Employment Trends of Computing Industry: Guidelines for Computing Students

Along the road of life, you make many decisions. The decisions you have made will range from the trivial to crucial. For computing students, it is very important that what you decide now will determine the kind of person you become later. Taking decisions at this crucial stage will affect your future. So it’s not best, however, to base your career decision on today’s environment as you will enter the workforce after a couple of years from now, for example, after completing your degree program. So where is the future of the labor market headed?

You may have read, as it is predicted, that between 2013 and 2020 industries occupations related to health care, personal care and social assistance, and construction are expected to experience the fastest job growth. Some argue that boomer generation is coming into retirement, 5.7 million new jobs expected by 2020, an increase of 33%. But you must not forget, the latest technologies have taken up many jobs which were usually performed by human. As a result, we may not have the expected number of jobs. So, you must keep an eye on the trends of technology driven global society. Someone may suggest you that skill of Front-End Development, including the layout and functioning of a Website using Java, ASP.NET, HTML and other languages are enough. In reality, it is not the case. Be vigilant, being computing graduates, to be hired in today’s competitive market, it’s crucial for you to prove that in addition to computing and programming knowledge, you have strong command on soft skills, communication and critical thinking skills, and sales and marketing savvy. It is most important to be aware of the most in demand skills. For example, according to Baseline.com 2013’s top in-demand technology Skills include Mobile Development (iOS, Android). Gartner forecasts that mobile device sales will reach 1.9 billion this year, driving the demand for Apple and Android hotshots. Cloud Computing Cloud computing is expected to grow to a $121 billion market by 2015. Big Data expected to grow into a $16.9 billion market by 2015, enterprises will continue to seek IT workers who know Hadoop, MongoBD and NoSQL. Ruby on Rails has won a “Hacker of the Year” award from Google. Java Java has been holding steady with the #2 popularity rating, as calculated by the TIOBE Programming Community Index. (C is #1.). PHP This server-side scripting language is now installed on more than 244 million Websites. Linux More than 90% of today’s 500 fastest supercomputers run a version of Linux. And its mascot, “Tux,” turns 17 this year.

It is equally important to be aware of those skills which are not in demand. For example, in his article Brianlowell has listed top 10 technical skillsets that are becoming a thing of the past. These are Windows XP / 2003 and Earlier, Silverlight, Adobe Flash, COBOL, FORTRAN, and other Mainframe Languages, Lotus Notes Administrator, Novell GroupWise Administrator, Traditional Telephony, Those with only Server Administrator Skills, Help Desk Technicians / Level 1 Support, PC Repair Technicians. He concluded his article with comments that the pace of change in IT is very high and increasing at an ever faster rate. To keep up and stay employable, it is important to see what is happening and be prepared for what is coming.

You must be aware of the fact that your technology skills have a two year half-life. The reason your technical marketability degrades so quickly is because technology, like time, marches forward. Software companies continually update their applications. Hardware vendors upgrade their hardware and software control systems on an on-going basis. Also, technology oriented mega-trends like cloud computing and the proliferation of mobile devices are continually driving and transforming our industry.

In his blog, Brian Lowell presents a statistical analysis that looks at the demand for more than 629 skills both certified and noncertified and what is being paid for those skills over and above base salary. This analysis can help you make a decision to strengthen your skillset. The below given data is also available on http://www.cio.com

1. Requirements Engineering and Analysis Skills

These are the skills required to determine the needs of IT to create and maintain software, products and services while taking into account many factors and stakeholder requirements. This is crucial to software development and many other evolutions that go on within IT. In the last 3 months, this skill has seen an increase in value/demand of 27.3 percent. While engineering and analysis skill has been in demand for years, according to Foote, the cloud is driving much of this growth.

“Everyone who invests in systems has to do requirements analysis and what’s happened is the cloud,” says Foote. He adds that there is a chance that analytics, security or mobile could also be a part of this upward trend.

Salary Range: $65,000-$104,000

2. SAP Supply Chain Management Skills

This skill surrounds a software module from the German company SAP. So many companies are using it that it needed to be included in this list, according to Foote. This software focuses on logistics to allow companies to be more agile and work more effectively with their partners. “Yes it’s vendor [specific],” says Foote, “but it’s the largest vendor of business software in the world. We track 90 different SAP modules in our skills pay.”

Employers are paying a skills premium of 10-14 percent of base pay for this role, which has grown 20 percent in the last three months.

Average Salary: $88,000

3. HBase Skills

HBase is an open-source non-relational database originally created by Google. It’s written in Java and has been a top level project within Apache’s Software Foundation. It’s being used more as companies start to incorporate big data into their decision-making processes. HBase is used for real-time read/write access to large datasets.

“This is the push for all different types of technology companies to harness the power of big data and what it can do for them and their customers beyond the reporting and analysis,” says Ed Nathanson, senior director of global talent acquisition with Rapid7.

Skills in HBase are paying a skills premium on average of 13 percent and value/demand for this role has grown 18.2 percent in the last 3 months.

Average Salary: $111,000

4. Quantitative Analysis and Regression Analysis Skills

People who use this skill in their daily workflow take company objectives and develop analytic models, assessments and solutions. They work across all areas of the business, from Web developers to accounting, to database teams. These individuals normally have an advanced degree. The adoption of big data and the evolution of the data scientist are driving demand for this skill upward.

“Companies have been hiring PhDs to do quantitative analysis and regression analysis for years, but now it’s become the province of data scientists, where a lot of the work being done in analytics starts with quantitative analysis skills,” says Foote.

Quantitative analysis has seen 18.2 percent growth in market value over the last 3 months.

Salary Range: $74,000-$117,000

5. IT Governance Skills

IT governance skills help companies and organizations ensure that IT is both effectively and efficiently enabling their business objectives while remaining compliant with industry regulations. Companies large and small will have different compliance and governance needs, but in general the bigger and more regulated your company or industry is the more IT governance structuring there should be.

“There is a trend across all industry, verticals and businesses to be compliant whether they are large enterprise or small business,” says Nathanson.

Value/demand for this skill is up 15.4 percent over the last 3 months, according to Foote Partners research and it’s paying an average skills premium of 15 percent of base pay.

Salary Range: $97,000-$122,000

6. C# Skills

C, C# C++ and Java are some of the foundation languages driving technology these days, but what is interesting, according to Foote, is how demand for this skill has risen.

“C# has been around for a long time. It’s remarkable to see this type of growth. There are a lot of people who have C# skills so it’s not supply,” says Foote. Microsoft Windows and .NET are driving demand in this skill. “If a company has built its foundation with Microsoft technologies then, of course, these skills will be in demand,” says Nathanson.

C# skills earn a skills premium of roughly 6-10 percent of base salary, but value/demand has risen 14.3 percent in the last six months, according to Foote Partners research.

Salary Range: $61,000-$251,000

7. ITIL Skills

ITIL best practices are part of a library of books that outline the management of IT development, infrastructure and operations. ITIL’s systematic approach to IT management helps companies improve IT services, reduce spending and deliver a better level of customer service to their clients. ITIL skills and certifications regularly make the list of most in-demand by employers and this trend is expected to continue according to experts.

The demand for ITIL v3 skills has been rising sharply over the last year. It has grown in value/demand 9.1 percent in the last six months, 20 percent in the last year and 33 percent in the last 15 months. IT pros with these skills earn a skills premium of 10-14 percent over base salary.

Average Salary: $61,000

8. Enterprise Architecture Skills

Companies are applying the lessons learned from years of business architecture and are now trying to incorporate those lessons into the parts of the job that deal with technology and data. According to Foote, architecture roles are about the long term and are hard to justify ROI. As a result when the economic downturn happened in 2009 and 2010, many companies shed their network and other IT architects.

“A lot of companies took down and disassembled their enterprise architecture groups. That’s all changed now. You can’t do advanced analytics without a lot of data cleansing, data quality analysis, data management and data architecture, says Foote.

Enterprise Architecture has grown 30.8 percent in value/demand over the last 12 months.

Salary Range: $91,000-$134,000

9. Infrastructure Architecture Skills

IT has gone from the Maytag guys who maintain the servers and email to the driver of big business. Combine that with the fact that technology changes at lightning speed and it’s clear why you need infrastructure architecture skills in your organization. They often work to align long-term business strategies and technology.

“Companies really need someone to come in and architect what things will look like and be the person who makes sure all those systems play nice together and have the right foundation in place…,” says Nathanson.

IT Pros with infrastructure architecture skills are earning a skills premium between 12-17 percent of base pay and value/demand for this skill has risen 7.1 percent in the last 3 months.

Salary Range: $109,000-$141,000

10. Security Architecture Skills

Security is at the forefront of every CIO’s mind. The relentless waves of news stories detailing major corporations that have been hacked grow larger each week. To battle the onslaught of cyber-terrorists and script kiddies you need a solid security architecture. That doesn’t happen by accident.

“Companies are fearful. It’s not getting better. Companies are seeing that they are closer than ever before to dangerous breaches. Security needs to be properly architected, because it cost a lot of money,” says Foote.

IT security professionals with these skills earn a premium of between 14-18 percent of base salary, according to Foote Partners. These skills have also seen a considerable 23.1 percent increase in value/demand over the last twelve months.

Average Salary: $115,000

11. Business Intelligence Skills

Big data is big business and companies are looking more closely at how to interpret the many disparate sources of data they have. That’s where BI skills come in.

“This is still an immature area for a lot of companies. Businesses are starting to understand that they have a lot of data internally that can help them with market trends, where and how they can make forecasts with their sales and marketing, as well as help the executive team make decisions,” says Rob Byron principal consultant with WinterWyman, an IT recruitment firm in the Northeast.

On average, BI skills pay a premium of 12 percent of base salary and have seen 9.1 percent growth in value/demand over the last 3 months.

Salary Range: $62,000-$164,000

12. Business Analysis Skills

Business analysts can be found in many places in an organization. They work to find, document and assess the risk and impact of changing needs business needs and then they work with IT to get requirements and deliverables to support the business throughout implementation phases.

On average, IT workers with these skills earn a skills premium of 12 percent of base pay. Value/demand for these skills is up 9.1 percent in the last 12 months.

Salary Range: $61,000-$105,000

13. Unified Communications and Messaging Skills

The world of IT and business is complex and continually morphing. IT touches every part of the business, which often times has global implications. Remote workforces, BYOD and other factors create challenges when it comes to creating an environment where workers can be productive, collaborate and innovate in a seamless manner and that’s where unified communication skills come in.

The technology involves collaboration tools, telephony, messaging, social media and more. The current interest is no surprise to Foote who says, “There’s currently a lot of activity in unified communications and it’s always been very popular.”

Unified messaging skills are averaging a skills premium of about 12 percent of base pay and have seen a rise of 9.1 percent in value/demand in the last six months.

Salary Range: $45,000-$113,000

14. Risk Assessment and Analysis Skills

According to Foote, companies are trying to incorporate risk assessment and analysis into their workforce and the IT decision-making process, spurring demand within the tech industry. “Every company is doing risk assessment and analysis; it’s nothing new. Companies are trying to build risk assessment and analysis into several jobs within their company. They’ve set it up as a core skill like in the old days of project management,” says Foote.

Risk assessment and analysis skills are helping IT pros earn a skills premium of roughly 13 percent of base pay and value/demand has grown 18.2 percent in the last 12 months.

Salary Range: $91,000-$104,000

15. Mobile Application Development Skills

While this didn’t make the list, Foote notes that there is a lot of interest in this area. Mobile development skills continue to be in short supply and as more companies start to focus on mobility, the demand for mobile developers has continued to increase. According to Foote, that isn’t going to change anytime soon.

“There are a lot of skills associated with mobile apps development. Most are also associated with other areas of development. Isolating them to just mobile is virtually impossible,” says Foote. That said, here are some of the common skills associated with mobile application development: Java, jQuery, JavaScript and other scripting languages, C/C++/C#, .NET, HTML5, CSS, Eclipse and Mobile OS (iOS, Android)- to name a few.

Salary Range: $76,000-$139,000

16. Cloud Computing Skills

PaaS, SaaS and virtualization skills will likely be more in demand as more companies use the cloud to reduce costs. However, it didn’t make the list because, according to Foote, the data on the cloud market isn’t mature enough. That said, the market for cloud certifications has grown and, according to many analysts, there is an impending Cloud Skills Gap for IT.

“Companies will put out ridiculously unrealistic requests for workers. There’s no silver bullet anymore in hiring, these people don’t exist. You have to build them. That is what’s happening with cloud computing right now,” says Foote.

Salary Range: $30,000-$128,000

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Published by: Dr. M. A. Pasha

I have obtained a M. Sc. in Physics (Gold Medal) degree from Islamia University Bahawalpur in 1981 and a Ph. D. degree in Computer Science from University of Southampton, UK in 1996. I have more than 30 years experience in tertiary education, ten of which have been in strategic leadership positions, including as Professor of Computer Science and Dean, Faculty of Computing & Information Sciences, Imperial College of Business Studies, Lahore; Professor of Computer Science and Director, Division of Science & Technology at University of Education, Lahore; Pro-Rector of Dadabhoy Institute of Higher Education, Karachi. Director, Institute of Computer Sciences & Software Engineering, The University of Lahore; Dean, University of Central Punjab, Lahore; Advisor to the Vice Chancellor on Information Technology, University of the Punjab, Lahore; Principal, Punjab University College of Information Technology, University of the Punjab, Lahore; Professor & Pro-Rector, Dadabhoy Institute of Higher Education, Karachi. I also have the honor to work as Vice Chairman, National Computing Education Accreditation Council (Pakistan); Chairman Inter Universities Faculty Board for Policy and Framework Development of Computer Science and Information Technology Degree Programs (Punjab, Pakistan). In addition, I have worked in various academic and administrative committees of public as well as private universities performing diverse nature of assignments. Presently, I am member of the Chief Minister’s Committee to “Develop a Vision for Information Technology in Punjab”. I have delivered various teacher training workshops and taught at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, supervised postgraduate students and published 40 papers in national & international journals & conference proceedings. Knowledge Management, WWW Multimedia Content Management, and Artificial Intelligence are the key areas of my interest. I have attended various national & international professional trainings, conferences and took part in international ICT consultation sessions in Cambodia and Bangladesh in 2005 and 2006 respectively.

Categories General5 Comments

5 thoughts on “Employment Trends of Computing Industry: Guidelines for Computing Students”

      1. Sir, I am doing a similar study for my dissertation, would be obliged if you shared the names of the papers.

        Thank you

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