5 hot IT jobs that are in demand
The era of the computer geek who eats, dreams and sleeps in binary code but doesn’t engage with other departments in the company is over.
“The demand is shifting away from the computer programmer who knows nothing about business to the person who is a hybrid of being very business-savvy, as well as technically proficient,” says Mike Sajor, chief information officer of Apollo Education Group, the parent company of University of Phoenix.
Here are five emerging information technology jobs:
Business engagement professional
In the “old school” way, Sajor explains, employees in the IT department would wait for the business side to tell them what systems they needed implemented to run the company. That’s no longer how it is, he says.
People in this field are computer professionals who understand the nature of their business so well that they can partner with business colleagues to co-design both the business processes and systems support for them simultaneously. Individuals with knowledge of a specific industry, such as accounting, who then get an IT degree and return to work for an accounting firm, he notes, are excellent candidates.
Vendor relationship management specialist
“Many corporations today receive technical services or products from third-party providers to handle one aspect of their business for them, sometimes off-site,” Sajor says, such as data storage or product distribution. That’s where these specialists come in: They negotiate the terms of contracts with the third party and ensure that the contractor lives up to its end of the deal.
This line of work requires the manager to negotiate and write business contracts, as well as possess the technical expertise to understand how the third-party service operates.
Data analytics expert
These analysts take large collections of data that a business might receive, such as past sales transactions or demographics of customers, and use them to make insights, inferences and observations to help a company more effectively meet the needs of its customers.
Success in this job requires multiple skills, including knowledge of databases, how information is retrieved and manipulated, mathematics skills such as statistics and deep knowledge about the business being analyzed.
When it comes to software for running a business, many companies today don’t need to hire professionals to create new systems, because there already are so many applications on the market.
Solutions architects survey the current market and identify the best programs available. They not only know what applications and services can be acquired to run the human resource department, for example, but they understand the integration frameworks that connect new software systems so they mesh with existing systems and run together effectively.
Cloud computing engineer
Ten years ago, most businesses ran their operations on private infrastructure — computers and the networks that connect them. Now, many companies have relocated some or all of their systems to the Internet, on what is known as “the cloud.”
Because of this revolutionary change from in-house computers to running business systems virtually over the Internet, specialists are in demand who understand how to create and manage virtual networks or “cloud” systems, Sajor says. Cloud infrastructure is even moving inside businesses, he notes, interweaving public and private clouds that must be understood and managed effectively.
“These [specialists] have to be knowledgeable about how to acquire services from external suppliers to run a virtual cloud-based system,” Sajor stresses, “but there are a whole range of skills necessary, from understanding how to properly maintain it and keep the network secure, to cost management. All of these are in short supply right now. Designing, building and operating hybrid private/public cloud infrastructure is on the leading edge of technology today.”