I cringe when I hear that IT needs to align to the business, implying that IT is not part of the business in the first place. In fact, IT is essential to the business and should be as much a part of the strategy, development, and execution teams as any other group. Think of it this way: As long as IT thinks of "the business" as "not IT," IT will never be valued.
IT has a stereotype to overcome. More important, it must relinquish the stereotypes it holds of other entities in the organization -- sales and marketing, for example -- a practice that inhibits IT's ability to form advantageous interdepartmental partnerships.
If you look at where the technology jobs are these days, according to Dice.com, it's in these areas of architecture, design, solutions engineering, innovation, project leadership (not just management), and emerging technologies. Businesses are making their priorities clear. Can you adjust, or do you want to retreat into the engine room?
Don't get me wrong, the engine room is critical. But it needs fewer engineers to keep it running -- or should -- than in the early days. If the engine room is your passion, become a Scotty. But don't stay an ensign, because not many will be needed in the years to come.
Otherwise, join the larger ship, whether as an engineer partner or a player in another business unit, such as product design. Whatever you do, the future of IT is in helping make the business more successful in its own terms. Think different and be part of that future.
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