Thursday, June 13, 2013

Jaron Lanier's theories on the Internet and middle class jobs: I think he misses some of the point in IT jobs

I read music composer  Jaron Lanier’s critique of the Internet and its effect on an economy that supports the middle class (Tuesday’s posting on my my BillBoushka blog). 

Has the Internet simply destroyed the “professional” jobs in IT and journalism that used to provide incomes to raise families?  Or have new careers come up to replace it.

I think it’s more the latter.  There’s a tremendous need for skills in a lot of specific areas (starting with security), and this isn’t the kind of stuff that gets done by open source or blog postings.  Although, it seems that contribution of code to various open source sites seems to be part of the portfolio many younger iT professionals need.

Furthermore, there is a substantial need for old time business processing.  It sounds as though the old-fashioned “career” in-house in a bank or insurance company as a mainframe  applications (particularly COBOL) programmer may have declined – because it’s so much more efficient to outsource major systems development (particularly to Vantage, which rules the mainframe world).  But critical needs keep coming up.  

Now, it’s to implement the maze of regulatory changes for Obamacare – and companies are wondering where the mainframe programmers of twenty years ago went.  (They should have wondered that ten years ago.)  Later, the need will surely arise with entitlement reform – some sort of quasi-privatization of Social Security is inevitable.

And there are places in the government that just have to modernize – the iRS, for one, and the FAA. 
What does this mean to the “middle class” professional?  You have to he flexible, and pay attention to what is going on. 

But in the mean time, we really need a “national discussion” on the role of social media and online reputation in the job market.  

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