How to Recession-proof an IT Job

By Edward Cone  |  Posted Wednesday, December 17, 2008 18:12 PM

Can you refocus you career to meet the demands of a tough economy?

You might have to, says John Baschab, managing director of staffing firm Technisource Management Services and co-author of The Executives Guide to Information Technology and The Professional Services Firm Bible. We spoke about the opportunities for IT during a recession. Baschab emphasized the importance of investing in projects that will improve productivity, reduce costs, and prepare a company to accelerate into a recovery.

But he also stressed the changes IT workers may need to make in such an environment.

His high-level advice: "People try to do less of the same thing in hard times. That's fine, but there's also an opportunity to do more of something different. Things that improve productivity. Maybe now's the time to introduce open source software to your business, or focus on mobile computing. Things like netbooks for the sales force to let people take orders in field, or video conferencing rather than travel."

And the part that may change your daily routine: "This favors people with operations and infrastructure background, rather than applications background. That's the direction for IT in the future. We were at the stage, at the end of the first wave of ERP, when custom development and interesting add-ons were the thing. You'll see people shrinking back from that, instead you'll see more of a focus on things that are productivity-oriented.

"That means IT professionals should look to migrate to operations infrastructure side. The hard part is there's a relatively high wall between the applications side and operations infrastructure. One thing that never gets old: management, the ability to make the kind of decisions we've talked about. That's a rare commodity in IT. Being a good business person never goes out of style."