The working dead: IT jobs bound for extinction

Rapid shifts in technologies—and evolving business needs—make career reinvention a matter of survival in the IT industry.

Become An Insider

Sign up now and get FREE access to hundreds of Insider articles, guides, reviews, interviews, blogs, and other premium content. Learn more.

Remember CD-ROMs?

Rob Terry does. For a few years in the mid-1990s, he helped develop interactive discs for several companies, including InfoWorld's sister publication PC World. Terry's job was to create electronic versions of the magazine that connected with this new thing everyone was talking about called the internet.

It didn't last long.

"CD-ROMs were promised as this magical optical drive that would solve all our storage problems," he says. "Back then, authoring expensive glass masters was a mysterious black art. For web/hybrid CDs we had to tag all the hyperlinks by hand inside Word, then ship the documents off to a company in Seattle that would parse them to display inside a browser."

Then the web took off as the publishing medium of choice, instantly turning interactive discs into shiny plastic coasters. Terry moved from electronic publishing to e-commerce, then bio-informatics, designing user interfaces for a wide range of clients. Now he's CTO and founder of Smart Catch, which helps commercial fisheries intelligently manage the fish that end up in their trawl nets.

To continue reading this article register now