Which IT Jobs Won't Come Back?


The Wall Street Journal's homepage leads with a headline that many of us already know: Even in a Recovery, Some Jobs Won't Return.

The story, which looks at various Labor Department stats from the past few years, does explain that technology has helped make certain jobs obsolete. And it adds this: "One could also make the case that the U.S. is shifting from a consumer nation to a nation of producers, and that will lead to a resurgence in technology and high-tech manufacturing jobs."

That sounds good for the tech sector, but what's the reality for corporate IT? CIOs were forced to let go hordes of IT pros over the last two years. Businesses are still turning to outsourcing/offshoring to eliminate HR overhead. And the advent of new technologies (and the phasing out of old ones) is limiting the need for some It workers in corporate IT shops.

The big question: Which, if any, traditional IT jobs will go away permanently? Sound off in our comments section below.


9 Comments for "Which IT Jobs Won't Come Back?"

  • Brian Watson January 20, 2010 11:02 am

    Thanks for the comments, everybody. Interesting dialogue, especially per Chris Weiss and BKP. Hmm apparently didn't read the post correctly. Please keep the feedback coming!

  • Hmm January 19, 2010 7:44 pm

    This article sucks. You're suppose to do the research and inform us. The headline even read "Some positions won't come back -- and shouldn't," which implied you had something meaningful to say. Well, perhaps next time I see an article by Brian Watson, I will not bother wasting my time to click on the link.

  • Kiran S Navaratna January 18, 2010 9:29 am

    Guys, Lets get used to the "new normal." Let's face it, jobs that are gone will not come back. The U.S. & other OECD countries are looking at years of jobless growth. Companies will ensure profitability only through outsourcing & innovative hedging in financial instruments. So what's in it for you? 1. A bleak future 2. Erosion of retirement plans 3. Career transition into new areas 4. Backbreaking bills 5. Possble giving up of heavy mortgages 6. Rising healthcare costs that come out of your pocket 7. Part-time or multiple jobs and many other ills... So what's the solution? Most of us have lived lives trying to secure life through insurance once we got our jobs, job security by working in firms that do not care enough about us. Wake up to the reality. Your's as well as your families' lives depend on your financial security, not on your insurance or 401K or other retirement plans or your job security. You will ultimately have to fend for yourselves. I am looking to build a values-driven organization where each & every person holds equity, where we will together build the organization on a global scale through the judicious use of technology, namely e-commerce. Whats in for you, you ask? 1. A secure future for you & your families 2. Financial security, above all 3. In the event of a mishap, guarantee that your options will be passed on to your appointed nominee 4. Ability to gve you & your children a better present, a quality life & a secure future 5. Leave behind a legacy for your family that's worth its weight in gold I am looking for people who have a willingness to learn, experienced in building & maintaining teams, self-motivated, goal-oriented, leadership qualities, a flair for brand-building & above all people with the heart to give back to society. Get back to me with a brief introduction about yourself as well as your expectations for more information on how we can help you. Mail me on NoMoreLayOffs(at)GMail(dot)com. In Service Always, Kiran S Navaratna

  • RM January 15, 2010 5:20 pm

    I see some manufacturing coming back, but only the items that are innovative and have not become a commodity. All commodity-based manufacturing will be done in Asia, autos included. The service-based economy is still here and will remain, although I see far fewer companies surviving meaning that in each market only the strong will survive and they will eat up the competition either through acquisition or simple putting their competition out of business (i.e. Linens & Things, Circuit City, etc.). I don't see the doom & gloom that the other posters see, but people will settle in to a different lifestyle for sure over time.

  • Chris Weiss January 15, 2010 4:24 pm

    I have worked on projects as small as two people and as large as 400 programmers, with budgets as small as $1,000 and as big as $250M. The one common thread I see is that there are too many amateurs in IT. Anyone with a degree who can claim, "and I have worked with computers..." can end up with an IT job. The central problem in IT is that computer software and IT in general has never been "professionalized." Since a bug in software is not seen as dangerous as a misdiagnosis in medicine or a bridge built out of spec, people have lived with this lack of professionalism in IT. Because software and systems are "different" than physical things that are built or professional services given, we let the neophyte with no experience write a company Web site that leads to a breach of credit card data. What we need to do once and for all is demand licensing and certification. We need to define and enforce legally enforce licenses such as a certified software engineer with education and training credentials, a certified Windows engineer, etc. Like other professions such as dentistry, we also need to require so many hours a year of professional education and ongoing skills development so we know an IT professional is "up to date." If we make IT a real profession rather than the "craft" it is today, the job market will shrink naturally down to the right level. A Web programmer who is trained, educated and has verifiable skills is typically 10x more productive than some hack who taught himself VB.NET and has 1 year of experience. I keep hearing over and over about how productive people without formal education are in IT. In my experience, the untrained and uneducated folks who are valuable are the exception, not the rule. Education is not enough, which is why we need a true professional certification process with practical exams so that IT workers can demonstrate real skills. We need to dump the amateurs and focus on the people who add real value. I would take three good people with degrees in computer science or IT and measurable skills over 30 people who "migrated" to IT after majoring in something else or who started their careers doing something non-technical. Right now, most businesses have no way of knowing who really matters in IT.

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