It’s amazing to me how everything in life seems to come full circle.

I was reminded of this recently after attending a specialist conference in November. I’ve been part of this particular community since the early days of System Center (before System Center was an actual name) and seeing everyone again left me extra nostalgic. But, it wasn’t attending this conference that specifically caused me to think back on the changes in the IT landscape, it was this conference in addition to the 15 or more that I attended in 2015. My experience with the various conferences over the past year proved to me that there’s a strong gravitational rift in how IT should be approaching their profession in 2016.

When I started life as an IT professional (way back in the early 1990’s), the profession was about knowing how to work with everything in the environment – an IT Generalist. I needed to know something about everything that was implemented and deployed in the company for which I worked. We were cross-trained, youthful, and energetic.

Fast forward a few years, and the IT profession took a different turn. IT Specialists emerged. As IT became a more trusted and steadfast business partner, IT professionals could choose the products and systems they wanted to work with. Particularly in larger organizations, there were entire teams designated to support things like SQL Server, Windows Server, Windows workstation, Exchange, SharePoint, etc.

While IT Specialists still exist today, the IT Generalist is making a strong comeback. Knowing the details about numerous products is becoming more critical. There’s many things you can attribute to the changes in IT, but I think the biggest is probably the increased acceptance of the Cloud. And, those that are choosing to educate themselves on a varied stack of technologies instead of one or two areas are finding much bigger employment and professional advancement successes.

This doesn’t mean that IT Specialists are going the way of the Dodo bird, or that new opportunities will only be filled by IT Generalists. It just means that in the new IT economy, there’s finally room for both once again. Both are required to ensure success.

This is one of the reasons why IT/Dev Connections is structured the way it is. IT/Dev Connections offers the following 5 distinct tracks:

  • Cloud and Data Center
  • Data Platform and Business Intelligence
  • Enterprise Collaboration
  • Enterprise Management, Mobility, and Security
  • Development and DevOps

So, for those IT Specialists, you can choose and stick with your area of expertise the entire week. But, because IT/Dev Connections is architected to seem like 5 conferences in one, you can also jump tracks and fulfill your IT Generalist needs.

As we dip into 2016 here shortly, we’ll be rolling out our conference catalog so you’ll be able to select your path – choose your own destiny. IT Specialist or IT Generalist – the choice is intimately yours.

IT/Dev Connections 2016: Learn more, do more