Working in IT is becoming less about technical skills and more about integration. Whereas in decades past your key players in most IT departments were the exceptional developers, key roles are increasingly filled by those who can best integrate readily available components. Even software development has moved in this direction, with the most capable developers being the ones who can creatively write the “glue” that leverages existing libraries, connects to external services, and delivers a new experience in weeks that would take months or years to develop from scratch.
The term “enterprise architect” has become a bit hackneyed, but the analogy is a good one. An architect may not be the best person to swing a hammer, but does have a good idea of modern materials, construction techniques, and vendors who can execute their vision. They also bring knowledge of broad regional and industry styles and trends to bear. While there are still roles requiring deep technical experience, for most corporate IT workers their role will shift from implementation to architecting.
No longer are the cutting edge tools restricted to the domain of massive companies with eight-figure budgets. Now that someone sitting at their kitchen table can access the latest and most powerful technologies at commodity prices, we’re in for a period of innovation the likes of which we haven’t seen since the heady days of the dot-com era.