Hula hoops and pet rocks, the Walkman and the 8 track, flip phones and pagers — all stuff that was wicked cool at the time, but are now relics of history. Are your tech skills outdated? Time to beef up that resume with the latest and greatest? Here are some skills that will no longer land you a sweet gig, along with the skills you need to replace those with.
1. Expiring Windows Products
Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows Server 2003, and Windows Server 2008 will all be defunct by year’s end. In fact, all but Server 2003 are already without support from Microsoft (except for security updates). Knowledge and experience with these packages don’t mean a thing in the workplace anymore, but you can study up on Windows Server 2012, Linux, Windows 10, and Windows Server 10 (to be released later this year). With mixed reviews from the public beta testing, it’s possible that many businesses will switch to Linux in lieu of migrating to Windows 10.
FORTRAN is still in use at many scientific facilities and institutions, but outside that it’s more or less extinct. Developed in 1957, FORTRAN outlived many generations of technology and will go into history as one of the most resilient computer languages ever developed (alongside COBOL). If you want a skill that’s in high demand, study C++ or Dot Net. However, bear in mind that Dot Net is like a rocket ship next to the older, simpler languages. The learning curve is steep.
3. TDM-based Telephony
The telephone system and IT department used to be separate entities, but with VoIP, these two got married. Few businesses use TDM-based PBX anymore. If you want to stay relevant in telephone communications, study up on VoIP.
4. Server Management Skills
The current trend is virtualization of servers, and this is unlikely to change. While a virtualized server is not necessarily a cloud, the cloud does depend on virtualized servers. So whether you plan to work in IT or database administration or a cloud environment, server virtualization skills are a must-have. Much of the help desk software developed today runs in the cloud.
5. Adobe Flash
Adobe Flash was huge in its day, but now with HTML 5, it just isn’t necessary anymore. HTML 5 is capable of producing multimedia content without an extra plug-in, and this is the tool of choice for the majority of modern businesses.
Old Skills That are Still Relevant (No Matter What You Hear)
If you’re reading up to update your tech skills, you’ll find a few recommendations that just aren’t accurate. Here are some age-old skills (at least, in the fast-moving field of technology) that are still useful and relevant on today’s IT help desk.
PC Repair Skills
The reasoning behind recommending that tech workers no longer need PC repair skills is faulty. Though tablet and other mobile devices are selling much faster than PCs, that doesn’t mean that people are no longer buying and using PCs. Most office workers still chug along with desktop computers all day long, and the majority of small businesses and home-based businesses still depend on the good ole PC. Additionally, many gamers and other recreational users prefer PCs over mobile or gaming consoles. If you’ve got PC repair skills, you’ll be in high demand as most technicians are focusing on mobile technologies.
Mainframes and COBOL
Blogs, op-ed pieces, and articles have written the obituaries for mainframes and the COBOL language again and again. But the fact remains that over 70 percent of all business transactions still occur on mainframes, much of which is still processed by COBOL code. As experienced COBOL programmers retire, businesses need new programmers to update and maintain these systems. Want a skill you can learn quickly that will land you a lucrative job with an established, successful company? Learn COBOL.