The Next Generation IT Workforce

“Many are called but few are chosen?”

As recently as October 2014, a Gartner Group analyst was predicting that by 2015, 30% of the Global top 1,000 companies will no longer have a CIO. He also suggested that since 2004, 90% of the employees in the IT departments of the Global 1000 will have been automated, outsourced or absorbed into other business units. This complements a report in 2013 by the Corporate Executive Board which suggests that 97% of IT staff will be affected as IT departments respond to the new challenges placed upon them by the business. It predicts that 90% of existing staff lack collaborative skills and that 53% lack analytical skills and judgement. If this is true in industry it will also become true in Universities. At a time of budgetary constraint in Higher Education how will CIOs, if they still exist, be able to develop the very significant programme of professional development that will be needed if their staff are to be made ready for this transformational change? Or will they, of necessity, have to resort to wholesale replacement?

The Corporate Executive Board report identifies three key changes for IT departments

  • A shift to “End to End” IT Services
  • An update to IT Talent
  • An IT Budget re-allocation

To support these changes, they suggest the emergence of six new roles:

  • Collaboration and Social Media Evangelist
  • End to End IT Service Manager
  • Information Insight Enabler
  • Cloud Integration Specialist
  • User-Experience Guru
  • Technology Broker

And they have developed credible descriptions of each role. These predictions have not emerged from pure hypothesis but from research amongst a large number of organisations globally and indicate a significant shift to roles which combine a business and IT focus. If this is an example of the IT organisation of the future, how can University IT departments afford to respond to these changes and yet how can they afford not to.

This presentation will explore what roles will disappear, what new roles will be created and how at this time of severe budget constraint, universities could themselves collaborate to create a framework for the professional development of their IT staff to form the next generation IT workforce.

Dr Nick Tate
Director, Research Data Storage Infrastructure (RDSI) Project, University of Queensland
Immediate Past President, Australian Computer Society (ACS)

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