The result: a new field that combines both law and technological expertise. For example, Fehrman says his background is as a network/systems administrator, not an attorney. But he makes a point to read as much as possible about legal matters and emerging case law. Along with his understanding of the rules of civil procedure, this allows him communicate more effectively with attorneys.
"The people who deal with this data used to be either tech people or lawyers and paralegals," says Carpenter. "Either they knew the law, or they knew speeds and feeds. That's changed dramatically. We're finding that people on both sides of this need to be able to speak both languages. The hottest area in hiring today is people who understand both areas really well. "
Will the new generation of superusers created by the data revolution replace IT workers in the enterprise? No, says Talener's Dsupin. But they will change the roles IT plays.
"There's always the next thing you want the system to do," he says. "Every system has version 1, 2, 3. Users will always need help to get from version 5 to versions 6, 7, and 8. This won't take jobs away from tech folks; it will allow them to avoid menial tasks like support. In general, IT professionals are becoming more dynamic than ever before."
It also means that IT pros need to develop subject-matter expertise outside the bits and bytes they are often more comfortable with. Expectations are rising on both sides, says Michael Nicholas, head of strategy for Isobar, a digital marketing and advertising firm.
"In the past, creative people in traditional ad agencies were dreamers, which meant they didn't make things," says Nicholas. "Now we expect our tech people to be creatives, and we expect our creative people to understand technology well enough that they can make their dreams a reality."
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