The invisible workforce: IT in the future

Will there still be IT jobs in the future? If IT becomes seamlessly integrated into everybody’s lives, what happens to IT people? What will they do and where will they work?

As IT shrinks into the background, so will IT workers, but that doesn’t mean there won’t still be big problems to solve. Because solutions to those problems can be developed anywhere, IT workers will trade visibility for a new work environment with ultimate flexibility.

The company help desk will be history and the technology departments of today will turn into pure engineering organizations, doing R&D to drive their particular businesses forward instead of focusing on system uptime and troubleshooting. All the in-house IT systems of today will either be obsolete or outsourced.

The tyranny of current operating systems will give way to systems that respond to the way humans think. The whole concept of an “interface” to systems will seem archaic as an overall seamlessness takes hold. Users will simply do their jobs, unaware of CPUs, hard drives, and memory — if those antiquated technologies even exist at all.

Where is all the data people use, and who manages it? The data is anywhere and everywhere, perhaps even in unmanned data centres orbiting the earth, where the heat generated by microprocessors can be recycled to keep these data centres warm in the dead cold of outer space. It doesn’t matter where the data is stored because network speeds will rise to such an incredible level that large amounts of data can be stored anywhere and transferred anywhere else in seconds. All IT problems will be fixed remotely, either by IT employees in a remote data centre or via automated robots that deal with physical problems.

With location completely irrelevant, IT workers will work from home for outsourcers, refining user interfaces and designing robotics to deal with any remaining physical issues in IT. The new IT worker will utilize collaboration tools that make it unwise to waste time commuting to an office. No longer chained to a pager just to keep things running, the IT worker of tomorrow will finally realize the original promise of technology: more leisure time to spend with friends and family.

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