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What's Ahead in Technology? Big Projects, Bigger Opportunities

By Matt OBrien

The tech industry can be divided into two eras: before the dot-com bust in 2000, and after. The days of excessive spending and market optimism are over; today's technology firms and professionals are more conservative and pragmatic. Despite the heightened sense of caution, capital is still being poured into new technology ventures, and corporations are increasing their spending on more advanced technology.

Bigger technology, bigger budgets

Technology usage is exploding in general, especially in business. The amount of data being transferred, stored, and accessed is surging around the world. Software is evolving, and niches in the technology industry are constantly being carved. As a result, IT budgets at companies are expanding, and the need for labor is on the rise. One area that has seen exceptional growth is the demand for IT business managers. Individuals who are able not only to understand the technical side of the business but also to communicate and market effectively are in ever-higher demand. Moreover, investors are increasing their spending on innovative start-up companies and funding new ideas and new ventures across the industry.

Business/IT merger

One major change that the tech industry is now undergoing involves the IT divisions of firms. In companies everywhere, the IT department is moving closer to other departments, and traditional IT jobs are being outsourced or eliminated all together. Specifically, jobs that were previously reserved for "technologists" are starting to demand more and more business-oriented activities such as marketing and management. This trends works the other way as well, as staff members outside the IT department are increasingly involved in technical projects. The boilerplate, plug-and-chug IT jobs that do not require interaction with other parts of companies are being outsourced or eliminated. In all, this trend can be capitalized on by anyone dynamic enough to fulfill multiple roles in a company.

Offshore IT

According to Jack Welch of General Electric, "A truly global company will be one that uses the intellect and resources of every corner of the world." Tapping into the intellectual capital in countries like India and China is an important part of the evolution of the technology industry. Finding an off-shore developer or programmer to handle any project - arge or small - has become increasingly easy for businesses looking to outsource some or all of their technology needs. This trend creates a win-win situation for businesses who need IT expertise, and off-shore employees who need work that pays a living wage.

Open Source

Open Source is a set of principles and practices that allows access to the production and design process for a variety of products, information resources, etc. With Open Source, the source code of software is made available to the general public with relaxed or non-existent restrictions on intellectual property. Collaboration is the key word here - Open Source stems from the idea that something built collaboratively, with unlimited contributions from individuals, will result in a better product or resource. Essentially, users create their own product - a trend that is sometimes risky but often generates a lot of energy and enthusiasm from contributors.

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