Brian Bloom is a staff writer at ComputerWorld Canada. You can find him on Google+. He covers enterprise hardware and software, information architecture and security topics.
Canada is becoming a seller’s market for IT pros, according to a report by Robert Half Technology
conducted early this year. The staffing firm surveyed hundreds of CIOs across the country, finding that a net 15 per cent planned to add to their IT department’s ranks in the year’s next quarter.
The RHT report said the IT pros most in-demand are those experienced in technical support and help-desk roles, followed closely by network administrators and application developers. The most specific skillset CIOs were looking for was network administration, according to the report. And as always, IT security experts can expect to get plenty of work in the future.
Lara Dodo, regional vice-president at RHT in Canada, says cloud computing, mobile devices and virtualization are “definitely driving an increased need, if you will, for help-desk professionals, network professionals and security professionals.”
“That’s really where a lot of the demand is coming from, which is pushing the unemployment of IT professionals down and obviously pushing up the enthusiasm of our CIOs in their hiring activities,” she says.
The fact that we’re adopting technologies that rely heavily on the infrastructure and expertise of others means that technical support will invariably remain in high demand, adds Dodo.
“We know that there’s always eventually some kind of troubleshooting that needs to happen, someone’s got to be there to pick up those calls. And with more and more people using mobile devices, tapping into the cloud, looking at their own company’s mobile solutions, ultimately the networks have to be able to support it — the troubleshooting factor goes up.”
Tim Collins, president of Toronto-based Stafflink Solutions Ltd
., says that from his perspective, there has been plenty of growth in IT jobs in Toronto recently. “We’ve probably seen a spike of about 20 per cent in the number of job orders from the beginning of the year until now,” he says. “We see it going up still.”
Especially in the mobile arena. Collins describes the Toronto area as a “hotbed for mobile development.”
“We’re seeing an increase in that for sure. Things like people who can develop for tablets is obviously a big deal now, too. It’s not just mobile phone development.”
“Believe it or not,” he adds, there is even ongoing demand for BlackBerry and PlayBook application developers, especially the latter. Research in Motion Ltd., he says, is “making a big push for developers to develop for the PlayBook.”
Dodo says that a new breed of mobile developers who combine creativity and technical expertise have especially good job prospects. “Professionals who have that kind of hybrid creating/technology component together are tremendously marketable today.”
However, Collins sees the reported high demand for network administration skills as something that won’t last very long. “The networking guys are important but a lot of people are using the cloud more and more,” he says.
“Those networking jobs might be very prevalent now [but]…within a couple years I think there’s going to be a decrease.”