Computer Hardware Support: An Endangered Species?

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computer endangered species list

Changing Times in IT

Is computer hardware support dead?  Will we see the end of certified technicians as we know them?  Have laptops, tablets and smartphones made desktop support irrelevant?  Have your A+ and Network+ certifications been made useless by technology?

I recently received an article via email from Global Knowledge, written by Randy Muller an IT certified instructor with Global Knowledge.

The article was titled: 10 Tech Skills Heading the Way of the Dinosaur – 2012 Edition.  Apparently this is something they write annually, you can click on the link to check it out, it’s actually pretty good.

Dying Technologies

The article touches on those technologies/skills/software apps that as a result of the rapid changes in technology, have been or will be rendered obsolete or what Randy Muller calls “IT Endangered Species List for 2012”.

They are as follows:

  1. Email
  2. Computer Hardware Support (This is the one I want to discuss)
  3.  COBOL
  4. Adobe Flash Mobile
  5. Windows 2000 and Before (Windows XP, 98, 95, 3.x)
  6. Traditional Telephony
  7. Networking
  8. Microsoft Silverlight
  9. Software and Network
  10. ColdFusion

Mr. Muller goes on to say that if you have been depending on these technologies, skills or software, you may want to seriously consider expanding your skill-sets, because you are risking becoming extinct.

First of all there are a few on the list that I totally agree on, such as COBOL and all of the old operating systems prior to XP.  I don’t know enough about Silverlight and ColdFusion to render a verdict.  However, I do not agree with Randy’s verdict for Computer Hardware Support skills. My response to this prediction is “Please… Spare… Me”.

Boots on the Ground

If I may, I’d like to use a military example to help support why I disagree.  In the world of military conflicts and wars, no matter how technology advanced they have become, no matter how many smart-bombs we use, no matter how many jet fighters we put in the air, no matter how many drones we launch… You don’t achieve total victory until you put “Boots on the Ground”.  Now what I mean by “Boots on the Ground” is that you don’t achieve victory until you have dispatched the infantry. It’s the infantry that has to go in and do the dirty work.

While I do not want to trivialize war (please forgive me) I wanted to use war as an example to support my position regarding Computer Hardware Support.  I don’t care how many laptops, tablets or smartphones they make, you can take your pick, but understand this, there will always be a need for someone to troubleshoot that device.  In addition, I know that we now have the above devices to deal with, but there will always be a place for the desktop computer.  I also realize that those skills will continue to evolve, but the basics skills needed to troubleshoot PC devices will never change.

Are Desktops Dead?

I own a laptop (Hewlett Packard), I own a smartphone (Samsung Captivate), we even have a tablet (ASUS Transformer), however, when I really need to tackle a job that requires maximum processing power, I usually sit down in front of my quad cored CPU, 8GB RAMed, 23 inch LCD Screened, 64bit OS Powered Desktop.   Nothing else can compare and although tablets have cut into desktop sales, the last time I checked, PC desktop sales were still strong.

The Rising of the Cloud

Lastly the article also talked about how “the rise of tablets and the cloud will make many hardware-based skills outdated”.  By the way, he is referring to cloud computing (Where’ve you been?).  While I like where technology is headed, our confidence in cloud technology is a bit premature (in my opinion).  I don’t know about you, but the cloud needs to become a little bit more secure and dynamic storage companies a little more trusting before I completely turn my personal and private data over to them… Sorry, I am just not there yet.

Sound Off

What are your thought?  I would like to know your opinion.  Are there any techs that or other IT pros that think like me?


  1. Bruce Fenn
  2. John

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