CIO

Blog: Hiring Trends: Top IT Roles

Denise Dubie recently reported on Forrester Research's August report on IT hiring trends.

Specifically, the top hiring roles/titles within IT right now are:

  • Information/Data Architect
  • Information Security Expert
  • Data- or Content-Oriented Business Analyst
  • Business Architect
  • Enterprise Architect
  • Vendor-Management Expert
  • Enterprise-Application Strategist
  • IT Planner
  • Network Architect
  • Enterprise Project Manager
  • IT Account Manager
  • IT Service Manager
  • Business Process Analyst
  • Desktop Virtualization Expert
  • Mobile Operations and Devices Expert
  • Storage Director.

And the top IT skills in demand right now are:

  • SAP
  • unified messaging
  • wireless networking
  • PHP
  • XML
  • Oracle applications
  • business intelligence (BI)
  • business process management (BPM) and IT process management
  • network security
  • AJAX
  • storage-area networking
  • data warehousing (DW) and data mining (DM)
  • portfolio, program and project management
  • vendor management.

From these article and their underlying research, I've noticed three things.

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First, several of the titles identified are not well-established or generally used in the industry yet. The article specifically notes that many positions are hybrids - a merging of previously unique positions. I also noticed that a number of these titles seem to be renames for existing roles. For example, "enterprise-application strategists" might otherwise be known as the "enterprise architect"; "IT planner" might currently be known as a "IT financial liaison"'; and their "IT enterprise account manager" sounds very much like an "enterprise internal consulting manager". Finally, as always, as new technologies become more widely established, specialists in those technologies become the next "hot" position, such as "Mobile operations and devices experts" and "Desktop virtualization experts".

Second, I noticed a hiring trend in IT from this and prior research articles. Late 2007 and early 2008 I recall reading a number of articles describing how hiring managers and CIOs were looking for more "hands on" managers, and technologists with "deep expertise"—translating to "we want less generalists and more specialists". Now, this and other articles are talking about individuals with "cross-discipline specialization". The trend went from generalists able to add value in multiple roles, to specialists with significant experience in just a few technologies. And now, the trend seems to be that IT hiring leaders are swinging back just a bit and looking for that cross-discipline experience that the business users keep asking for as part of a IT-Business alignment strategy. It's not swung back to generalists—its still noting the need for specialization—but this article points out that multiple specializations are a bigger benefit to a firm's IT team than extreme depth in just a single technology.

Finally, not only have business certifications slid in market value to hiring managers, but so are some technical certifications. This seems in conflict to the hiring trends I identified above. How can firms and clients demand more hands-on skills and greater depth to those skills and experience, and yet not want to see the certifications that prove that we in fact have those skills?

So while some information is troubling, overall these reports provide insight and direction for both hiring managers and job seekers alike.