Wednesday, January 29, 2014

8 hot IT skills for 2014

Friday, January 24, 2014

IDC: Big Data tech is likely to surge

IDC: Big Data tech is likely to surge
IDC is predicting that Big Data technology and services will outpace the information and communications tech market in the next several years. "The Big Data market is expanding rapidly as large IT companies and startups vie for customers and market share," said IDC's Dan Vesset. Cloud infrastructure will see the highest compound annual growth rate, at 49%, IDC says.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Tech industry sees a shift to independent workers -- and different kinds of opportunities for IT pros

Your next job, next year, may be self-employment

Tech industry sees a shift to independent workers -- and different kinds of opportunities for IT pros

The tech industry is seeing a shift toward a more independent, contingent IT workforce. And while that trend might not be bad for retiring baby boomer IT professionals, it could mean younger and mid-career workers need to prepare to make a living solo.

About 18% of all IT workers today are self-employed, according to an analysis by Emergent Research, a firm focused on small businesses trends. This independent IT workforce is growing at the rate of about 7% per year, which is faster than the overall growth rate for independent workers generally, at 5.5%.

The definition of independent workers covers people who work at least 15 hours a week.

Steve King, a partner at Emergent, said the growth in independent workers is being driven by companies that want to stay ahead of change, and can bring in workers with the right skills. "In today's world, change is happening so quickly that everyone is trying to figure out how to be more flexible and agile, cut fixed costs and move to variable costs," said King. "Unfortunately, people are viewed as a fixed cost."

King worked with MBO Partners to produce a recent study that estimated the entire independent worker headcount in the U.S., for all occupations, at 17.7 million. They also estimate that around one million of them are IT professionals.

A separate analysis by research firm Computer Economics finds a similar trend. Over the last two years, there has been a spike in the use of contract labor among large IT organizations -- firms with IT operational budgets of more than $20 million, according to John Longwell, vice president of research at Computer Economics.

This year, contract workers make up 15% of a typical large organization's IT staff at the median. This is up from a median of just 6% in 2011, said Longwell. The last time there was a similar increase in contract workers was in 1998, during the boom and the run-up to Y2K remediation efforts. Computer Economics recently published a research brief on the topic.

"The difference now is that use of contract or temporary workers is not being driven by a boom, but rather by a reluctance to hire permanent workers as the economy improves," Longwell said.

Computer Economics expects large IT organizations to step up hiring in 2014, which may cause the percentage of contract workers to decline back to a more normal 10% level. But, Longwell cautioned, it's not clear whether that new hiring will be involve full-time employees or even more contract labor.

"There are a lot of different variables that go into the decision to use temporary, rather than permanent, employees, and one of them is the outlook for sustained growth," said Longwell.

IT hiring has slowed after the past several months, according to recent reports.

Jeff Wald, co-founder and COO of Work Market, believes that demand for independent employees will only increase. That's based on Work Market's own surveys.

King said the good news, particularly for people with skills, "is there is a lot more opportunity to find part-time employment and set up your own shop and work as a consultant and contractor than there has been in the past."

But what if you want to keep working full-time?

King said young workers, who may change jobs frequently, already have back-up plans for independent work, but mid-career workers may not be as prepared. He recommends having an action plan. That may include thinking about how to earn a living as a solo worker, and developing networks outside the office. A lot of people are already moonlighting on part-time job services to "get a sense of what's going on," he said.

But there will also be full-time opportunities for younger workers as baby boomers gradually leave the workforce.

In California, for instance, Ron Hughes, the chief deputy CIO of the state's Department of Technology who recently spoke at a Gartner Data Center conference, urged younger workers to consider working for state IT shops.

In Hughes agency of 750 employees, 53% are already eligible for retirement, and in the mainframe group, a subset of the overall number, 73% are eligible to retire.

"The opportunities are going to be phenomenal," said Hughes.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Should everyone learn how to code?

Should everyone learn how to code?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

IT jobs market looking up, but be sure to bring your social skills

The New Year is shaping up to be a bright one for technology professionals, according to a new report from job site 
In a survey of 860 tech-focused hiring managers and recruiters, 73% reported planning to hire more candidates in the next six months, and 24% percent said their additional hiring will be substantial. That's good news for anyone looking to make a change in 2014.
But expect the IT landscape to change, too.
Here's a look at five predictions on hot skills, evolving roles, and how social media will change recruiting.
1. Big data skills heat up. Companies were quick this year to adopt and invest in social, mobile, and cloud, but the rise of these technologies has created an overwhelming amount of valuable data that businesses need to make sense of, said John Michelsen, CTO of software management company CA Technologies.
"Big data demands a new breed of data scientists, and advancements in mobility, social, and sensing technologies rely on resetting the design and architecture of applications and user interfaces," he said. "These are highly specialized skills currently lacking and impossible to recruit completely within any one organization."
Debra Germaine, managing partner at executive recruiting firm CTPartners, said that data scientists and data analytics leaders will be essential, especially in the consulting, retail, and banking markets.
"Enhanced customer relationship management and the development of products and services based on predictive consumer behavior spending patterns require the need for advanced interpretation of complex data sets," she said. "Using analytics and customer data is now primarily seen as a competitive tool that has calculated ROI."
2. SAP voids are still hard to fill. SAP database skills might no longer be sexy, but the demand is still high, said Rona Borre, CEO of IT recruiting firm Instant Technology.
"Assigning full-time resources to the SAP space is very difficult for businesses, especially in the US, but the demand for these people and skills will still be high in 2014," she said. "SAP isn't as exciting as something like mobility or big data. It's hard to find database people now and it will become harder because it's not that sexy skill."
3. CIO roles expand with more responsibilities.
"CIO" no longer stands for "career is over." Rather, the role is undergoing an evolution that positions it as more critical to most organizations than ever before, according to CTPartners' Germaine.
"The CIO of the coming years is at the forefront of many trends associated with other hot jobs: data, mobile, digital and analytics," she said. "The CIO's focus has migrated from the back office to the boardroom, making the role more visible, in greater demand, and hotter than ever. In addition, many companies are adding "and SVP" or other monikers to CIO titles. The dual titles reflect the increasing importance of IT within organizations and the increasing responsibility of the CIO."
4. Recruiting gets more social. The days when your resume alone got you interviews are over, said Shon Burton, founder of software company HiringSolved. It's not only about your skills on paper, it's also about your social presence.
"If you look at the evolution of recruiting, it started with going through phone books, then job boards, and what's changed everything today is that everyone has a social footprint," Burton said. "All this information offers us a much more rich profile of candidates than we had before."
Your social footprint can be a pro or con when you're looking for a new job, he said. Be wary of how you present yourself online, and take steps to improve your online presence. This might include answering questions in forums related to your profession or starting a blog. The goal, Burton said, is to provide Google and other search engines with a signal of your professional self rather than silence when recruiters or hiring managers search for you.
5. Talent management becomes social. Although social has changed how businesses recruit talent, it is also changing how they retain it, according to Scott Hebner, VP of social business at IBM. In 2014, say goodbye to the traditional HR survey and expect new methods to assess, develop, and retain talent.
"Organizations are searching for a means to not only recruit the right candidates, but more importantly, retain and nurture the talent to become passionate, engaged, and loyal," Hebner said. "In 2014, we'll begin to see organizations tapping social and behavioral data to better understand what is important to employees, what motivates them, why they stay with an organization, and much more."

CompTIA SmartBrief