Six Reasons IT is Still a Great Career Path

SpeedEvery once in a while you’ll come across a doom-and-gloom article along the lines of “Ten Reasons for Quitting IT.” Writer and Linux expert Jack Wallen must have been in a particularly bad mood when he penned this piece for TechRepublic back in February. Weirdly, when he asked commenters to chime in on what kinds of careers they’d rather have, a long conversation about family farming took place. Is IT so bad that your average techie would be happier cleaning chicken coops?

Of course not. Perhaps it’s time for an optimistic mid-year reminder of why information technology is the place to be today, and why it will continue to be the place to be in the years and decades to come.

IT Is Interesting

First of all, technology is an ever-changing puzzle that never fails to keep its practitioners engaged. The negative spin is that IT changes too fast and is too hard and too confusing to ever master completely. So what? You don’t have to. All you have to do is embrace your specialty and hang on tight as it pulls you into the future. Yes, you need to keep learning along the way, but isn’t that what the human mind is designed for? Coal miners don’t learn something new every day, but you do.

IT Leads the Way

Journalists often talk about the fun of having a “front row seat to history.” IT has that, too, in a way. Technologists are the people who lead their organizations into the future. They did it 30 years ago by putting PCs on desks. They did it 20 years ago when they started hooking up those PCs to the Internet. They did it 10 years ago when they began to deploy sophisticated network-based apps, the kinds of things that are still in their infancy today. Your colleagues depend on you to show them what the future will bring. It’s fun to the be the first one to know, isn’t it?

IT Is Everywhere

It’s easy to forget that IT isn’t just about server rooms in the basements of big city skyscrapers, designed solely to process petabytes of boring data for Fortune 500 spreadsheets. Technology is everywhere: in real estate offices and college libraries and stadiums and at turtle sanctuaries on Caribbean islands. Your skills can be of use in any kind of organization anywhere. Companies need to become more efficient and to connect. That’s what IT delivers.

IT Makes Money

Over the past few years we’ve all read articles about how IT has earned its place at the boardroom table and how from the CIO down, technology is regarded as a central part of the business process, not just an infrastructural enabler. Techies don’t make technology cases anymore. They make business cases, and that makes them invaluable to the organization.

IT Will Grow

Although we’re still in a downturn, the number of IT jobs in the U.S. has reached its pre-recession level of 4 million, and is certain to keep rising as survey after survey tells us that the “jobs of the future” will have technological components, and that the nation’s leading growth industries — biotech, healthcare, energy — require lots of technology jobs. Politicians on both sides of the aisle talk about this all the time. You’re sure to hear about retraining for technology jobs in lots of 2012 stump speeches.

IT Will Save the World

One of the main reasons I’ve always enjoyed technology is that it makes me — and the world — much more efficient. Yes, it uses up a whole lot of energy, but people are working on that (maybe you should be too). Stop and look around for a minute, and you’ll see that the biggest problems the world faces — ecological, economic, social — can all be addressed by cleverly deployed technological solutions. Some of them haven’t been invented yet, but they will be, perhaps by someone like you. Ten years ago we couldn’t have imagined that Twitter and smartphones would help foment revolutions or that websites would help us make microloans to Cambodian farmers, but today they do. And tomorrow…

Comments

  1. BY IT-TO-LAW says:

    Dear Don,

    You forgot one….IT is dead.

  2. BY twins.fan says:

    There are fewer IT jobs in the US than the past, and the numbers of IT jobs are dropping every day. Many US STEM workers love IT work, but they cannot find a job.

    Each year that passes, renders more US STEM workers unemployed, more graduating college kids with their dreams unfulfilled, more cheap entry level workers immigrating into the US from the third world, and more corporate executives becoming wealthier by engaging in the practice of labor arbitrage.

    US STEM workers created this technology. They worked long hard nights building the technology on which Google was created. Now the corporate leaders of Google and the rest of corporate America is engaged in smearing US STEM workers, claiming that those workers who created the foundation of the technology, are now not qualified to work for Google.

    US college kids believed in the American dream. They believed that if they studied hard in school, if they studied the difficult curricula, if they borrowed tons of money against future earnings that will never occur, if they invested their formative years on a bogus pipe dream, are now having their dreams shattered, their formative years wasted, and carrying a debt that they will never be able to pay back.

    Then we have our corporate leaders making cynical, self serving arguments defaming our educational institutions in order to justify their corporate greed of engaging in labor arbitrage that renders citizens of the US unemployed while transferring millions of jobs of US workers to third world workers by offshoring and engaging in importation of cheap entry level workers by way of these fraudulent work visas.

    • BY J.M.Rothfuss says:

      Well said. Thank you for being concise and accurate. Too bad the system, as we knew it, has been corrupted. Hopefully, a smarter more agile group of college graduates will learn from our failures and develop a better system.

  3. BY Leaveit2beav says:

    IT people are treated like dogs, occasionally management will throw a bone but mainly fire people who don’t meet their needs

  4. BY Geetha says:

    Nice article. Without technology, the world will still be dying from typhoid and small pox, going around the world in wooden ships, and driving around town in a buggy which takes a 1/2 hour just to get to the doctor half a mile away. Oh, remember surgery without anesthesia! In today’s world we have robots doing sophisticated surgery which is minimally invasive. All this is possible thanks to technology and to the human brain behind the technological innovation. Want to have a chicken coop? Sure, we can and we can also have a robot cleaning the dirty chicken coop. I have always observed that people who decry the technological advances are the first ones to use it when it gets to the market. It makes me want to smile every time.

    • BY trothaar says:

      Who is decrying “technological advances”? The people being referenced in the article are not anti-technology; they are simply pointing out that IT is not a good career choice.

  5. BY JOHN BESSLER says:

    IT sucks! Finance is a much better career choice!

  6. BY Keith says:

    Why listen to someone who’s field depend on Linux. Linux might be stale but IT isn’t. Open source had it’s day but is mostly used by companies trying to save too much money. You have to spend money to make money.

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