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The midyear state of the IT job market

Rich Hein | June 19, 2015
The tech market is booming and that's good news for today's tech workers. Employers, CIOs and IT leaders, however, are facing many challenges. We spoke with David Foote, from Foote Partners, to help companies identify, avoid and overcome these obstacles.

Foote points out, however, that things are turning around in 2015. Employers are taking a more long-term approach and the market value surrounding big data skills should increase. "With many employers now taking a more measured, longer-term perspective in their big data investments, our latest research findings show some recovery taking place in the first three months of 2015. Moreover, we continue to expect big data skills market values to recover over the next 12 to 24 months, he says.

The data scientist role is one area that deserves special attention. Foote says employers need to understand that there are different kinds of data scientists. "There are four distinct types of DS's and only one type is the true earthmover that companies are craving and can't find. The other three are readily available and able to make big impacts on their employers."

"The shortage of data scientists is a bit of a fallacy. Analysts that work with Hadoop or other big data technologies spend a significant amount of time NOT requiring any knowledge of advanced quantitative methods. In fact, even those who employ advanced quantitative techniques spend from 50-80 percent of their time gathering, cleansing and preparing data --- work for which there is plenty of available talent," says Foote.


Is this the year that businesses get serious about security? "It's been a long time coming but 2015 will be a year when discretionary spending for security -- that is, everything not related to compliance spending -- will start to reflect the fact that all these high profile hacks have pushed corporate boards and senior business executives to finally admit that for decades they have not been adequately staffing information security departments," says Foote.

The market values for skills in security and cybersecurity have been on a steady upward path for the last two years, increasing 8 percent on average, and that will likely continue. "Strong performers in the first quarter 2015 edition are penetration testing, cybersecurity, secure software development, computer forensics and management certifications, with auditing certificates also strong through the past six months.

Interestingly, low-end foundation certifications have been performing well, perhaps an indication that more workers are refocusing their careers on infosec longer term," says Foote.

Employers from all industries are searching for cybersecurity talent, according to Foote. However, moving technology targets, a lack of consistency in job titles and the fact that this is a relatively new field is making it difficult to source this talent. "There is ample evidence of a global gap in cybersecurity skills. It is a relatively new discipline and there are few available experts in the marketplace for talent. But with a lack of consistency in jobs and career paths for security professionals we can expect that organizations will experience difficulties in attracting and retaining cybersecurity talent in the foreseeable future," Foote says.


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