Tech Skills on the Rise and in Decline
Dennis McCafferty, CIOInsight 570 Times 420 People

The lack of skilled IT workers is hurting the deployment of emerging technology, according to a new survey from Gartner. In areas from cloud to cybersecurity, this crisis is expected to last for years to come.

A number of analysts believe that the nut-and-bolts programming and easy-to-document support jobs will go to third-party providers outside the U.S. In its wake will be a need for IT workers with versatile skill sets not normally found within IT. Abilities such as project management (for intricate, multi-tiered IT projects), public speaking (for interfacing both with corporate business and clients), and mathematical expertise (for engineering and development tasks) are just some of the IT skills that will be in demand in the near future.

It will not only be a diversity of necessary skills, but where those skills can be used that will be crucial. For example, application development skills will be instrumental for those working in the service provider sector, software development area, or on IT teams within large or small organizations. 

It’s safe to bet that the pure technology positions will steadily diversify as complexity within the datacenter increases. This will include roles such as business-enterprise architects, business technologists, systems analysts, network designers, systems auditing, and project managers, including more rounded skills that expand knowledge bases and challenge traditional IT comfort zones. 

The following are some of the key areas where traditional IT administration skill requirements will be changing and where some skills will become obsolete. 

Coding and basic programming will be outsourced beyond US for software that runs on PC. Mobile programming is poised to take huge strides. This means traditional programming languages such as Cobol, Delphi/Object Pascal and Transact-SQL ColdFusion—even Flash will be phased out. 

Taking their place will be, Python, Ruby, HTML5, RESTful Web Services, JavaScript and JQuery, as these skills are best suited for mobile Android, Apple and Windows Phone 7. 

In terms of basic networking, a number of traditional IT operations will be superseded by higher-level skills or eliminated together. Typical network administrator tasks such as wiring and coupling blade servers, updating and installing patches, provisioning storage, will be outdated skills. Server and desktop virtualization will reduce the need for multiple administrators because automation and centralized management will enable a single individual to handle the tasks. 

In the area of communications, instead of traditional telephony, Unified Communications represents a paradigm shift similar to what’s occurring in other technologies. UC combines presence, VoIP, IM, email and conferencing into a single comprehensive service. In the future, one or two systems analysts will centrally handle communication implementation and flow from within the datacenter. 

Data Technology 
Business success will hinge on an organization’s ability to make sense of their vast data and using it to achieve key strategic goals. Demand for SQL database administrators will decrease. Analysts who can identify and predict trends ahead of competition as well as defining what data is needed and where to get it will be in demand. 

An IT professional who has the technology background to offer abstract skills (math, engineering) as well as an ability to interact effectively with the business and service sector (public speaking, interpersonal skills) combined with the intangible (imaging and visualization, imagination) represents key attributes for the successful data technologist. 

The 24/7 business cycle requires company infrastructures to always be up. Losing a day in transactions due to a security breach can be substantial loss in dollars and credibility. Protection from hackers, malware and other breaches requires right security infrastructure architects to build alerting technologies, in-line defense tools and systems designs that can repel such attacks. Traditional back-up and recovery skills sets wil be relegated to third party vendors. 

Technicians who relied on security standardization, procedures, and auditing would not be in demand. New skills include virtualization technologies, centralized managing capabilities via maturing dashboard tools, data mining, and the ability to implement management tools in a company’s public or private cloud. 


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