IT Specializing: Finding Your Niche
Studying IT is a little like studying law. Until you declare a specialty, you are adrift. These days, there is really no way to generalize. The field is too big. The various disciplines are too different. Mastering one does not mean you are proficient at another.
That might qualify as both pro and con. If you decide to get into IT, there is a lot to choose from. It is not a monolithic industry. Whatever your interest happens to be, there is an IT specialty for you.
However, that dizzying array of choices might also leave you confused about which way to go. If you pick the wrong specialty, you will have to go back to school to learn another. The pros and cons don't end there. Here are some of the fields you might want to consider, as well as their pros and cons:
With the San Bernardino iPhone case in the news, data recovery is all anyone can talk about these days. If you had the skill to get the data from a locked iPhone 5C, the FBI had a blank check with your name on it. The field is a lot bigger than the random iPhone that needs to be unlocked. Data loss is a major enterprise concern. You will need to be familiar with the tools of virtualization to qualify. One provider of such services, Secure Data Recovery, put it this way:
Virtualization is one of the fastest-growing trends for both web and storage servers. Many modern systems rely on VMware, which uses the VMFS cluster file system. VMware systems can store massive amounts of information, and when combined with modern RAID technology, they are a fast, safe option for businesses of all sizes.
The need is massive. But the downside is that if the specific tools you learn go out of favor at some point, you may be left with obsolete information. You will have to become proficient with a variety of tools, or risk your career to the whims of a single provider of the only tool you know well.
The Tesla Model 3 is all the rage at the moment. Geeks worldwide are lining up to give the company $1,000 for the privilege of purchasing the vehicle two to three years later, if they're lucky. The vehicle promises outstanding range, and the tantalizing possibility of self-driving features. Rumor has it that even Apple is interested in getting into the game. IT specialists with automotive expertise are in high demand.
There is no doubt that specialized industries need IT specialists ASAP. The challenges is making the right bet. What if you had bet heavily on fuel cell technology a decade ago? You would be broke, and without the necessary skills for the new battery tech driving the future of automobiles. Had you bet on electric cars in the past, you would have been underappreciated, and considered a failure. But today, you would be able to write your own check. It is all about making the right bets.
"Hey Siri," "Okay Google," "Cortana," "Alexa" -- these are the nonsense words people are shouting out to their computers and smartphones. But these words are not quite so nonsensical as they may first seem. That is because upon hearing these activating words, computers and smartphones talk back.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence are here to stay. And we have a long way to go before we have mastered them. That makes this an excellent field in which to specialize. But that doesn't mean that the field is not without downside.
Even now, independent development houses are being scooped up by the big platform owners. The way people will experience this technology will be through the operating system, not individual apps, no matter how creative they are. That means that the end game is to get picked up by a platform owner like Apple or Microsoft, or be prepared to have your brilliant work ignored by the masses.
If you are entering the IT field you are going to have to specialize in something. There is plenty to choose from, whether it be data recover, automotive, or artificial intelligence. But what you should specialize in is whatever gets you up in the morning. Somewhere, someone has a blank check with your name on it.