I was asked recently to provide some market commentary on what we seeing happening in the IT space across Australia which I thought I would share with everyone
- What’s your view on the following types of roles:
Just for a bit of context, the below 3 areas were requested, and these areas are where we are seeing most demand across the board as well as Networking Engineers – you can see this from our 2015 and 2016 placements on our website http://kapitalconsulting.com.au/news/.
a. Applications Support/Infrastructure?
Unlike Infrastructure, the Application Support area is one where our clients are least likely to outsource to 3rd party providers as the business (Portfolio Managers/Front Office Traders/Insurance Brokers) are always wanting that good close relationship with IT to get technical issues resolved when under time pressure. That said we are also starting to see more of our clients bringing Infrastructure and Systems positions back into their organisation which over the last few years have been outsourced roles. There is high demand for good people in both of these areas and definitely a candidate market with salaries rising.
b. Business Analysis?
Business Analysis will always be an area of high demand however the gap which was once a chasm between an Application Support Analyst and a Project Manager profile is certainly closing. Post GFC, companies have all been about doing more with less and as a result a traditional Apps Support Analyst has been gathering the requirements, documenting and supporting the business and a Project Manager has been doing the same so alot more is expected from a traditional Business Analyst to operate at a “project manager level” in terms of maturity and autonomy. It is a very tight market to find good people in this field with specific industry experience.
Nearly every one of our clients over the last 6-12mths has been after a Developer of varying skills from C#, C++, Python, Web/PHP. I will be very surprised if these positions are ever outsourced as it is too close to a companies IP and forms a major part of their competitive advantage. A very high demand area and again a candidate market as clients are wanting specific industry experience in these areas which makes it harder to find.
- What is currently hot in the IT space at the moment, why?
Blockchain is a huge game changer for international financial services firms which will also mean heightened controls and governance to be put in place by companies for auditors and regulators
Data Analytics is a big growth area for our clients – visualisation tools like PowerBI, QlikSense and QlikView – we have a Hedge Fund client who showed me how they can visualize their client portfolios by spend, market exposure, demographics as well as manipulate client and market data to their needs which was really insightful
Data Science and Machine learning – Many companies are viewing data science in a way that it is a solution to almost any organizational problem. The biggest opportunities for data science and machine learning is to utilize it to understand where incremental improvements can have the greatest return. By increasing productivity by 1% in mature organizations can often return millions of dollars annually in savings or increased revenue. A good data scientist knows that this is going to be working in continuous improvement and require a deep understanding of the business. I have a friend in the Digital space who works for a large global organisation and who asked the board for $20M a year ago and in return would bring in over $200M within 2yrs – they didn’t really understand how he would do this nor whether it was even possible, they also didn’t truly understand what he did and thought he was crazy – 9mths later and $250M in revenue they wanted to sign off on more.
DevOps – a real mix match of technical skills which was once separated and which can now automate and make a business alot more streamlined in the system processing times and can add huge value in terms of speed. These include technologies across Unix Linux, Python, Puppet, Cobbler, Jenkins, Google GO, Docker. A real hot area and in high demand
- What skills are employers asking or expecting to see?
There has been a big shift in employer mindsets towards IT Staff. Traditionally clients were after very high levels of technical ability and negating the cultural and personality side of the applicant. Staff in IT departments were viewed by the business as “just a number” and a “tech savvy person to fix issues” and to have on board to get the job done. This has now changed to someone with alot more “technical value” and someone now seen by the business who can take the business forward in our new digital and data age. Instead of the business asking IT departments to fix issues, the question has now become, “what do we need to do technically to become better than our competitors and move our ideas forward?” Therefore the cultural and personality type questions are becoming more prevalent in interviews as technology hires need to pitch their ideas and substantiate their findings to senior C-Level executives and are more integral to the business than ever before.
- Are there any particular areas of concern?
We are entering a time where companies big and small, are becoming more entrepreneurial around technology and the need for experienced employees who truly understand how to interpret and how to use data as a competitive advantage is going to increase and cause alot more demand in this space which will become a candidate short market – the problem with this, as with any news area, employees sometimes do not know what they are really looking for from the person and are looking for answers from the hire who in an area with high demand, may not necessarily be able to answer the questions which the business is after or the business will only know the true benefits/value once the employee starts
- Anything else that you think might be worth noting?
I read an article recently published by a National Technology and Science reporter which noted that the number of young students enrolling in technology degrees has fallen substantially. I would not really be surprised by this even with the tech/data boom that we seeing. My reasons for this are that in the years following the 2009-2010 GFC we saw low levels of employment so younger students enrolled as they were spooked by the worry of not being hired and wanted to be better and more accredited than their competition in a job short market. Now with employment at good levels and still on the rise – grads want to get onto the employment ladder quicker and are rather opting to certify on necessary tech skills required to do the job at their employer rather than doing a master of science and technology as an example. Technology is changing very quickly so they are seeing it as more preferable to train in what is “new and now” rather than a degree which was drawn up 5 yrs ago or more
Sean Turner | Founder | KAPiTAL Consulting