10 IT Skills Rapidly Headed Toward Extinction

Obsolete-Proof Your IT Resume

Expert in server administration, ERP support and IT hardware repair? Here is some bad news. While those skills once demanded big bucks in the IT job market, today those IT advantages are rapidly turning into resume liabilities as those skills quickly approach extinction.

To help you steer clear of career faux pas, Global Knowledge, a business skills training firm, has drafted a list of "Ten IT Skills on the Brink of Extinction." What follows is Global Knowledge's list.

1. COBOL, Fortran and Other Mainframe Programming Languages

Object-oriented languages like Objective C, Java, C++ and C are quickly usurping mainframe programming languages such as COBOL#. Global Knowledge suggests dropping COBOL and Fortran like a lead balloon, or risk competing in an ever-shrinking IT coding niche that will soon disappear.

2. Windows OS Experts, Heed This

If you're a Windows XP, Vista and Windows Server 2003 expert hoping for a bright IT career supporting those platforms, you're in deep trouble. Global Knowledge points out the obvious with this one. Windows XP, Vista and Windows Server 2003 all face end-of-support issues in 2014. If your biggest IT skill is servicing one of those operating systems, you might be dealing with similar end-of-career issues if you aren't careful.

3. An IT Skill Aging As Fast As The Rotary Phone

IT skills for PBX systems and public-switched telephone networks have a career life expectancy about as promising as the rotary phone. Global Knowledge advises you to drop the PSTNs from your resume and instead focus virtualized versions of PBX and public-switched telephone networks based on servers with the same and more functionality in software.

4. C'est La Vie Silverlight

There was a time when Microsoft's Silverlight positioned itself against Adobe as a more efficient alternative to Adobe Flash. But the interactive Windows add-on, Silverlight, never caught fire. Worse, it still doesn't work on the Windows Store (a.k.a. Metro) or Microsoft's own Windows Phone. Global Knowledge said Silverlight's days are numbered, along with any developer that isn't becoming an expert in its successor, HTML5.

5. The Shifting Sands Of Middleware Support

Demand for middleware support is on the skids as more operating systems are taking up the functions of many middleware packages, says Global Knowledge. "By their definition, legacy systems are older solutions being used until they can be replaced, which removes the need for the middleware" and those IT pros that support them.

6. Adobe Flash: Dead IT Skill Walking

Adobe's Flash technology may still be widely used, but it's soon going to be overshadowed by HTML5, an open standard for creating dynamic Web content that doesn't have the same security baggage as Flash. As Global Knowledge points out, Adobe dropped support of the mobile platform Flash back in 2011.

While Flash is not supported among major mobile operating systems, HTML5 is supported on most desktop operating systems, along with iOS, Android, Mac, Windows and Linux. Global Knowledge’s point: HTML5 will soon replace Flash, so start brushing up on your HTML5 coding chops.

7. Software Installation And Support

R.I.P. shrink-wrap software. Next in the IT Grim Reaper's sights are the IT pros that specialize in software installations and those that support software locally. The move to the cloud, and the rise in popularity of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has made patching and upgrading software on a local PC as quaint as that ancient master installation CD.

8. Disposable IT Economy

Here is a quiz. If a rapidly aging $1,000 laptop costs $700 to repair and a better peppier replacement costs $700 new, what do you do? Fix it, or replace it? More often, it's cheaper to replace broken IT hardware and components than to fix them. That means if your primary business is hardware repair, you may want to start looking for a new job. Tip: Don't forget to recycle.

9. Server Admin: A Dying Breed

Blame the influx of virtual servers, such as VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Citrix XenServer, on this trend. Global Knowledge says as virtualization becomes more commonplace, fewer physical servers are being deployed, and the demand for server administrators -- who only know server administration -- is in rapid decline.

10. Cloud Claims More IT Casualties: CRM, ERP and SCM Applications Support

As more physical workloads move to the cloud, the number of IT support jobs related to them dry up. That's especially true, according to Global Knowledge, when it comes to customer relationship management (CRM) applications like PeopleSoft and Siebel, which are both going away in favor of cloud-hosted apps. Global Knowledge also notes the same holds true for application support related to enterprise resource planning and supply chain management.

Top In-Demand IT Skills

While Global Knowledge focuses on 10 IT skills that are quickly losing value in the job market, it also offers a glimpse into a more promising future. As part of its look into IT workforce skills, the business-training firm also offers a list of in-demand IT job skills.