Does the Wall Street Crisis Spell Trouble for IT?

The turmoil on Wall Street has played out like a drama of Shakespearean magnitude. First Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers disappeared, then Merrill Lynch fell into Bank of America. Now, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are regulated commercial banks. The plot thickened with the promise of a $700 billion government bailout, and executives and average taxpayers alike wonder where the fiasco will lead next.

So far, the effect of the financial crisis on the IT industry is unclear. While some claim technology service providers could benefit, HP recently announced it was cutting up to 24,600 jobs — about half of which would be in the U.S. So does the Wall Street crisis spell tragedy on the IT job front, or is all that dialogue “much ado about nothing?”

According to Jerry Luftman, vice president of academic community affairs for the Society for Information Management (SIM), there’s no need to send IT professionals into full-on panic from the Wall Street and HP reports. But he said it’s always good to be prepared, and recent headlines demonstrate the good sense in revolutionizing one’s skill set.

“The numbers that I’m seeing basically are suggesting there are going to be changes, but the sky is not falling,” said Luftman, who also serves as a distinguished professor and program director of the master’s degree program in Information Systems at Stevens Institute of Technology. “[IT professionals] need to, in their respective companies, really do their homework: Know what’s going on, differentiate rumors from fact. It never…


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