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IT skills in hot demand, particularly in the Cloud and Big Data sectors

Julia Talevski and Hafizah Osman | June 28, 2013
But it's a complex market with a lot of variations.

Despite the threat of rising unemployment figures, the IT industry itself has remained remarkably resilient. However, there is a serious shortage of niche skills particularly in high demand areas such as Cloud computing, Big Data and app development. But the demand is not consistent in every geography according to Hudson global resources IT&T practice manager, Martin Retschko.

"It's a complex market that we operate in and there are certain areas of demand within technology — we're seeing a push for digital specialists, from technical to more business related professionals," he said.

Retschko said Cloud and customer-centric technology were particular areas where it was seeing demand for experts, as well as software development, Java skills, Web development and software engineering.

Splunk A/NZ country manager, Daniel Miller, said the skillset required for Cloud and Big Data was hard to find.

"We're also now starting to see organisations trying to find a skill set that could help them build enterprise grade solutions out of open source technology; it is a rare skill," Miller said.

On a national basis, ACS head of policy and external affairs, Adam Redman, noted particular demand for business analysts, social media and app developers, particularly in gamification, which involves applying the mechanics and narrative structure of a game into sales and marketing, learning and customer experience.

Redman said there was also bias amongst employers to use short-term contractors rather than hire people for full-time positions. The time frame for contract workers has also shrunk from a 12-24 months to about two months for some IT professions.

"IT people are usually quicker than other professions at keeping their skills up to date," he said. " The IT industry is continuously evolving and IT professionals need do that as well."

ASI Solutions director, Maree Lowe, highlighted one of the biggest issues driving the possibility of a skills shortage, was training.

"We need to rethink how we're re-skilling people. I don't think there's enough focus on training and the way the industry is working on training with conferences is old-fashioned," she said.

Lowe suggested the Government as well as vendors should provide rebates and incentives for training. "We've got to continually address the cost of training people up in all this new technology. Everybody has had to make cuts in the past 24 months, but you can't cut training because that's what keeps you moving forward," she said.

Express Data CEO, David Gage, said technical sales, specialised marketing roles and solutions architects, were competitive areas of attracting talent.

"It's not just about the salary, they want to understand what the incremental benefits are, training and development opportunities, and what a career roadmap may look like for them. Those areas are key in attracting talent," Gage said.


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