Monday, January 05, 2009

Trends for 2009: In and Out

Jeff Hiner of Tech Republic has an interesting blog entry today about “What’s in and what’s out” in 2009, link here. This reminds me of a similar article in "Computer User" in early 2002 that went something like "Hot jobs in a down market; what's hot, what's not." Then, they said that COBOL wasn't not, and neither was freelance writing.

There are some interesting points in Hiner's blog. Telecommuting is in, the 8 hour workday is out (but was it ever in?) The MacIntosh is in; putting Vista on PC’s is out (the buzz is that security geeks are getting back to preferring to use the Mac whenever they can).

Web based applications, however secured, are preferable to in-house applications, so Java and C# sound like they only become more important.

Process automation is in when it saves money, but new projects are out in a tight economy. I think this is a distinction without a difference. I can cite a recent example: The Washington area Metro system recently expanded the user of Smart cards in bus transfers and eliminated paper transfers, to save $300000 in printing a year. I can think of another automation, but it might be a new “project”: Making smart cards interchangeable among subway systems in various cities. If you live in DC, wouldn’t you like to be able to use the Smart card on the NYC Transit or Philadelphia Septa?

Actually, the push from the new Obama administration might create a lot of full systems life cycle projects. One is full health care records automation, HIPAA compliant. Another is a due diligence system for lenders to quash identity theft. These are basic infrastructural things that will save our entire economy money (and bring a lot of older mainframe programmers back to the workplace), but are hard for individual companies to justify without government leadership. Welcome to the Democrats, like it or not. If this is the way things go during the next administration, staffing companies and clients ought to rethink the way they select candidates. It’ll be in their best interest to do so.

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