Tuesday, August 23, 2005

People like me are the next big thing, eh?

I spent 15 years of my life working in the Information Technology (IT) field. It started when I was in college, and decided that mainframes and the Internet were more interesting than my architecture classes. That was followed by a job as a UNIX PC operator in a pre-press department, a programming job, MIS operations in a data center, help desk, consulting, more programming, systems administration and webmastery, more programming, more systems administration, more consulting...

In early 2004, I realized that there weren't a lot of "pure" IT jobs around me - let alone ones I was interested in. I still had (and still have) programming I do, but it's not of a sort tied to actually getting paid. I still had (at that point) consulting work, but it was gradually tapering off. On the other hand, there's a lot of academic and scientific research here, and I knew there were jobs where my knowledge of IT (and things in general) would come in handy. So I looked in that direction (and people in that direction looked at me) and I wound up in situations where I'm the only person without at least a Master's degree - but am also the person with the best understanding of IT and technology in general.

It was (and continues to be) an interesting transition, to say the least. Many of my colleagues continue to work in "pure" IT, though, so I was a little startled to stumble across a New York Times story indicating that "renaissance geeks" - people who have the IT knowledge and skills, but are also knowledgeable or skilled in science, business or other areas - are now a hot commodity.

Of course, I changed paths because I wanted to be where the good work was - not because I thought what I was doing was going to be the next trend. :) But maybe I was a little ahead of the curve, by accident.

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