Succeeding in the 2017 IT Hiring Market

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The 2017 technology hiring trends are accelerating, creating both opportunities and challenges for organizations searching for tech talent. There are many factors behind the trend. Corporate executives are anticipating deregulation and lower taxes, which is freeing up both operating budgets and capital expenditure budgets. Company information technology budgets across a wide spectrum of industries are supporting higher spending to drive organizational technical excellence forward to support revenue increases. Keeping up with the rapid change in how technology is used to deliver an organization's value proposition requires the expertise to deliver it.  As a result, IT department leaders are working with their Human Resource allies to find tech candidates who have specific skills, are experienced and fit well into the team culture.  However, the tech labor market is increasingly competitive; and the labor market is even more challenging for HR teams searching for niche technical talent. Understanding the key labor market pay statistics for each role and responsibility on your tech team is critical.  These critical targeted annual earnings data points include base pay, short and long-term incentives and benefits. Being able to articulate the advantages of your team's career opportunity, flex location policies, culture, team management methodologies and training opportunities are critical components to successfully focusing tech talent recruiting efforts and landing "A-Player" talent on your team. 

What types of tech skillsets are we are seeing most in demand this year? We have compiled our view of the 10 tech skillsets that will face the most labor market competition this year. Once on the active job market, these technical experts will very likely have access to multiple, competitive offers in today’s candidate-driven market.

  1. Full-stack developers: It is not enough anymore in most companies to have expertise in only one tier of the application stack, especially when highly agile application development departments are looking for the expertise to optimize cooperation with the front, middle and back teams; and looking to optimize resource flexibility. Having several highly skilled developers with diverse tier expertise optimizes the application quality at each tier, while allowing resource to shift to where the project timeline demands, and, as a result, eliminate potential project bottlenecks. The ability to shift highly skilled team members is melting development backlogs on critical applications, minimizing opportunity costs, and improving resource model efficiencies and budget controls. As a result, full-stack developers are in greater demand.
  2. Project managers: With companies trying to push their technology envelopes, strong project managers are needed to ensure projects are on schedule and within budget. Even more in demand are project managers with a specific industry focus, such as healthcare or IT. Just as full-stack developers are a precious value to a development team, "quadruple-depth" PMs who also have expertise in business process analysis/business process optimization (BPA/BPO), solutions architecture or technical architecture, and quality assurance skills are exceedingly valuable to technical teams. 
  3. BAs/DevOps: DevOps will continue to take a front seat in larger organizations as the liaison between the executives and technical teams to ensure projects are on track and meeting goals and business initiatives.
  4. UI/UX developers and designers: Today’s customer cares as much about the experience with a company as the product or service they receive, if not more. Therefore, UI/UX developers and designers are in high demand to create intuitive, seamless experiences for customers.
  5. Quality Assurance (QA)/Testing: Intuitive, seamless customer experiences on market facing applications does not occur without the organization driving both user interface and user experience excellence. This requires collaboration between design, development and testing efforts. As companies work to solidify their target market and customer facing application stacks, disciplined QA and testing departments have grown to a critical level of importance.
  6. Cybersecurity: Security breaches have been headlines in every element of society, including large businesses nationwide, such as the IRS, LinkedIn, Tumblr and Yahoo. As a result, employing experienced cybersecurity professionals has been a high priority for companies large and small. Companies must ensure their data and information is secure and be positioned to successfully defeat attempts to breach their data. 
  7. Networking administrators and engineers: Networking is incredibly pertinent in the 2017 technical hiring market. Companies are looking for opportunities to grow their digital businesses through web, collaboration and streaming video, among other modes of networking.
  8. Big data: Data is a huge part of any business today. To be successful and continually grow, companies must invest in how to capture, analyze and interpret data. Data analysts are beneficial to assist companies in taking data to turn into informed, quantitative decisions.
  9. Cloud engineers: Cloud will become even bigger in 2017. Most companies have realized the benefit and necessity for integrating into the cloud fully or hybrid. Now, companies are looking to further their implementation or build onto it. Strength in cloud engineering is necessary to do so.
  10. Artificial intelligence: If/then/else statements are a thing of the past. New algorithms basing on real-time data decisions are taking the front seat. This machine learning specialty is growing.

This is a candidate-driven labor market, requiring companies position labor market validated compensation packages to ensure the most qualified talent considers your organization's opportunity. Companies’ competition for top talent is reaching across industry and geographic boundaries for talent. Of course, keeping up with labor market demands is essential to attracting great talent. Therefore, having the research tools in place to keep the financial teams informed of what is necessary to compete for top talent is a requirement.  But, that is just the first step. To attract top talent, companies need to be clear on the positive attributes of their compensation, benefits, culture, their technology roadmap; and effective at positioning these aspects of the organization to recruit the best talent available. Company leadership must also be actively engaged in the talent recruiting efforts.

Time is one of the biggest competitors to acquiring top talent. Qualified candidates are being recruited by multiple companies at once, and if an offer comes in with the right package, the candidate will be off the market in days, not weeks. Don’t let your organization’s hiring practices prevent you from winning top talent; your organization must be prepared to qualify, interview, screen, test and hire at the labor market’s pace, not the organization’s internal pace. Finding the right talent in today’s competitive market will require a competitive package and extremely fast process to make a decision.


About the Author:

TopLine Strategies delivers the complete integration and development of sales, marketing and customer service technologies that enable corporate clientele to improve revenue streams and strengthen customer interactions. Our project management and consulting is designed to achieve timely delivery, 100 percent user adoption of the technologies we implement and deliver measurable returns on investments for our clients.

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