You’ve probably heard about the so-called “IT skills gap,” the disconnect between available talent and the specific work that needs to be done, especially in areas like mobile app development, cloud computing and business analytics. Though a lot of job seekers say the gap is more about corporate manipulation, Computerworld says that, unfortunately, it's real, and for some weird reasons. Having said that, there are ways to jump over the gap. Bridging it is a challenge that can be met. First, the reasons it exists:
- Automated resume scanning is unforgiving. Given the flood of resumes that recruiters face, they have no choice but to scan them for key words in order to find the best matches between applicants and positions. But this brute force approach allows for no subtlety or analysis, so a person who's a 97 percent fit but is missing one buzzword is tossed aside.
- The world is passing some IT workers by. Choosing IT as a career means spending your time — often your own time — keeping up with fast-paced technological change. You may not want to take a class on mobile app development every night, but you may have to. What should you focus on? Security on mobile devices, infrastructure and network security, say the experts.
- Outsourcing and the cloud have changed what the IT department does. Much of the work IT was doing yesterday won’t be needed tomorrow. There are lots of yesterday people floating around, but not as many tomorrow people. Who do you think gets hired more?
- Tech positions are being embedded within business units. The dream IT employee is now a business whiz too, talking the language of dollars and cents as well as the language of bits and bytes. Employers may be tossing aside the resumes of those who can’t talk the business talk.
- Downsizing leaves no room for average workers. Smaller IT departments give recruiters the chance to screen out good but not great employees.
How can you succeed in this environment? Sure.
- Make career management your number one skill.
- Pursue training and certifications — on your own time and your own dime, if necessary.
- Frame your work as solving business problems, not tech problems.
- Develop soft skills like communication and use them to communicate your successes.
- Either commit to an industry and build business skills, or develop deep IT skills and work for an outsourcer or service provider.