Eric Lundquist

Five technology jobs for 2009

By Eric Lundquist
February 03, 2009 7:22 AM EST

Jobs in information technology are certainly not immune from the ongoing recession. If you want to keep count, you can watch the score at Computerworld's layoff tracker. But there are emerging opportunities in compliance, document management, virtualization and business intelligence. Here are five technology job opportunities for 2009.

1. E-mail CSI. I had a phone interview (I'll write the blog later) with a lawyer at a document management company. The Wall Street meltdown and outrage is leading to a host of litigation about who knew what when. E-mail archives, for those of you in tech, are not the neat libraries of past emails that those outside of tech believe. Tapes -- and a lot of it is still on tape -- are full of email dumped en masse. Someone needs to be able to mold the mass into a structured pile where the lawyers can delve to heart's content. Tip: It is not so much a technology trick to become an e-mail CSI as a project manager. Unfortunately, lots of opportunity here.

2. Glass house builder. How many times can politicians, media commentators and lawyers use the word transparancy to describe the unfolding, new, government funded banking environment? Banks that took government money (and are there any that haven't?) are going to find themselves facing a new set of compliance rules regarding disclosing loans, salaries and expenses. Compliance spending was one of the big drivers of tech spending following the creation of SarBox and it is going to happen all over again. Tip: again it is not technology as much as technologists able to translate new rules and legislation into IT projects.

 3. Doctor of Medical Records. In the proposed economic stimulus package, the digitization of medical records is due for a big round of funding. Why is that? As a recent New York Times article points out, the administration's new budget director, Peter Orszag, is a major proponent of using digital medical records to bring health care costs under control. What is interesting here is not so much the ability to shuttle medical records around once they are converted to digits as the ability to dive into those records. Which leads us to the next job opportunity.

4. Medical Records Business Intelligence director. Once the records are digitized you can start applying the principles of business intelligence to the health care industry. What is the correlation between advanced procedures and additional testing to recovery? Do doctors who get paid the most provide the best health care? Which regions, doctors and hospitals provide the best health care at the lowest cost? Tip. Business intelligence in specific fields requires you to be able to draw on a wide range of expertise in both BI and the specific field. You need to build a team of experts and provide the tools.

5. Network virtualizer. Virtualization is a big deal, but most of the discussion so far has been around either running several virtual operating systems on your personal system or virtualzing your server environment. The rise of video over the Web, the buildout of social networks, mobile applications and work at home are all going to add up to huge network demands. Network carriers and network adminstrators are not going to be able to simply throw boxes at the increased demand. Virtualized networks that can expand on the fly to meet demand are on the way (and in many cases here already) from the likes of Cisco and Juniper. Tip: Adding virtualization skills on top of your network administration capabilities or adding network administration on top of your virtualization skills is one way to make your resume stand out in this crowded market. 

I'm looking for more suggestions of IT opportunities in the current cruddy economy.