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What to leave behind

Take a moment, and think back to what IT was like 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago.

In 1981, corporate IT was just beginning to take notice of the "personal computer" as a possible business tool. If you are old enough, you may remember that the late 1970s saw the introduction of the first Apple, the Commodore PET, and Radio Shack's TRS-80 personal computer. But it wasn't until IBM introduced the IBM Model 5150 (better known as the IBM-PC) in August 1981 that companies realized the desktop "microcomputer" as a business tool. Today, we've moved beyond simple "desktop" computers - our IT environment is filled with laptops, netbooks, tablets, and even smartphones.

In 1991, the World Wide Web was barely conceived as an idea on the alt.hypertext newsgroup on USENET. Today, we can hardly think of doing any business without the Web at some layer.

As each of these new technologies were introduced, old technologies fell behind. For example, the IBM-PC marked the eventual death of the mainframe. People no longer needed a big central system to do their work. By the 1990s, mainframes were rare finds in any IT backoffice, usually left supporting legacy financial systems.

Now shift your "lens" to look forward. What technologies will fall away? Global Knowledge provides their list of 10 tech skills that are heading the way of the dinosaur:

  1. Software installation and support. More systems are moving to "The Cloud" and "Software as a Service" ("SaaS").

  2. Email.

  3. Telephony. PBX systems are large and expensive, compared to "Voice over IP" ("VoIP") and individual mobile phones. Messaging (chat) is also playing a role in pushing out telephony.

  4. IPv4 networks. We're moving on to IPv6. Are you ready?

  5. Typing.

  6. Non-TCP/IP networks. How many IPX/SPX networks do you see anymore? (Do you even know what IPX/SPX is?)

  7. Hardware.

  8. HTML-only web development.

  9. Older server operating systems and server-based applications.

  10. COBOL. But we've been predicting this one for years. Will we finally see the "death" of COBOL as more conventional server-based applications are re-written for the Cloud?