Tomorrow's Hottest IT Job Skills
Author: Town Hall On-Demand
Find out what IT job skills you need to prepare for the changes sweeping across our industry over the next five years. Join iSpace President Carole Schlocker and other experts in this Town Hall event. (Plus: Read Computerworld's 10 hot IT skills for 2013.)
Watch the complete Town Hall below, or read a summary, or register to watch the highlights in a three-minute "Sound Bites" video and get access to CSC's CIO Barometer, a report illustrating the megatrends affecting all of IT and based on a survey of more than 300 IT executives.
Watch the On-Demand event: Tomorrow's Hottest IT Job Skills
- Carole Schlocker, Queen of iSpace
- Wendy Hartzell, Sales & Marketing CIO, CSC
- Jeff Caruso, Senior Managing Editor, CSC
Tomorrow’s Hottest IT Job Skills
Big Data, BYOD and cloud computing are transforming the way IT services are delivered. How do these trends affect the skills IT professionals need to remain competitive? How valuable are certifications? And how can IT professional best leverage social networking tools to present themselves most effectively?
This CSC Town Hall meeting discussed these topics and more with Wendy Hartzell, CIO of Sales and Marketing at CSC, and Carole Schlocker, president of iSpace, an IT solutions and staffing company.
Discussion began with Computerworld’s recent list of in-demand job skills, a survey that reveals a wide range of needs within IT, ranging from traditional roles in programming and application development, to the influence of newer computing trends such as cloud computing, virtualization, and mobile applications and device management.
Schlocker says the top ranking for programming is well deserved. “We cannot find strong developers - Java people, mobile application developers,” she says. “SharePoint is in demand, and anything to do with business intelligence or analytics. We just can’t find them quickly enough, and when we do, they have multiple offers.”
The big trends
While the latest IT trends such as cloud and mobile computing are driving demand for newly skilled workers, they will affect IT professionals more broadly. “I think cloud computing removes some of the day-to-day tasks for IT professionals,” Hartzell says. “It allows them to focus more on strategic business activities.”
The “bring your own device” trend, Hartzell says, will require IT professionals to adopt a broader view. “BYOD is a complex topic. It expands the way an IT leader views the world. You aren’t managing one set of technologies. You’re managing computers, mobile devices and more.”
Schlocker says today’s trends influence the skill set as well. “IT professional will need more analysis skills, they’ll need to work more with users and vendors, figure out what they need and follow through. Even negotiating skills will be more important.”
All of these changes mean that IT professionals will be expected to play a more visible role in the business. Schlocker says that most companies today expect even deeply technical people to have effective people and communication skills. Good written skills are important as well.
Developing a strategy to keep relevant is important, Hartzell says. “Just continue to evolve. How well you adapt to change is an important signal to employers. Keeping relevant with the latest trends, technologies and platforms. Being active in communities, both online and offline. These are ways of staying on top of the latest topics.”
Schlocker agrees that staying connected to communities is important. “I go to a PHP meet-up on a regular basis. I’m probably the oldest person there but I love it. I come home so energized because they give me a whole new way of looking at things.”
Hartzell says women in IT can take advantage of specialized groups. “From my perspective, women’s leadership groups, women in IT, are always great networking groups because there are a lot of shared experiences that you can speak to or find support with issues you’re dealing with or changes in the environment. Those members are in the same roles as you, and it gives you a great resource to bounce topics off of and to share.”
Tangibles and intangibles
Certifications are one way to remain current and provide documentation of your achievements. But both Hartzell and Schlocker say that certifications, while valuable, aren’t the single answer for today’s IT professional. “Certifications are important but they’re not the be-all and end-all,” Schlocker says. Of certifications, “PMP, security certifications, and ITIL are probably the most important.”
Not surprisingly, social media now plays a large role in career management, and Schlocker counsels all job seekers to actively manage their online persona. “Be aware that you have an online presence whether you set one up or not,” she says. “When people interview you, they do a Google search and they do a Facebook search on you before you show up for that interview. Create a good profile on LinkedIn. You don’t have to be active, but just set up a profile so that when people check you out they see something good.”
Hartzell says that those new to IT can build experience and references through internships. “I think internships are a great idea. If you have the chance to have more than one, that’s great. Not only does it build a good resume, it builds skills that you don’t understand until you go through it.” Hartzell also says that interns learn from the interview process, developing experience that will pay off when they speak to hiring managers in the future.
Schlocker points out that there are also important attributes you can’t easily quantify that still have an impact during the interview and hiring process.
“Having passion and curiosity are two traits you can’t write on a resume” Schlocker says. “I’m always a little leery when I talk to someone about a position and I ask ‘What questions do you have?’ They’ll say ‘Oh, I have no questions, you really gave me a good description.’
“Well, there’s no way I told you everything. There’s no way everything I told you didn’t raise a question in your mind. If that’s true then you’re not a thinking candidate. So you need to be thinking and have a curiosity and have a question.”
Hartzell counsels job seekers against claiming total expertise in any specific area. “With things changing so rapidly, I don’t think you should present yourself a master of something.”
Experienced IT workers should avoid certain phrases, Schlocker says. “Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by saying ‘what we used to do.’ Make your experience current. Instead, say ‘On a project I worked on, here’s the approach we used.’”