Among the job categories or careers posting the most promising results in this year's AVIATION WEEK Workforce Study was that of enterprise IT. These are the folks who keep the information technology systems humming that support the business, whether a human resources application, the installation of new collaboration tools, or assuring the infrastructure of pipes is in place so that new technology can be adopted as fast as possible.
The base pay for IT folks is holding, despite the recession, and the rate of promotions was higher within IT than most any job category. The diversity of aerospace and defense IT groups is improving, while that of other job categories languishes.
But IT work is tough from a strategic planning stance. According to recent findings of an IT workforce study for Computerworld, IT work can be done anywhere, it's project or situation specific, it requires precise skills and it requires minute specification. There's no standard jargon for the work. In the cover story, author Julia King likens computer programmers of the future to the typing pool -- far too one-dimensional to carry water in 2020. She outlines job categories that require multiple certificaitons in virtualization, networking and security.
One of the experts contributing to the Computerworld study is Thorton A. May, executive director of the IT Leadership Academy at Florida State College/Jacksonville. May says the IT world of 2010 will look different than it does today. Enterprise IT departments will look outside 60% of the time to find highly specialized, short-term labor to fill an immediate and pressing need. He likens it to an eBay for IT skills.
The result will be, this report indicates, a two-tiered IT workforce -- one of people who work in the shifting inventory of cloud computing and services (think outsourcing) and the other of super savvy leaders who combine expertise in information technology with the expertise of what their business and programs require to succeed.
The report says tomorrow's IT department may have fewer workers, but they'll have deep skills in data standards, information standards, virtualization, networks, mobile community and architecture. Or they'll have the business know-how to choose the right IT tool to acquire. Their focus will be on how to use versus how to provide.