Walk the walk and keep the right perspective: your value, not just your technical expertise, is your power.

IT Trends. IT Career and Certification Opportunities.

What are the IT trends that will dictate activity in this year? Forecasting or analysis of IT trends helps to identify career opportunities and challenges. Sensible and realistic application of forecasting using such IT trends helps to improve the quality of our career growth decisions, as we aim for better long-term career options.

One thing is certain - IT spending and growth is on the upside. IT trends indicate that the global demand for IT driven products and services is growing daily. Innovation is key to enabling greater IT efficiency and better response to business demands. And information technology is still providing career opportunities in virtually all sectors. The need for skilled IT professionals is solid and rising now and in the foreseeable future due to the continuing demand for innovation and entry of new emerging technologies.

But don't equate increased IT spending to increased demand in all areas of IT. Neither is IT an all comers affair. Some areas will be hot, some will not. And even in areas of high growth you will have to make the effort to get opportunity. The IT trends analysis will indicate areas of growth and strong opportunity. Looking ahead it should help you decide what knowledge and which certification (s) to consider as part of your career strategy. 

Examine certification, career prospects and other opportunities Ė what you want to learn, how you can grow, how you can contribute - in these high growth areas.


IT Trends: IT Security

Once again, IT security is going to be an area of high activity and growth. IT security is an obvious priority in an environment infested by spam, bugs, bots, browser holes, exploits, spyware, adware, denial of service (DoS) attacks, viruses and phishing. IT security breaches are serious business problems that can often result in significant financial loss and collateral damage.

Organizations need to be proactive in protecting their business and IT infrastructure. And companies are learning that investing in IT security skills and knowledge is one of the most effective ways of keeping enemies at bay. This translates to increase opportunity and growth for those who can improve IT security, implement security tools, resolve security problems and identify security breaches. In fact in realization of the soaring demand, 2005 has been tagged by some as the year of the security professional.

Reputable and solid IT security certifications are: CompTIA's Security+ (vendor-neutral, entry-level), MCSE: Security, MCSA: Security (Microsoft plus Security), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) (vendor-neutral IT security management), Certified Information System Auditor (CISA) (vendor-neutral IT Security auditing) and Cisco Certified Security Professional (CCSP) (Cisco plus security).

IT Trends: Linux

Linux is another area that is continuing to record impressive growth. According to various research reports and forecasts, Linux growth is going to be massive over the next few years.

The reason why major manufacturers including IBM, Novell and HP are all pushing the Linux market is because they realize Linux makes good business sense. It is now a major player in the operating system market due to its comparatively lower total cost of ownership, maintenance, functionality, increased support, stability, security and efficient hardware utilization.

Although Linux still has a long way to go in the desktop arena, its impact in the server field is generating massive demand for competent Linux professionals. Already this is reflected in the growing interest in Linux training and certification.

Linux certification titles to consider include: Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) (Advanced level) "The RHCE is the open source community's MCSE.", Novell Certified Linux Professional (Novell CLP), Certified Linux Engineer (CLE), Linux Professional Institute (LPI) certifications. (vendor-neutral) and CompTIA's Linux+ (vendor-neutral, entry-level).

IT Trends: Open Source

Linux is obviously the big kid on the block in the open source world, but other open source technologies are establishing themselves. This further fuels demand for qualified IT professionals with such skills. Already MySQL is making an impressive impact in the database world. Though Oracle's DBA and Microsoft's MCDBA are still leaders in the database certifications, MySQL Core Certification is establishing itself as a valued credential.


IT Trends: Software Development

Software development drives the IT industry through the introduction of new applications and low cost value-driven innovations.  Of particular interest will be the skill areas of VB, C++ and Java. Developers with experience in embedded software development will also continue to be in demand. Because of Microsoft's dominance of the desktop, Microsoft programming expertise can't be ignored. However, Java's portability is intimidating. Java is already a key player in providing web services and web-based programs and it is also the leading programming language for wireless and mobile devices.

Opportunities exist not only in coding, design and testing but also in the management of software projects.

Though the software development community tends to place less emphasis on certification compared to other areas like Networking and Security, certification can make a difference if applied sensibly. Solid and accepted certifications to consider are: Microsoft Certified Application Developer (MCAD) and Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD) and the Sun Certified Java Programmer (SCJP).

IT Trends: Outsourcing

IT trends indicate that outsourcing will still be actively pursued as a business strategy. More organizations believe it will help lower cost and give competitive advantage. Opportunities from outsourcing will depend on location and nature of work being outsourced. Most of the outsourcing firms are based in USA, Australia and Europe while most of the outsourced workforce is in India, China and Russia. However, outsourcing opportunities may exist for African countries that can create the enabling environment.

Outsourcing is driven not just by cost but results. Expect high demand for project management skills. and business process consulting skills, as organizations need to mitigate outsourcing risks, while ensuring that outsourcing actually delivers by improving business performance.

Project management training and certification such as CompTIA's Project+ and the Project Management Institute's (PMI's) Project Management Professional (PMP) should be considered.

IT Trends: Wireless Networking

Wireless Networking is a major growth area that is generating new and expanding IT products and services. Mobile and wireless computing is not just a fad but is about business sense and opportunity. By removing the limitations of wires or cables, computing and networking creates new infrastructure to meet social and business needs.

Demand is high for IT professionals with wireless networking skills. Career opportunities exist for professionals to get involved in designing, deploying and supporting wireless network infrastructure. Important training and certification programs are Planet3ís Wireless Certified Wireless Network Professional (CWNP) and Cisco Wireless LAN certifications.

IT Trends: Networking, IP Telephony

IT Trends and forecasting must recognize increased interest and investment in the convergence of the information technology and communications industries. Areas to watch for growth include: Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) networking, Cisco networking, Microsoft networking and other convergence technologies. Opportunities exist for those who design, install, configure, manage, and support these networks.

With the installed base and continuing global dominance of Cisco and Microsoft demand is bound to be steady for skilled and experienced network professionals in these areas. Interest in VOIP is massive and growing. Individuals with IP telephony skills are needed to demonstrate the cost and other benefits. Certifications to consider include Cisco CCNA/CCNP/CCIE, Microsoft MCSA/MCSE and Cisco's IP Telephony certifications.

IT Trends: Newcomers

Although getting work experience is still a major hurdle for newcomers, entry-level certifications such as CompTIAís A+, Microsoftís MCP and Cisco's CCNA are the best bets. A+, which focuses on the fundamentals of computing hardware and software, is usually the most effective to get into the IT field.


IT Trends: Value and Opportunity

Itís impossible to cover all possible growth areas in an industry as wide as IT, but I hope the mentioned IT trends give you the right sense of direction as you move your career ahead. It certainly doesnít hurt to think from time to time about how IT trends can impact your career. However, and this is a big however, itís not only about high growth areas, but itís all about your ability to make sensible and realistic career choices.

Donít worship growth areas and please avoid the ďmeal ticketĒ mind-set. Walk the walk and keep the right perspective: your value, not just your technical expertise, is your power. Enhancing your value keeps you ahead of the crowd. Shun distractions and keep that positive upbeat outlook. Empower yourself, keep focus and you will exceed expectations. 

Opportunity is down the hall waiting for you.

All the best in your IT Career,

Jide Awe

Jide Awe is the Founder of Jidaw.com (http://www.jidaw.com) 

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What Do you Have to Say? Post Your Comments about this article Here 

COMMENTS for "IT Trends. IT Career and Certification Opportunities.":

Dele from Lagos says:


True! Too true! IT security will always be hot. 


Dave from Kaduna says:

Solid stuff.  But I need more info on how to get into the outsourcing stuff! 




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