Your IT job prospects for 2012

The new year brings new opportunities for IT pros attuned to the skills and strategies of next-generation IT

If the past few months are any indication, 2012 should prove a watershed year for the career paths of many IT pros. While positive in aggregate, trending vectors for IT careers appear to be pointing in almost every direction at once.

Recent indications suggest that the tech jobs hiring boom is real. Bolstered by bigger budgets, tech organizations are opening more doors to new hires, spotlighting the tech sector as one of the few bright spots in today's tepid employment economy.

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But the reality is that double-digit job growth is in evidence for only certain segments and IT skills. Broadly speaking, IT job gains have been moderate to minimal compared to those of 2010, by its own measure hardly a banner year for IT.

And those bigger budgets? Welcome to the cloud era in earnest, with outsourced services commanding a greater slice of IT spending. Reliance on H-1Bs has hastened, and offshoring remains a prevalent practice among the majority of IT organizations. Even sectors deemed hottest for IT hiring -- mobile tech, for example -- may be showing signs of an impending bubble.

All this has been met by a gamut of responses from IT pros. First-movers have been getting the drop on early job opportunities; those affected by the downturn have been ramping up efforts to re-enter the IT work force; others are holding out hope for a raise with salary freezes lifting, while some have been questioning whether their current jobs are worth the trouble at all.

To be sure, such responses are to be expected from any industry returning from recession, but for today's IT, the tenor is different. The sense on the ground is that the nature of IT itself is changing.

From the rise of the cloud to the consumerization of IT to the increased emphasis on boutique IT service for business needs, indications are that IT is becoming more about stewardship than ownership, and the old way of running IT as a business is a train wreck waiting to happen. In other words, the next generation of IT is fast approaching, and it will require a shift in skills, strategies, and vision from the IT of just a few short years ago.

With flux comes opportunity. To help you capitalize, we've compiled a compendium of IT careers resources below. You'll find a wealth of insights on the kinds of skills and strategies to move your IT career forward or to help you venture down a new, more rewarding IT career path in the year ahead.

And for those aspiring to navigate next-generation IT, we invite you to subscribe to Bob Lewis's Advice Line newsletter, as Bob continues his commitment to lending high-level insights to forward-thinking IT pros.

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Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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