BI and IT Security: Two Areas Getting Harder for Employers to Fill

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TEKsystems, a provider of IT staffing solutions, IT talent management expertise and IT services, has released the results of a Q1 2014 survey that compares the current state of spending, skills needs, and impact areas to what was anticipated in its annual IT forecast released in November 2013. According to the survey for Q1 2014, IT leaders are finding it increasingly difficult to hire “exceptional” business intelligence and security workers.

The 244 survey respondents included CIOs, CTOs and IT vice presidents, as well as IT directors and managers. The Q1 survey found that while IT leaders continue to rank programmers and developers as the most difficult IT roles to fill with outstanding talent, they are finding it less difficult to hire architects, software engineers, and project managers.  IT leaders now rank security and business intelligence/big data experts (among the top three most difficult positions to fill.

Security and BI/Big Data Skills in Demand

In terms of most difficult to fill IT roles, Security shot up from sixth place in the 2014 forecast to second place on the list in the end-of-Q1 2014 report; business intelligence/big data was elevated from seventh place to third; and mobile also went from 10th place to sixth. Business analyst remains the fourth most difficult role to fill. 

According to Jason Hayman, research manager at TEKsystems, the increased emphasis on BI/big data hiring is an indication of its elevated priority and the impact it is having on IT departments within organizations. “We find that more and more organizations are looking to take advantage of the data that they already possess. A lot of them are sitting on these goldmines of information.” There is recognition that they can differentiate themselves from their competition and are therefore looking to incorporate BI and Big Data into their strategies, he said.

Hayman says it is going to be harder to find these types of workers with these skill sets - data architects, data analysts, data scientists – "because there are so many more organizations looking to find these folks. All of a sudden, the demand has spiked.”

Security, on the other hand, seems to rise to forefront when data breaches become headlines, as occured after a spate of attacks to retailers' customer data during the 2013 holiday shopping season, and more recently with the Heartbleed bug which put the security of consumers' online passwords at risk. When these types of events occur, Hayman  said, "Everyone thinks about it."

A Hybrid of IT Skills and Vertical Business Expertise is Sought

However, he noted, in terms of business intelligence expertise it is not enough to have the technical skill in and of itself; there is an increasing need for data scientists and analysts that have a hybrid role which combines business knowledge and IT knowledge so that data can be leveraged and extrapolated to add value to the organization.

From an IT worker perspective, the survey results should serve to reassure that they can command top dollar, and for those who may not have those skills, they may want to consider getting additional certification and training. From the employer perspective, this should indicate that perhaps they need to plan further out if they are anticipating projects in these areas that will need additional staffing.

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