Sunday, 18 November 2007

Predicting the future

Attempt, in 350-500 words, to predict how a person holding the same position as you are in now, would describe his/her position in ten years' time. Will the position still exist? What will be similar to today, and what will be different? What training will the position require? What elements will be automated? If your job description is complex, simply choose one aspect of it. Whatever you predict, I expect you to substantiate your claim as well as you presently can. You are allowed to “peek ahead” in our textbook, quote outside references, or whatever else you think will convince us.

I fully expect the position that I hold to exist in ten years time. I foresee that the manual process of software development will become more automated but that the wider responsibilities of the position - supporting existing database applications, providing expertise to implement new projects and helping to facilitate business change - will still be the same a decade from today.Part of my job involves developing software solutions that handle date in different formats. Whenever I need to access new data or transform data from one format to another I have to write a new query which can be time consuming. I expect that advances in programming languages such as the Microsoft LINQ Project will revolutionise this. "In short, LINQ would meld queries of multiple data stores into a common development environment, transforming the way queries are programmed into code" (Schwartz & Desmond, 2007). Instead of having to use a separate set of editing tools or a separate syntax to deal with different data sources I expect to be able to work with all data through one interface and one common set of commands, and to save myself lots of time in the process.

My organisation has begun to implement hardware and software infrastructure to communicate with ContactPoint, a national UK database that will store information on children and their interaction with the authorities. As recently as twelve months ago few people in my organisation had heard of ContactPoint; now it is having to cope with issues such as data cleansing and transferring data to the national index via an API interface. The increasing desire of central government to make data available at a national level is one of the reasons why I don't see my position - which is to build and support the infrastructure - changing too much. I envisage, for example, that the government will want to build and index to store information about people claiming income support and another raft of changes to make this happen will need to be planned, implemented and supported.Brookshear (2007: 491) states “without a doubt, advances being made in artificial intelligence have the potential of benefiting humankind” and other revolutions in the field of computer science such as quantum computing and robotics have the potential to change the world. But I don’t think that these will trickle down to local government IT in the next ten years; I feel that my position is pretty safe from drastic change.

References:Schwartz, J and Desmond, M (2007) "Looking to LINQ: Will Microsoft's Language Integrated Query transform programmatic data access?" [Online] 1105 Media Inc, CA, USAAvailable from (Accessed 16th Nov 2007)

Brookshear, J. G. (2007) Computer Science: An Overview 9th. Ed.Boston: PearsonSamuel Sambasivam writes:

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