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The IT Profession: 2010

July 2006 (Computerworld) -- In four short years, the current class of college freshmen will be scouting for jobs. In four short years, a significant percentage of the working population will reach retirement age. In four short years, the makeup of the U.S. Congress and the White House will have changed.

Four years can flit by in the blink of an eye, yet much is sure to happen in that time that will impact the IT field.

Will you be ready?

We chose to thumb-tack this IT careers report on calendar year 2010. Experts predict major shifts in the IT profession by then: Boomer retirements will be in full swing, the next wave of college grads will be hitting the job market, and the line between IT departments and business units will be even more blurred. And then there's the expanding role of outsourcing, the ongoing H-1B visa debates in Congress, and the unabating merger and acquisition activity consolidating industries and IT staffs.

Our recent survey of 1,137 IT professionals shows a workforce worried about that future: Respondents cited outsourcing and the difficulty of keeping skills up to date as the two biggest threats to their jobs and careers. Yet they are willing to adapt to master that future: 91% said they would learn a new technical skill to help ensure prolonged employment.

Here's a certainty: IT workers will have to adapt to stay employed in 2010. Among other things, this special report aims to help you place your career bets, show you which skills will be hot and teach you how to turn globalization to your advantage.

So, will you be ready?

Ellen Fanning is special projects editor at Computerworld. She can be reached at ellen_fanning@computerworld.com.

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