Browser projects spawn ‘app delivery architects’

If your company is making browser-based applications available over a wide area, you may be looking for an IT manager in a brand new job category. Application delivery architects will be in high demand, according to some industry experts.

A recent report from Gartner Inc. of Stamford, Conn. says the design and management of browser-based applications, which may involve development of firewall rules or programming application delivery controllers, will require leaders to work with the storage, security and network professionals.

“People with this skill set will be very much in demand,” said Joe Skorupa, Gartner Group’s research vice-president. “The key attributes are that they’ve been across multiple disciplines, that they have a much closer affinity to the application side than the networking side. So they may have been a network engineer or a network architect, but quite often they come out of application performance engineering, or they come out of server administration or they’re a database architect, in their most recent position.”

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He added it’s critical that these professionals have people skills because they are coordinating among different teams.

An executive with a Canadian IT recruiter agrees application delivery architects will be in high demand among IT departments, especially as companies outsource their application development.

“Anything to do with the system development life cycle, for an IT professional, that’s a hot skill set for the years to come,” said David Colella, manager of resources for Toronto-based Sapphire Technologies Canada Ltd. He added development teams need to test the code and the features of the applications they’re creating, and Web services are changing the way applications are developed.

“Especially with Web-based development, there’s a big onus to object oriented development and architecture, object-oriented design and programming,” he said.

“That’s usually based on a .Net or Java platform.”

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Skorupa said the demand for application delivery architects will be driven by the increasing popularity of browser based applications and concerns about the performance and delivery of those applications.

“People have come to the conclusion that the browser is the right vehicle for deploying a global application because it’s easy to customize it, to localize for an individual country,” Skorupa said. “It is easy for training. People are familiar with the browser interface. Whether the server hosting the application is Unix, Linux or Windows, it doesn’t matter, the move to browser-based apps moves ahead either way.”

There are no formal training programs set up yet, Skorupa said, so companies may need to develop their own in-house programs. Gartner says ADAs will often be in charge of people with a variety of skills and roles.

“These guys are the co-ordinating point, really the lynchpin for pulling these deployments together, so people skills are really critical, and curiosity is a key attribute of the person, because this field is changing so rapidly you have to be self motivated to keep up.”

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