Career Watch

Q&A: Bobby Cameron

The Forrester Research analyst talks about the future of IT careers.

At Forresters IT Forum in May, you said CEOs are going to know more than ever about technology but IT staffers will know less, with as few as 20% of them having IT skills within the next five years. How do you run an IT department with a staff of nontechies? This is all about outsourcing either directly through contracts between IT and a provider or indirectly through BPO [business process outsourcing] and [software as a service]. The techies that IT will need to keep are architects and DBAs. The balance are project managers, business analysts, IT-business relationship managers and vendor managers. I suspect the average of IT staffers with deep IT skills will hover in the 30% to 40% range, because some firms will want to own as much of the technology skill set as they can. And while IT shops will get smaller, the total number of people engaged in technology development, deployment and operations will grow. Technology use in the world of business technology will explode, with many of the roles formerly carried out by IT done by end users, power users, BPO providers and outsourcers.

CEOs are going to know more about the application of technology about the business results of technology use much as they understand manufacturing, engineering, or sales and marketing. But no CEO is about to understand SAN tuning or JavaBeans.

Bobby Cameron

Bobby Cameron You talked about moving IT cowboys out to the fringes. Where is that, exactly? The fringes are the edges of the technology stack, where competitive differentiation is created. In one dimension, using the seven-layer ISO technology stack, the fringe is the very top layer of the applications like above the [service-oriented architecture] interfaces, where new business models are experimented with. In another dimension, the fringe is at the edge of the network where the X Internet the extended and executable Internet connects the physical world with the virtual world through sensors, RFID chips and the like. Jamie Eckle

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