What are you doing to manage your career?
What are your professional goals and what are you doing to make them become a reality?
How will you avoid career obsolescence?
Sometimes these questions provoke a defensive response among IT professionals. What do I mean? Are there plans to outsource us? Is this a veiled 'Dear John' message?
No, but given the rising costs of technology in an ever-changing field, I strongly suggest that you have an ongoing career plan. Just because you currently have a job, benefits and a fair amount of job security does not mean things can't happen down the road. Higher education is entering a period of much greater accountability. The cost of college is too great not to. Constituents will challenge us to prove our value, to cut our costs, to look at outsourcing and other possibilities. Computing is becoming commoditized and more and more there will be options for outsourcing. We cannot rest on laurels or succumb to a sense of entitlement. We must continually reinvent ourselves and be ready for what's coming.
Don't panic. Be realistic. There are many career strategies you can implement to keep yourself current. First, start reading the writing on the walls. Professional trade journals are ripe with trends emerging in our technology. Engage in discussions and career listservs. Become aware of and look for new opportunities to add value in your organization.
Make a plan. Set goals and start taking steps in that direction.
Consider what type of training you need. Often times technology workers tend to focus on, well, technology training. That's important. So, too, are developing some of the 'softer' skills, like writing and communication, project management and team development. We will also need leaders for tomorrow. How many of you would be willing to take a management role? MBA?
Never assume that your career plan is your employer's responsibility. While we have an interest and will do what we can, it would be a grave mistake to assume that the organization will carry you through to age 65. Leadership and management are more transient, hence you can never depend on anything over a period of time.
It's YOUR career. If you don't take charge of it, you'll end up where it takes you, for better or worse.
A book you might find useful is JobShift. It'll help you think of yourself as your own business.