CIO Magazine released their 2015 State of the CIO in early 2015. One of the key components of the publication focused on the top five skill shortages Information Technology (IT) is facing. The 2016 version of the CIO report, released a few days ago, doesn't include an IT shortage update. From my perspective as an IT professional and freelance writer, there doesn't appear to be a real difference in the market demand from the 2015 report. So, if you are at a point in your career where you are interested in a change, one of these five paths just might appeal to you.
#5 - Enterprise Architecture
Recent changes impacting the IT landscape have brought concepts like Internet of Things (including wearables), Big Data, and continued mobile growth to the corporation level. Equally as challenging as managing these new needs is the ability to architect solutions appropriately. As a result, corporations have allocated portions of their staff budget for Enterprise Architecture (EA) positions. While a majority of senior IT professionals may have a desire to be in an EA role, the skills and mind sight required to meet corporate demands are often lacking - causing a true shortage in the market. Think you have what it takes to be an EA? Check out this LinkedIn article by Can (Jon) Aydinova, from June 2014:
#4 - Mobile Technologies
The world of mobile technologies is almost a given for skill shortages. Just about every company/vendor that I come into contact with are focusing some of their project teams on mobile technologies. In fact, my team is working on a concept that will assist field staff by presenting a map of current customers and potential customers based upon their current location - across multiple mobile device types. This is just one example of the backlog of requests we are planning to meet over the next year. Mobile development, of course, is just one segment of the mobile technologies area that is experiencing a shortage in qualified resources.
#3 - Application Development (Programming)
With the realization that we are living in the Age of the Customer (Forrester Research), where everything is connected, it should come as no surprise that the programming aspect of application development is currently in a skill shortage. The Age of the Customer represents a new set of requirements and, equally, a new set of challenges. In fact, experienced development managers or technical leads may find the open spaces and challenges for this new age worthy of hanging up their management hat and putting on a programmer cap, beret or fedora.
#2 - Security (Risk Management)
For several years, security has been a key concern in IT. However, more and more corporations are beginning to make security a priority. Static analysis of program code, penetration testing and security reviews/audits have finally become part of the development lifecycle. In fact, I sit on an Architecture Council and we have a dedicated slot during each meeting for a security update. Risk management goes along with this skill shortage, since the reality is that not all security concerns can be addressed immediately. As a result, the management of the risks associated with each shortcoming is often assigned to the same security staff.
Like mobile technologies, there is a wider scope of need in the Security/Risk Management category. If your expertise aligns well within this segment, the list of jobs available might surprise you.
#1 - Big Data (Business Intelligence and Analytics)
It should come as no surprise that Big Data, Business Intelligence (BI) and Analytics are at the top of the skill shortages list. In all likelihood, Big Data ranks in the top three IT priorities for nearly all corporations these days. Corporate entities have realized they are sitting on mountains of data - which they have yet to truly cultivate to benefit their targets, goals and needs. CIO noted that the need for a "Data Scientist" definitely tops their list. Unfortunately, the amount of qualified IT resources with strong data and analytical skills pales in comparison to the number of opportunities available.
If you find working with data from an analytical perspective challenging and exciting, the Big Data world currently has a wide array of opportunities.
As we begin 2016, I don't believe the gap in any of these five skills shortages reduced to the point where they are no longer an issue. Depending on your location (or willingness to relocate), finding opportunities in each of these areas should not be difficult to accomplish. However, I always recommend those seeking new career paths focus on something that they find enjoyment in doing, instead of racing toward the higher paid positions. Otherwise, the money will quickly fall to a lower priority while struggling to be productive at work each day.
Have a really great day!