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a lot of troubling news today concerning the IT industry. first, Larry Ellison is saying the good times are over. here is the passage that stood out most to me:

But some analysts say the industry's problems go deeper. Customers already have all the
technology products they need and software makers haven't come up with innovative new
products to spur buying. Indeed, many are fed up after being aggressively sold complex
systems that cost millions to install and did not deliver.

after having spent 3 years designing a system that was indeed complex and "did not deliver" i can wholeheartedly concur with that paragraph. zing!

if this story wasn't enough, the ITAA today released their survey concerning IT spending for the remainder of 2003 and it is 25 pages of bleak news. print it out and read it while you are stuck in traffic commuting to that job that you hate and wish you could quit except for the fact you bought a house, a car, a kid, and lifestyle that requires your subservience to the Monty Burns’ of the world. ooops - sorry, i must have taken the negativity pill. heh.

in all truth, while some of these reports and news blurbs highlight what we already know (these are bad times for IT, my friends), i think the future will hold a lot of success as well. Ellison is partly correct when he said, "The industry's maturing. The Valley will never be what it was." the industry has matured and with that the heady days of 200% annual growth are behind us. but with maturity comes change and those firms who readily adapt will be posed to earn above average returns on investment. i think the same holds true for the IT worker. while it is rather obvious that more and more IT jobs will eventually move themselves off-shore, where labor will be cheap and plentiful, i also think that there will be a burgeoning field for developers and engineers who can understand and architect systems that are inventive and cost-effective. as far as the IT industry goes, we are just exiting the Dark Ages. software development is slow, labor-intensive, costly, and often does not deliver the desired results. you'd think we were still using leaches. at some point the industry is going to have to learn from its mistakes. successful development is going to need a solid basis in a process of software development that is easy to learn, easy to teach, and easy to follow. current tools like Rational Unified Process are useful, but let's face it, when an organization can argue for 5 months over Use Case granularity, then something has to give. RUP is not the answer anymore than Microsoft's Milestone-based approach is. these are stepping stones towards a greater good, much as C progressed out of Bell Labs' B. additionally, the infinite leaps and bounds in software toolsets is slowing (so that something akin to Moore's Law isn't taking place in the software market every 18 months.) this homogenization of toolsets, where such languages as Java and C# share similar structures, uses, and costs of development, will finally allow developers to focus on learning the ins and out of one tool (and hopefully be able catch their breath from the technology treadmill that has been churning since the late 60s, early 70s.) this might allow organizations to finally start to look for ways to make development more science and less art. heck, maybe in the next 20-30 years of the IT industry we can make it out of the Renaissance and into the Industrial Revolution. we can hope!

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