I have been following Margaret’s March 20th blog, “Global IT Skills shortage fact, or fiction?’ with interest and reading the comments.
CIM co-host John and I had a recent discussion on it today, and I just finished an hour with a researcher for the US department of labour O*NET program where they called for input and we discussed these issues and the profile of IT workers in the future. I find Margaret’s arguments compelling and wanted to add another dimension to this perspective based upon my conversations today.
I see this around me and in my discussions with others worldwide–tech-oriented IT specialist positions will be outsourced. Moreover these positions are on a natural decline due to the evolution of the industry. IT specialists: these are IT pros with narrow deep skills in one area who are known by their immediate peers of their expertise. The impact will be such that 40% of these kinds of jobs will disappear in five years.
Jobs with several deep skills sets including leadership, business process, core company process, relationships-orientation, and industry knowledge – these will be on the rise. In looking at IT trends, there are/will be more automation of previous areas requiring specialist skills. Again this will drive business-facing and business-focus careers for IT pros. Overall, there will be a skill shortage for the latter [Garner calls them versatilists] – not the IT specialist. This is where the mature IT pro should be acknowledged since their broad experience, variety of roles, multiple deep skill sets, and business knowledge can be of great value. A key component here is education of the industry and IT pros to meet these new trends.
Interestingly, ways to gain these kinds of “multi-specialist skills combined with business acumen” is to work for startups, government agencies, and non-profits. Have you considered volunteering for a non-profit IT group?
I also feel that the industry is positioned “now” for a legislated professional designation and a knowledge/skills base that is broader. I talked about this with the O*Net researcher today and that industry, government, educational groups, and societies must drive in this direction. I’m having the same kinds of discussions with vendor groups and other international professional societies. What may be surprising to some but not to me is that there is synergy along these lines and overall general agreement. Moreover, Canada is leading the way. How so, you are asking?
The Canadian IT Body of Knowledge or CITBOK sponsored by CIPS provides this knowledge base with mastery resulting in an Information Systems Professional (I.S.P.) credential. The I.S.P. is a legislated professional designation for IT professionals. It’s an area of increasing focus and worthy of further study.