Morgan, 49, eventually moved on from PowerBuilder and settled in with a new specialty -- IBM's DataPower integration appliance. He was introduced to it in the mid-2000s while working at a company that encouraged him to get trained and certified in DataPower. He was initially reluctant, but he quickly recognized the product's staying power, given its emphasis on security, networking and application development.
With a new specialty under his belt, Morgan has been able to negotiate what he calls "top-dollar salaries" and a variety of other perks, such as reimbursement for relocation expenses.
Because DataPower specialists are in short supply, he's also been able to parlay his domain expertise into a rather unique working situation: He's currently in a full-time DataPower role at Netsmart, a provider of electronic medical records technology, but also makes himself available as needed to the Department of Veterans Affairs as a contract DataPower administrator.
"There are so few people that actually either want to stay with [DataPower] or want to do it that it leaves high demand and low supply for this particular skill set," he says. "That's real good for a career if it's something you want to connect yourself to."
But even from his current perch in the catbird seat, Morgan advises his IT colleagues to cover the bases. "Have as many skills as you possibly can, whether it's database technology, old technology or the latest hot technology," he says. "That way, when one thing is not popular, you can do something else."
Longtime Computerworld contributor Beth Stackpole recently wrote about ways to keep new IT hires from jumping ship.
This article, " IT Careers: Does It Pay to Become a Brand Specialist?" was originally published on Computerworld.com.
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