Want the hottest IT job in town? I sure wish I knew what it is or, even better, what it's going to be.
Here's what it won't be, if that's of any use to you: heads-down coding. If what you like to do is write code without having to deal with anyone or anything other than the system specifications, you'll either find work with a software developer or you probably won't find work at all.
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Meanwhile, here's an opportunity that might not be a hot job but is a safe bet: Become a guru in one of the remaining ERP suites: SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft (who would have expected it to survive Oracle?), or NetSuite. Yes, guru -- you can either make one of these packages sing, dance, and play the tuba, or you're just another schlemiel.
You might have read ERP suites have become discredited due to their sheer bulk, expense, and cost of implementation. Maybe they have among self-appointed pundits. That's not the case in mainstream IT, though, which has to deal with a straightforward question: What's the better alternative?
(Visualize your screen image waving and shimmering, with a harp riff on the music track, because it's time for a flashback. The image stabilizes in grainy black-and-white, and ...)
A few years back, the phrase "federated architecture" was making the rounds. The concept was pretty simple: Assemble enterprise ERP from a bunch of best-of-breed systems connected by a magic pipe that handles all the translations throughout the IT stack -- from data transport to data translation to business logic -- to keep the application and information portfolios synchronized.
"Magic pipe" turned out to be a good description -- of what the theorists who explained How Great It All Would Be had been smoking. Oh, the moving updates around parts worked just fine, and data conversions weren't a problem, so long as they were at the bits-and-bytes level.