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Firms seek IT professionals with technical and decision making skills

Employers are increasingly looking for commercially-focused traits along with technology skills when recruiting IT professionals, according to a hiring expert.

As changing job roles create new titles such as mobility engineer, applications manager and UX designer, a new set of skills is also required.

Robert Half Technology associate director Jon Chapman said companies had expanded expectations to include the skills that not only deliver technology, but provide decision support to the upper management.

“No one is getting a pat on the head for keeping the lights on or latency that is almost a given these days,” he said. “You have business leaders looking for their hires to actually assist them with decisions.”

He said the increasingly marketable skills in demand by employers today were web presence including e-commerce, virtualisation, social media and business intelligence.

“There are a lot of companies now that are on the brink of trying to engage in these new spate of technologies that are not well-versed on what they can do for them so they are looking for advice on what path to take,” Mr Chapman said. “How to select, initiate and manage these environments.”

He said those with both decision support and tech support skills were paid a premium.

“For example, someone who can really set up a virtualised environment could save you two or three headcount in server engineers,” Mr Chapman said. “So you can naturally afford to pay that person a premium because of the inherent saving they represent.”

“So where a server engineer might be paid $80,000, someone who can select, initiate and manage a virtualised environment might be commanding $120,000-plus.”

Mr Chapman said other “business-oriented” competencies that employers were increasingly interested in were vendor management/procurement, system integration as well as information security.

He said IT professionals were now involved in guiding critical business decisions such as systems compatibility, which was a key consideration in mergers and acquisitions activity.

“The net result is ending up with IT professionals having to take a more helicopter view on technology and have a broader understanding of the emerging suite of technologies rather than these subject matter expert-type guys who used to be incredibly popular.”

Reinvent Your Career would like to thank The Australian where this article first appeared.

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