Traditional-system designers not in demand

Traditional project management is the last bird in the pecking order of hot job skills, according to a recent RHI survey.

David Tighe, branch manager for Toronto-based RHI Consulting Services, said the continued emphasis on Web systems has left traditional application and system development project teams behind.

The Hot Jobs Report, a poll of more than 250 Canadian CIOs, showed that only one per cent considered project management a hot IT speciality. All of the companies polled had more than 100 employees.

Tighe stressed that this would differ within Internet or intranet project managers. “That one per cent would not include projects that were Internet development in nature.”

Internet and intranet skills, not surprisingly, topped the list with 30 per cent seeing those as the most in demand. The most requested job titles in that category included webmaster and e-business strategist. Networking was next in demand at 17 per cent.

Other areas included were applications development (13 per cent), help desk or end user support (10 per cent), operations (eight per cent), systems analysis (three per cent), and other/don’t know at 18 per cent.

Tighe said RHI commissions surveys like this one often and he noted this was the first time the demand for Internet and intranet skills was so clearly marked.

He added this trend is not likely to change.

“Internet development is the tip of the iceberg and it ties into everything else,” he said. “It’s pretty basic stuff. People are throwing a lot of their technology dollars at the Internet and that’s going to continue.”

The two largest segments looking for Internet specialists were the business services and wholesale sectors, according to the survey. Both put Web skills at 47 per cent of their job demand. Manufacturing followed at 35 per cent, while professional services sat at 26 per cent.

Tighe thought this was a natural progression for these sectors.

“If you’re going to offer a catalogue of items on-line and have pricing and descriptions, that’s a huge database component. So database specialists are going to be in demand, and then the infrastructure specialists,” Tighe said. “I think it’s going to be a lot of the same kind of traditional functions, but now geared toward the Web and e-commerce.”

He said that the survey results were not very surprising, noting that ever since Y2K past, companies have been spending a lot of time breaking into the new e-conomy.

“There was a lot of backlog in terms of how do organizations keep up with the new economy, this whole business to business. How do they market products over the ‘net net? How do they sell items over the ‘net net and everything that goes with that. And everyone jumped on the bandwagon at the same time,” Tighe said.

That, he noted, created incredible demand for the same skill sets and for people who are knowledgeable about building full e-commerce Web sites.

“Then of course behind that is all the infrastructure and that’s why the networking side is so prominent, because one spurs the other. When I looked at this survey, I thought, ‘Yeah, that makes sense.’ It basically confirmed, through a more scientific method, what we already knew,” he said.

The survey showed the industry that is least hungry for Internet and intranet employees was retail at 13 per cent followed by construction with 19 per cent interest in the field. Retail was more focused on networking at 31 per cent and construction CIOs were looking for application developers.