Traditionally IT managers had a crucial role to fill in an organisation. They were the people co-ordinating the computer and data information systems as well as integrating with the telephony systems. But with the introduction and wider adoption of cloud based computing, many aspects of IT manager roles are becoming obsolete.
Does this mean that the role of IT managers will become entirely redundant in the future? Already in the past six years there has been a steady decline in the number of IT Manager roles being advertised. Is this an indication of things to come and what can traditional IT managers do to ensure they have a future career?
The IT Sector is evolving, IT Managers should too
The basic truth is that the IT sector is fast paced and constantly evolving – it’s one of the aspects that makes it an exciting industry to be working in. IT managers need to be involved in more than just systems maintenance and engineering-style work, they need to be adding value to a business if they want to avoid becoming obsolete. This includes embracing new technologies and finding ways to adapt their skills so that they are moving the business forward and keeping up with trends. Fortunately the trends show many opportunities for forward thinking IT managers.
According to a study by the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, jobs in the IT sector are set to grow by 22% by 2020, but that growth will not necessarily be the same across all sectors in the industry.
IT Manager roles are set to increase by 18%, however, this will not be in traditional roles. Cloud computing is likely to shift these roles towards systems design and security rather than traditional management. The industries where there are likely to be the most opportunities are in healthcare and IT security.
Database Administrator jobs are predicted to increase by 31% as the need to process and disseminate ever increasing volumes of data continues to grow. To stay competitive, administrators will need to keep up to date on technology development and systems integration.
Computer Programming and Helpdesk Technical Support job opportunities may increase by 14% and 18% respectively. Although there is a trend for outsourcing these roles which means that it is becoming more competitive in the industry.
The roles that seem to hold the most promise are those of systems analysts and software developers which may increase by 22% and 30% respectively. Key areas of growth include mobile apps and systems software. Looking at these trends, how can IT managers improve their skills so that they can adapt with changing industry trends and ensure that they have long term career prospects?
Skills worth developing
The reality is that most IT Managers will need to adapt and start to specialise in one or two areas of expertise. Getting familiar with new technology and using existing expertise and knowledge to expand on the value they are providing to their employers. The next generation of IT professionals are highly agile and if IT Manager want to stay in those management roles, they need to have the same level, if not more knowledge than the people working for them in their teams. These are some of the top areas that IT Managers could consider developing skills in:
Cloud Computing – This is currently the leading technology trend in the industry and with it comes many opportunities. Think data security and transfer or integration; Systems design and management; Data mining skills and statistical analysis.
User Interface Design – With an increasing demand for personalisation in the customer experience, UI design will become increasingly important. Businesses are accumulating vast amounts of data and they want to be able to incorporate the findings from that data to improve the user interface and customer experience.
Data Security – Given the vast amounts of data being collected on customers, there is a concern of vulnerability. The EU recently outlined their new privacy regulations and this is likely to have an impact on the way organizations think about designing and maintaining their systems.
Data Science & Visualisation – Currently there is a massive shortage of skills in this field and as big data technology expands there is likely to be even more demand for skilled data scientists. Technical knowledge and an analytical mind is well suited to this field.
Mobile apps & Development Management – Mobile technology has been at the forefront technology developments in recent years and predictions are that this trend will continue. While app development is fairly established, key elements in the future will be how to integrate this will a better UI, data mining and integration with CRM systems.
Project Management – regardless of the area of specialisation, IT managers that are skilled in project management will find themselves in more demand. As more technologies develop, integration is going to become a challenge. IT Managers that have a broad knowledge base of different technologies plus sound project management skills can find themselves overseeing large implementation and integration projects.
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