I’m seeing a rise in job demand and an IT labour shortage. Increased productivity, efficiency, collaboration, business agility, and globalization are all fueled by ICT adoption. We are now past the sector correction that occurred post Y2K and on the curve upwards. This bodes well for you and for IT in general. This also means there is increased need for professionalism or professional certification—in essence credentialing to move IT practitioners into a profession.
There is clearly a rising demand for business analysts and business intelligence specialists that speaks to the Canadian IT Manager blogs on being a versatilist or multi-specialist with business acumen. At INFORMATICS 2006, John Boufford, President of the Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS), described how being a versatilist maps to the CIPS IT Body of Knowledge and professionalism. The CIPS I.S.P. (Information Systems Professional) professional designation is geared for these labour trends and the new demands placed by employers on IT professionals.
I was at the CIPS INFORMATICS symposium this past week where all these areas were explored and caught the keynotes and discussions highlighted in Martin Slofstra’s editorial in www.itbusiness.ca. I recommend you read the piece!
Here are excerpts from Martin’s editorial:
Unlike previous skills shortages focused on technical skills, the current shortage will be in business-related IT occupations such as business analysts and directors of technical implementation.
“The other issue is IT complexity,” said Dave Nikolejsin, CIO of the province of B.C. in an interview after his keynote. “We need people with 15 to 20 years experience who truly understand business and IT, and we don't have anybody in the pipeline.”
Bruce Diemert, director of recruiting firm Robert Half International's operations in Vancouver, confirmed there is need for IT people with soft skills, specifically in communicating, writing and speaking. What CIOs are really looking for, however, is “how well you work in at team” and anyone who can “bridge the gap between business and technology. “There is no shortage of technical skills. You get source this from anywhere in the world,” he said. “But jobs such as business analysts and in areas like business intelligence are going begging.”
Paul Swinwood, president of the Software Human Resource Council, which tracks 27 different IT job categories, said that renewed warnings of skills shortages are not surprising.
John Boufford, vice-president [2006/2007 President] of CIPS, said the industry faces a challenge in that many senior IT people with business backgrounds are retiring or leaving at a time when the industry really needs them. He says the association is looking at a number of ways to bolster the profession especially in the area of curriculum development. At the conference, CIPS announced a revamping of its professional designation for IT workers called the Information Systems Professional (ISP) by making it available to academics, IT leaders and “experienced IT professionals” (those who have experience but not a traditional IT degree.) Previously, the three groups were not eligible for the designation. CIPS also announced the creation of a Body of Knowledge and the revision of its Code of Ethics, which will be of great interest given increased awareness of governance and accountability, said Kerry Augustine, director of the IS Career Centre for Great West Life in Winnipeg. Unlike the Y2K problem when the industry was being reactive, the profession wants to be ready in areas of current compliance laws, ethical behaviour and risk management, or, for that matter, “anywhere you are dealing with the unknown,” he said.
Stephen Ibaraki, FCIPS, I.S.P.