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Information Technology

Future Trends

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  • The computer services industry has boomed over the last decade - but the nature of the industry continues to change.
  • The UK IT industry has one of the strongest ICT infrastructures in the world and has good prospects for growth in the future - despite a short-term slow-down.
  • Employment in the computer services industry is predicted to grow at around two per cent per annum and by 2012 by two and a half per cent. This growth means an additional 125,000  jobs in computer services by 2017.
  • There will also be a requirement for employees to replace those leaving due to retirement and changes such as promotion.
  • Globalisation - where a business is not based just in one country - has led to some basic IT jobs such as programming and support roles being bought in by companies from lower-cost countries outside the UK.
  • The IT worker needed by businesses in the UK for the future needs to be multi-skilled - with a mixture of technical skills combined with strong business and communication skills.
  • There is currently a shortage of qualified professionals with security or forensic expertise.  Forensic computer analysts work with security services, the police, the serious and organised crime agencies as well as IT firms specialising in computer security and investigation. Some public employers and larger commercial organisations, like banks, are now also employing forensic computer analysts, often as part of their IT or information departments.
  • The UK is an important IT hub in Europe - having the second-highest number of WI-Fi hotspots in the world after the US, and the highest number of secure servers in Europe.
  • The majority of jobs in the IT industry are high level occupations in particular:
    • Managers and senior officials
    • Professional occupations
    • Associate professional and technical occupations.

These occupational areas are all predicted to grow and this pattern of occupational employment is predicted to stay the same for the next 10 years.

  • Currently one in five people are employed in administrative, clerical and secretarial occupations in computer services but some job losses are predicted in this sector.  

What about Web 2.0 and Social Computing/Media?

  • The way businesses use the internet is set to change dramatically in the future, influenced by the growth of social networking - often called social media. This change will bring technology-intensive skills to the heart of many businesses.  Social media has become a means by which people communicate and interact with each other - and it's becoming big business. Social computing is powered by a set of internet-based technologies often called Web 2.0.
  • E-Commerce as based on Web 1.0 technologies, such as portals, was less of a challenge for business as it used traditional business models for sales, service and communications to engage individual customers. Social networking channels - Web 2.0 solutions - unlike current web-storefronts, are not controlled by companies; they are virtual market places where communities of interest form opinions and value company products, services and brands.
  • Social networking is already being used by businesses to good effect, for example the NHS Professionals Special Health Authority uses Facebook to help raise its profile and recruit temporary staff, and more companies are Twittering, blogging and creating profiles on social media sites.
  • IT professionals and managers will need to develop social networking, interactive design and social-technical skills to use and manage these internet based channels effectively for their employers. Some new job titles may include:
    • Social media strategists/ directors of social media - who will be employed to be the face of social media for a company, using technological expertise to create and maintain an effective social media strategy.
    • Enterprise architects - who will be employed to use experience in networks, multiple platforms and security, as well as Web 2.0, to change their employer's content management strategy and internal networks.

Projection figures from 'Working Futures 2007 -2017' Warwick Institute of Employment Research - November 2008.