Tech Careers 2015: Not Just a Skills Game
In 2015, tech pros will find a promising job market. If you have solid skills and a body of expertise, your options will be open. But you’ll also need to be able to adapt to changing expectations from your business-minded employers.
Candidates: Your skills are in demand
2015 presents a favorable environment for IT and engineering job seekers. As of Q3 2014, tech unemployment was under 3%, reports Dice.com. And employers know they are competing for tech talent, so salaries are up. In addition, Gartner and Computerworld both predict that IT spending will increase in 2015, and Computerworld’s Forecast 2015 reports that 24% of surveyed employers will add IT staff.
In its Forecast 2015 survey results, Computerworld also lists the 10 skills expected to be most in demand for tech professionals next year. This skills forecast dovetails with Gartner’s list of the top strategic IT trends for 2015. Both surveys reveal a strong showing in the coming year for fundamentals as well as emphasis on complex roles such as security and governance, big data analytics, and project management.
Expanding expectations for tech staff
Despite the rosy employment picture painted for IT candidates, we keep hearing about companies complaining they can’t find tech pros with the right skillset. A potential challenge handicapping hiring managers is that companies’ requirements aren’t as cut and dried as they once were. Companies are no longer looking to hire specialists who complete their IT to-do list and call it a day. Today’s organizations need crossover experts who understand that IT and business must assist each other for a company to succeed.
CIO gives insight into the new IT roles that are developing. Companies don’t need merely a social media maven, for instance; they need a collaboration and social media evangelist who possesses the marketing and even psychology background to determine the best way to foster internal and external communications.
For IT, organizations need technology brokers who have the sales and tech experience to enable smart technology investments for all internal business departments. IT and development staff also must understand the cloud — so they can work with cloud integration specialists to ensure that all the organization’s apps and software packages play well together. (And, of course, to make certain that sensitive data remains secure!)
In the evolving tech job market, it’s no longer enough for candidates to provide top-notch, specific programming skills. Candidates in today’s market must be able to link what they do to a business requirement — and communicate how they’re solving a need.
For example, a company hiring a data analyst doesn’t need someone who simply generates static reports. What the company really wants is someone who can not only derive data but also put that data into context to show what steps the business must take to meet its goals. An organization seeking a web developer doesn’t just need new web pages. What that organization really wants is someone who understands how users will interact with the site and can craft the interface and content to drive specific actions from visitors.
It’s what you do — and how you do it
Once you refocus your perspective to meet potential employers’ expanded expectations, you must be able to present yourself to them as an expert who possesses diverse skills and show how those skills will help their business thrive. (For tips on how to showcase your skillset, see “A New Look at the Tailored Resume and Cover Letter” in this newsletter.) The future looks bright, and with the right approach, 2015 could be your year to dive into your dream position.