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5 hybrid IT roles your business needs to succeed in 2014

Stephanie Overby | Jan. 23, 2014
This year, the ability to simply configure and run a server or develop software in isolation won't be enough. Employers will aggressively pursue workers with multi-dimensional talent -- combinations of technology, domain, business, process and people skills.

Most vendors are adding customization options but they may not scale or integrate well enough. "Enterprise architects will be looking for smart purchases," says Foote. "They'll also develop cloud architecture principles and evangelize them throughout the organization to help reign in purchases of shadow IT' cloud solutions with credit cards," says Foote.

2. Business Analysts With Integrated Thinking
Business analysts have been around forever. But their role has never been more important. Companies are looking for "integrative thinkers," says Foote. "They want not just analysts specific to various domains within a company — finance, marketing, operations, logistics, sales. They also want them to understand, for example, how the cloud or data analytics strategy should work in the marketing department." The best of the best of business analysts today are likely to become tomorrow's architects, Foote adds.

3. Security Professionals With Marketing Skills
With such high-profile horror stories as the Target data breach and concerns resonating from revelations about the NSA's spying program, you wouldn't think you'd have to sell the business on security. But you'd be wrong. "Security has been a hot area for a long time, and companies obsess about it," says Foote. "But they underspend horribly."

What companies need are not deeper technical security skills or yet another certification. "They want people who can translate technology risk to business risk, talk to business people about it in a way that doesn't alienate them, and persuasively present security as an enhancement rather than a hindrance," says Foote.

In short, they need a few good marketers in IT security. What CIOs and chief information security officers want is a legion of people who, "as I am talking to C-level management about security, are equally adept at speaking convincingly one level below," says Foote. "They're looking for people who understand basic business concepts and can translate security objectives into language that can be digested by the people who control funding and resources, not more fear mongering."

4. Database Pros to Bring Structure to the Unstructured
Database skills are hot. Professionals who work with Cassandra, HBase, MongoDB, CouchDB, NoSQL and other big data technologies are seeing their pay increase by 7 to 15 percent. That's well above average annual salary increases for IT workers. Companies require database professionals for everything from master data management and predictive analytics to mobile applications and open systems development. But what they need are those professionals who can attack the unstructured data set. "As much as 90 percent of data right now is unstructured," says Foote. "It's about how you create that structure to distinguish the signal from the noise."

And keeping these folks engaged is another issue. A company can steal someone from Google or Amazon for $250,000 a year or more, but that person won't stay if the culture doesn't embrace the transparency, flattened hierarchy and data-based decision making required to institutionalize analytics. "You can bring in all the experts you want, but if the environment isn't accustomed to easily sharing information and data, it doesn't matter who you hire," says Foote. "You need a culture that supports them."


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