Note: This column represents the opinions
of the writer and as such, is not purported as fact|
Just two or three years ago one of the hottest jobs in the world was the
role of "web designer."
It seemed that if you were young, bright, could spell "graphiks" and weren't
totally colour-blind then the world could be your oyster if you sat down
behind a keyboard, mouse and graphics tablet.
The job paid so well that it was not uncommon for young 20-year-old web-designers
to be seen driving around town in flash cars and drinking Lattés like water.
My how things have changed.
These days "average" web designers are a dime a dozen and I suspect there are
more than just a few who are currently flipping burgers for a living.
Check Out The Aardvark PC-Based Digital
Entertainment Centre Project
Why are all but the most skilled web designers having trouble getting work?
Well there are quite a few reasons.
First-up, most companies that needed websites already have one now so the
initial rush to the web has slowed to a crawl. This has meant that many
web design shops that were once crying out for anyone who could hold a
crayon have been forced to lay off staff and retrench significantly.
Secondly, customers have (hopefully) become a little more discerning in
their choice of designer and the demands they place on their website.
A couple of simple pages whacked up in FrontPage with "mailto:" tags and
badly executed graphics simply aren't going to cut it any more -- which
leaves many of the lower-level designers and developers well out of their
Some of the smarter web development houses have shifted their emphasis from
producing individual websites towards creating software or packages to sell
to other designers and developers. Unfortunately, as a result of the general
decline, the market for these products is hardly growing at a significant
rate so it's not a silver-bullet.
So what is the "hot job" for 2002-2003?
Good network engineers are still quite sought-after but, at least on the
local scene, the demand is finite.
Maybe the growth in wireless connectivity will spark the growth of a new
area of expertise and see advent of the wireless "consultant" (gee I hate
What about the "communications integration specialist"?
Will the next most sought-after worker be the one who can tie this huge array
of disparate technology together into a viable, economic solution?
Or maybe, in the wake of Microsoft's increasingly draconian attitudes to
licensing, digital rights management, etc -- we'll see a huge upsurge in demand
for people well versed in Open Source systems such as Linux? Perhaps the
hot job for next year will be ripping out Microsoft's OSes and applications
then replacing them with the O.S. equivalents.
I'd be interested to hear from Aardvark's readers on this subject.
What are you doing now and what do *you* see as being the hot jobs in the
next few years?
Maybe we can get some feedback from people within the tertiary education
sector. What jobs are people training for and what new courses are being
prepared for the future?
If you want to have your say on the contents
of today's column then please do so.
Only comments marked "For Publication" will (if I have time) be published in the
reader's comments section.
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