IT evolves very quickly. New products are coming into the market by the month. The skills required to handle the technology have to be updated frequently. This is always a problem for the technicians that they have to keep on learning new techniques, some from scratch. IT managers are a little bit better because managerial skills may stay a little longer than technology. Although IT managers may not be required to handle day-to-day technical details, they have to keep abreast of the development in the field and know the whats and whys.
I was amused to read an article from Network World Asia on the top 10 dying computer skills. This is the thing which IT managers have to keep in mind: to know the usefulness of the skills of your technicians. The article actually said dead computer skills, but there is still a little demand on some of the skills as there are some companies which are using old IT infrastructure set up some years ago. Technicians with old skills can still make a living, for the time being, on maintenance work.
The list of 10 may not be agreed by everybody. There are certainly more than 10 obsolete skills; and someone is certainly still using the old technology and happy about it. Just take a look below to refresh your mind.
1. Cobol – The last time the Cobol rush is the Y2K delusion when very old machines were to be rescued. Not any more now.
2. Non-relational DBMS – They have been replaced by the relational DBMS approach, embodied by SQL databases such as DB2, Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server.
3. Non-IP networks – TCP/IP has largely taken over the networking world, and as a result, there is less demand than ever for IBM Systems Network Architecture (SNA) skills.
4. cc:Mail – This store-and-forward LAN-based e-mail system from the 1980s was once used by about 20 million people. However, as e-mail was integrated into more-complex systems such as Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange, its popularity waned, and in 2000, it was withdrawn from the market.
5. ColdFusion – This once-popular Web programming language released in the mid-1990s has been superseded by other development platforms, including Microsoft’s Active Server Pages and .Net, as well as Java, PHP and other open-source languages.
6. C programming – As the Web takes over, basic C languages are also becoming less relevant, although C++ and C Sharp are still alive.
7. PowerBuilder – Today, PowerBuilder developers are at the very bottom of the list of in-demand application development and platform skills, with pay about equal to Cobol programmers. Nevertheless, PowerBuilder 11 expected to be released this year, which has the ability to generate .Net code, may still be available.
8. Certified NetWare Engineers – Everyone had Novell in the 90’s. But within a two-year period, they’d all switched to NT. Novell has retired several of its NetWare certifications, including Master CNE and NetWare 5 CNE, and it plans to retire NetWare 6 CNE.
9. PC network administrators – With the accelerating move to consolidate Windows servers, some see substantially less demand for PC network administrators.
10. OS/2 – Initially created by Microsoft and IBM and released with great fanfare in 1987, the collaboration soon unraveled. IBM finally discontinued sales in 2005.