Professionals with hybrid talents in demand

The dot com boom in the 1990s spawned a wide array of cool IT job titles suffixed with words such as “ninja” and “master” which were meant to lend some excitement to the positions and attract young talent.

Since the tech industry bust and its recent reemergence, the trend seems to be coming back, but this time with a bit more substance, according to Laura Kelly, VP at IT staffing company Modis. She said a lot of the hot job titles these days cover data-driven positions that focus on business intelligence.
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Kelly said in many organizations there is a tremendous pressure on IT departments to collect and deploy relevant data in areas where they can drive business value. This has resulted in the growing demand for hybrid professionals who have both business and tech acumen to address a firm’s business needs as well as solve computing problems.

Here are some of the emerging hot IT job titles in the market:

Director of IT Infrastructure – A team of 26 full-time and contract IT personnel support the 450 full-time staffers and 5,000 contractors at professional services firm The Judge Group. About a year ago, the company set out to recruit a director of IT infrastructure to create some consistency of process and better level of service to the organization.

The IT shop at the Judge Group did not have a lot of strategic planning and needed to evolve from a reactionary unit to a strategic team, said Mike Flicker, director of applications development and data architecture at the company.

Flicker and the new director of IT infrastructure, David Armstrong, report directly to the CIO. Armstrong has been able to advise the CIO on which networking and cloud-based technology to invest in to boost the company’s initiatives. Armstrong also brought structure to the IT department and improved its response time.


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Chief Knowledge Officer – Universal Medical Access, a company funded just six months ago, is developing a data-intensive integrated online service for health care delivery. Founder David Rosensaft realized he needed a business-tech hybrid professional in addition to the CIO and several CTOs the company had.

The CKO would work closely with the CIO and report directly to Rosensaft. He said the firm needed someone with enough experience in the medical field and had a high degree of expertise in technology so that CKO could help orient the organization in cooperate with “outside entities” and help deploy that knowledge in all parts of the company.

Application Business Analyst – Just 15 months ago, Steve Hyde, CIO of Alta Resources, opened up a new mid-level position for customer care company’s 70-person IT team. He said, when he first came to Alta, he found that departments such as HR, finance and IT managed their own technology.

Departments were doing their own upgrades which resulted in tools being incompatible with the infrastructure and people not knowing what was available in the market and what questions to ask vendors.

He said the new application business analyst will work with business teams on current and future processes. The analyst will investigate what software packages are available and make sure those picked up by the company meet functional and business needs. The application business analyst will bridge the gap between IT and functional units, said Hyde.

Technology Solutions Engineer – Recently Erik Cummings, director of IT at NetSuite, began the process of easing two existing employees into the slot of technology solutions engineer, and looking for a third person to fill the position he just created.

He said the company needs an IT person who thinks of business solutions not just as problem solving. The major trait of a technology solutions engineer, said Cumming, would be flexible thinking. The engineer would not only be a “Swiss Army knife” of IT with experience in various applications, but would be a person who can also understand “what a business problem consists of and produce a bunch of creative ways to solve it.”

He said some six years ago the companies focused on hiring subject-matter experts. However, according to Cummings, IT teams are no longer just service organizations and the smartest mover professionals can make is to “multitrack” their career.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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