State of IT Hiring

There’s good news and bad news in the future of IT hiring, according to a study by the Society of Information Management (SIM). The upshot, though, is that it’s a fine time to be an IT worker — provided you’ve got strong skills that companies need, as well as a good technical education with a computer science degree or information systems degree.

First, the ill tidings. Almost two-thirds of companies outsource at least some parts of their businesses overseas. They take advantage of lower labor costs, with nearly 25 percent of companies off-shoring existing applications and another 20 percent outsourcing infrastructure management. That means some basic types of systems administration continue to be major targets for restricted hiring or even downsizing.

The more predictable, routine, and standard the work, the greater a chance it has of landing in some other country. That’s because there are potential problems in outsourcing work, including time zone differences, language barriers, and cultural differences, that can all have an impact on how well an arrangement works. By choosing the routine for outsourcing, companies reduce the potential difficulties and also save their own resources for more challenging work that can’t be so easily delegated to others.

On the good news front, next year should see both higher IT budgets and salaries, according to the survey. About 83 percent of those answering thought that their 2011 budget was equal to or greater than it was in 2010; only 48 percent found the same true when comparing 2010 to 2009. Budgets in 2012 are likely to be as large or larger as they were in 2011. Even better news, 92 percent of CIOs said that staff salaries in 2011 were at least as high as those in 2010, which is up from the 83 percent that reported stable salaries in 2010. And 94 percent of CIOs expected staff salaries next year to be at least as high as they were this year; 61 percent expected them to be higher.

How do you help stack the deck so you wind up in the raise line and not the unemployment line? Understand what corporations want and make sure you’re a person who can deliver it. Companies want IT departments to push business process reengineering, strategic planning, and keep data secure. Some of the top technical needs are in business intelligence (BI) and cloud computing. The latter is interesting because CIOs still don’t plan to spend significantly on cloud computing, suggesting that while companies are interested in the technology, they are still cautious and need to learn more. Expect expertise in cloud computing to become more important over time.

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