These ongoing dynamics are leading to new questions for IT pros: When the economy rebounds, will technology still be a top business priority? How can I get a better handle on business goals? And once I get a handle, how can I get IT front and center in planning?
You've told us it pays to check out what your peers are doing, so we polled you on your feelings about technology trends, your jobs and your organizations. We discovered that you're fed up with corporate politics and bureaucracy (see "Winds of Change"). We also learned that despite the lingering economic malaise, many IT shops are forging ahead with infrastructure and enterprise-application projects (see "Down to Brass Tacks"), investing in their infrastructures when clear business value can be shown.
Mike Hahm, systems analyst and engineer for the Montana Department of Administration, sees new prospects on the horizon even as tech loses some of its mystique. "As the IT infrastructure becomes commoditized, it becomes a known factor," Hahm says. "So people get more comfortable with it and figure out more ways to use it. And as new application layers are placed on top, that opens up new opportunity."
Others believe their skills will remain in demand for more fundamental reasons. "It's like a car--you'll always need someone to fix something," says Vanessa Hill, network administrator for Progressive Life Center, a Washington-based nonprofit children's services organization.