Hi there, I ran off and did my own thing for 12 years away from heavy IT. I played with robotics, 3D animation and other fun stuff. My serious history included college level teaching and I was a small company IT director (400 employees). When I left Novell 4 was hot (I was a 4 CNE) and NT server 4.0 was slithering it's BS into the field. I would like to jump back in but I need to know what has the largest current and future market share...In other words where should I target my study? I LOVED coding in C but it seems to be gone. From what I have seen of C++ it would irritate me to no end. My first system was an IMSAI with an LED front panel...Yes I am old. Thanks for any help! C Desper
"Hot" is such a subjective term. It really depends on what industry you want to target. If you're just looking for a job doing general IT business computing, I hate to break it to you but most of your jobs are going to deal with MS to some degree or another.
HOWEVER, that being said, there is an upswell in Linux adoption in small-to-medium sized businesses. If you know anything about Unix, it is pretty much the same in Linux (with of course enhancements tacked on over the last many years). You may want to check out Ubuntu (www.ubuntu.org), which is a Linux variant based on Debian Linux. Very easy to implement and use, and it's FREE.
If you want to be a developer specifically, Java was hot but I know that many people are getting nervous now that Sun was taken over by Oracle. You might want to take your C skills and look at some of the GNU compilers that will run under Linux. They, too are free.
Last (and sorry if I'm pontificating a little) there are many large-scale application suites that are really frameworks (SAP, Pivotal, Siebel, etc.) These are really analogous to the old mainframe frameworks (such as McCormick & Dodge) that you just "customized" to create a new app. Yes, I too am old (I used to code in COBOL when I was first starting out!)
If you prefer to stay away from business apps, you might want to choose something more platform-independent, like database administration. Pick a DBMS and learn it inside out, then be a DBA. There will always be data, so there will always be DBAs.
Anyway, as I said at the start of this post (novella?) "Hot" is a subjective term. Things that excite a Unix sysadmin might not be that thrilling for a web designer. Things that excite a data architect might not be that big a deal for a desktop technician. I suggest you peruse some of the more popular trade mags/sites like Ars Technica, Dr. Dobbs and such...try to go in with an open mind. There are some technologies that MS has come up with that are kind of slick, and the adoption is wide and potentially lucrative for the knowledgable professional (can you say "Sharepoint"?)
Hope this helps!