Job options for an IT professional

In-house IT personnel will become highly sought after by most companies and organisations as employers attempt to keep up with fast-moving technology.

Speaking at the WOU public talk on ‘What can I do with my IT qualification in the current market?’ at the main campus, School of Science and Technology senior lecturer Ishan Abeywardena said that acquiring in-house IT professionals is the way to go in the future.

“In the current market, evolution is everything. If you can’t make new technology, you are left behind,” he said, stating that the IT professional is an integral part of the intellectual team as the company must know the latest technological trends in the market.

Registering for the talk.

Registering for the talk.

He said IT is assuming more responsibility now as it is used for business planning while IT professionals are essential to recommend new technology solutions for the overall needs of the company.

Quoting reports, Ishan said that Malaysia’s IT sector is expected to generate more than 98,000 new jobs with the creation of more than 800 new IT companies from 2007 to 2011. He said that new markets are opening up because even small and medium enterprises such as bookstores and clinics look for a solid IT to strengthen the company.

On the career options for IT professionals, they can join a software company (e.g. analyst, IT sales and marketing executive, software engineer, web designer, database or systems architect, software support engineer, R & D engineer), start their own software company or do freelancing. “Freelancing allows you to choose your own clients, when and where to work, and you get paid in US dollar and spend in ringgit,” he noted.

Another option is virtual collaboration where the IT person works in a global team from home, and is paid in US dollars. “You work as an in-house virtual employee for a foreign company, and the company is saving cost from high wages in their own country.” Lastly, the IT professional can also serve as a new-age e-educator with a global student base, conducting classes/tutorials online and charging in US dollars.

Ishan shares on the IT profession.

Ishan shares on the IT profession.

Ishan also mentioned the latest technologies an IT person must be aware of, such as mobile application development platforms, free and open source software (FOSS), e-commerce technologies, social networking (e.g. Twitter, Facebook) cloud computing (e.g. Google, gmail), and system design and simulation.

He said that many academic institutions, organisations and even enterprises are now moving towards FOSS, and since the FOSS software can’t be directly used for a given scenario, it has to be customised, bringing revenue for the IT person.

He informed that most companies nowadays want to maintain their own websites for faster updates and have a facebook page to do direct marketing, showcase products, and customer relationship management (CRM).

“The plight of IT professionals is that they have to continuously upgrade themselves and keep abreast of the latest technologies and trends or they’ll be the first to go in the current job market,” he advised. He said that technology is moving so fast and the IT person cannot say that he wants to do what he learnt now for the rest of his life.

Part of the crowd.

Part of the crowd.

About 50 people attended the talk, including Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Wong Tat Meng, students from Universiti Utara Malaysia, USM, International Islamic University, Management and Science University, and OUM, and those in software development.