Top ten dead, or dying, IT skills

In speaking with industry stalwarts, we’ve compiled a list of skills and technologies that, while not dead, can perhaps be said to be in the process of dying. Here are the top ten computer skills on life support.

? 1. Cobol Y2k was like a second gold rush for Cobol programmers, but six-and-a-half years later, there’s no savior in sight for this fading language.

? 2. Nonrelational DBMS In the 1980s, there were two major database management systems approaches: hierarchical systems and network DBMS. Today, however, both have been replaced by the relational DBMS approach.

? 3. Non-IP networks TCP/IP has largely taken over the networking world, and as a result, there’s less demand than ever for IBM Systems Network Architecture (SNA) skills, said David Foote, president of Foote Partners LLC in New Canaan, Conn.

? 4. cc:Mail This store-and-forward LAN-based e-mail system was once used by about 20 million people. However, as e-mail was integrated into more complex systems, its popularity waned, and in 2000 was withdrawn from the market.

? 5. ColdFusion This has since been superseded by other development platforms, including Microsoft Corp.’s Active Server Pages and .Net, as well as Java, Ruby on Rails, Python, PHP and other open source languages.

? 6. C programming As the Web takes over, C languages are also becoming less relevant, according to Stewart Padveen, Internet entrepreneur and founder of AdPickles Inc.

? 7. PowerBuilder This client/server development tool in 1994 was bought by Sybase Inc., which was once a strong Oracle competitor. Today, PowerBuilder developers are at the very bottom of the list of in-demand application development and platform skills.

? 8. Certified NetWare Engineers In the early 1990s, it was all the rage to become a Certified NetWare Engineer. Today, you don’t have to look far to find CNEs retraining themselves with other skills to stay marketable.

? 9. PC network administrators With the accelerating move to consolidate Windows servers, some see substantially less demand for PC network administrators.

? 10. OS/2 Initially created by Microsoft and IBM and released with great fanfare in 1987, the collaboration soon unraveled, and after repeated rumors of its demise, IBM finally discontinued sales in 2005.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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