You may have seen the predictions that tomorrow's workers will be divided into two classes: well-paid professionals and poorly paid laborers. So what happens to the middle class jobs of everyone else? The short answer is that computers and online services will take them over. Jobs in manufacturing, real estate, hotels, offices, financial services and on and on will vanish. All because automation and robotics are creeping in.

The Middle Class of IT

I count myself among the middle class of IT. I started installing NT and apps one by one. Then I got the bright idea to use an answer file with Windows 2000 and ghosting. Today, a desktop is cloned from a template in a few seconds with VMware. Soon enough there'll be little more troubleshooting the PC because desktops will be streamed. Most problems will only require a reboot.

Even though I've graduated from moving PCs from office to office, I'm not so smart as to be selected by IEEE to work on a new protocol. While there will always be employment for lower paid techs to set up PCs and printers, and there will always be work for pioneers, those of in the middle face the very real danger that automation will find its way into their jobs. If I continue to only deploy the MSI or take snapshots of applications, I'll be as irrelevant as NT.  I need to do things a computer can't. For me, that  means exploring new desktop technologies so I can stay ahead of the curve. It's about research, finding cost-effective business solutions that are unique to my company.

I've compiled a short list of skills that will remain viable. that I'm sure is incomplete, but is a good start:

Analytics - Someone has to sift through all that data to find the relevant information.

Security - Which I see as analytics with a different set of data.

Management - Computers won't manage people.

Technical Writer - Computers can't write manuals.

Tester  - It will be cheaper to ask a human what he/she thinks of the new GUI interface.

Project Manager - PM is all about managing people. Computers can't do that.

Teacher - Even this one is a question mark because someone only needs to teach it once and post it to YouTube.

Help Desk - Which is teacher on the fly, since the user will only need help with an application.

Only you know your job. Can you see automation taking some of your tasks away? As far as this short list, tell me if I missed any, or if I got any wrong.

-- Dino Londis