IT 'air traffic controllers' in demand

As the IT career landscape shifts, new opportunities are opening in higher-level areas within organizations, according to an IDC researcher.

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BOSTON -- As IT processes become more automated, administrators are going to need to develop their business skills to stay relevant, said Frank Gens, senior vice president of research with Framingham, Mass.-based International Data Corp.

"Learn how your business operates," Gens said. "I think the IT professionals who have the most valued stock will understand operations and business."

Gens spoke on the shifting market at the recent IDC Decisions 2005 conference on how to remain competitive as IT grows more "dynamic."

There are two areas IT professionals can focus on to work with the changes in the industry. First, Gens recommends developing an understanding of where IT leadership is taking the organization. Are automated tools replacing manual processes? Are processes being consolidated to give workers a big-picture view of IT's mission?

Even though the IT landscape has changed in recent years, there will still be opportunities in the industry, he said. Gens sees higher-level jobs -- the "air traffic controllers" of IT -- becoming more prevalent as the vendor market undergoes a shift in the next five years.

"Look out the window and see what's going on," Gens said. "What is the purpose that IT is serving in the organization? I don't think that you can go wrong with that."

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