years.”
Head of cloud and big data, Xavient Information Systems