- As the lack of radical advancement on the IPv6 front in 2003 shows, there's still relatively little momentum toward IPv6 deployment at the grass roots level. But, as growing membership in the IPv6 Forum (www.ipv6forum.org) and increasing news coverage on IPv6 attest, more and more organizations and businesses are venturing into IPv6 territory. I expect this cautious creep to pick up a bit in 2004.
- Personal firewalls will become ubiquitous on Internet desktops, as will closer attention to OS and application updates, anti-virus software, and other ways to protect oneself from the "unwashed masses" Internet access can attract.
- IP telephony is moving down the food chain from large companies and organizations to small and medium sized businesses. 2004 could be the year it really begins to give the RBOCs and other old-line telcos a bad case of heartburn. (Note: this will also add pressure to the IPv6 movement since there are "only" hundreds of millions of Internet users, but billions of telephones.)
- Managed services of all kinds -- infrastructure, security, performance, QoS, you name it -- will continue to pick up the pieces of modern networking technology, and weld them together into more cohesive, faster, better-integrated networks.
- I'm going out on a limb, and believe that sys/net admin jobs will start heating up in the 2nd half of 2004, as the jobless recovery shifts into hiring mode. As the carriers of networking technology, sys/net administrators will come back into demand, but may find themselves working for managed service providers rather than companies and organizations.
Ed Tittel is a principal at LANWrights, Inc., a network-oriented writing, training, and consulting firm based in Austin, Texas. He is the creator of the Exam Cram series and has worked on over 50 certification-related books on Microsoft, Novell, CompTIA, information security and Sun-related topics. From 1996 until 2001, Ed taught in the Certified Webmaster Program at Austin Community College. He is a member of the NetWorld+ Interop faculty, where he specializes in Windows-related courses on security and performance topics. Ed is also a contributing editor to Certification magazine, a columnist for CramSession.com, a writer for numerous TechTarget Web sites and Series Editor for Que Certification's Exam Cram and Training Guide books.
Ed can help you sift through the myriad of network certifications to find the best programs for your career. Ask him a question or browse his previously addressed Q&As in his Ask-the-Expert section.
Ed also offered his predictions in 2003. Want to see if he was on the mark? Click here.