If you’re hunting for a network architect, especially one who knows your business, good luck — they’re hard to find. The same applies if you’re trying to fill positions that require a combination of networking and security expertise.
If you’re a job-seeker, having any of those skills, or experience in network support, will help you. But you also need breadth of networking knowledge combined with business acumen and the ability to deal with people.
In an August research report, “What Are the Hot Roles in IT?” Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc. highlights the role of network architect at a “very hot” IT job.
Responsible for network design at the local and enterprise level, network architects have always been in demand, says Marc Cecere, a vice-president at Forrester and author of the report. Today, though, there is a particular need for enterprise network architects who can make things work across the entire corporation. “It’s been in sync with the general trend toward consolidation of infrastructure,” Cecere says.
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In organizations that outsource much of their IT function, Cecere adds, there is a growing need for network architects who are good at overseeing outside service providers. They are scarce because network architects have historically tended to be hands-on problem solvers.
Forrester’s report divided its list of 16 hot IT jobs into four groups: hot, very hot, extremely hot and hottest. Only two roles, neither of them directly networking-related, made the hottest category: information/data architect and information security expert. The latter is a clear indication of the current focus on security, and Kevin Dee, chief executive of IT recruiting firm Eagle Professional Resources Inc. in Ottawa, says that shows up in the networking field too.
Though demand for different network-related jobs varies somewhat across the country, Dee says, “what seems to be consistent everywhere is the security around the network.” So network security and identity management skills are in great demand, and in the health-care sector, knowledge of the Health Level 7 (HL7) standard for exchanging and storing health-care information securely is a valuable asset for job-seekers.
“If you’re an enterprise putting in solutions that are national, global or whatever it may be, security is going to be a major concern for you,” Dee says.
Terry Power, president of recruiter Sapphire Technologies Canada Ltd. in Toronto, says general network support roles are also in demand. That’s in line with a strong demand for support staff in IT generally, he adds. And Power says many employers are looking for project management skills.