IT Career JumpStart

Apr 11 2012   2:04PM GMT

Ten IT Jobs Employers Have Trouble Filling



Posted by: Ed Tittel
Tags:
combining technical knowledge with communication skills delivers lots of interesting potential payoffs
IT jobs that are hard to fill suggest useful areas for personal learning and development

An interesting story appeared on TechRepublic last week (April 6): entitled “10 IT job roles that are hardest to fill,” it recites a list of IT jobs that employers often have difficulty finding people for. As you look over the list, the reasons why this might be vary but given the situation (and the value of IT certifications that support some of them) it’s not hard to understand why these jobs often go begging for fulfillment. Here’s the list:

1. IT Trainer (I just wrote an article about IT Training Certifications for Tom’s IT Pro curiously enough; IT trainers have to know their stuff better than anybody else and be people-oriented at the same time: a rare combination, and such people are incredibly valuable and often quite expensive)
2. Project Manager (the Project Management Professional, or PMP, certification remains something of a “ticket to ride” in IT, which probably reflects increasing needs and short supplies for such professionals)
3. CIO/CTO/Director of IT/… (what can I say about this except “It’s lonely at the top, and hard to get there?”)
4. Help Desk Staff (I just wrote an article about this for Tom’s IT Pro, too, but it’s still in the editing process; the author’s comments on this position are interesting, given that pressure for entry-level folks and recent graduates to find jobs is pushing them into help desk positions in record numbers)
5. Specialized programmer (indeed, the more rarified or in demand a skill set might be, the harder such positions must be to fill, simply because of supply and demand)
6. Pre-sales engineer (feedstock for IT training skills and work, this is another job that requires a heady mix of technical skills and savvy with the ability to communicate and convey interest and excitement to prospective purchasers)
7. Technical writer (again, something that mixes communication skills with technical savvy, and requires the ability to understand, organize, and clearly convey often complex information and instructions)
8. Product Evangelist (there’s a common thread clearly emerging in that this is another position like IT Trainer, pre-sales engineer, and technical writer where deep technical skills and knowledge come in tandem with people and communication skills)
9. IT Author (keep this one in the same league as the other stuff just mentioned, and you have the write…errr…right idea)
10. Maintenance/legacy programmer (somebody’s got to keep the old systems running, incorporate necessary security updates and fixes, accommodate changes in climate — both technical and regulatory — and possess the right kind of programming skills and knowledge to make sense of yesteryear’s “spaghetti code.” Ouch!)

Certainly, all of these positions — except perhaps the CIO/CTO/etc. item — interesting and possibly rewarding areas from which both aspiring and active IT professionals might benefit from digging into. As for myself, I’m bemused that I’ve held and worked in 5 of these positions, all of which share the common thread of understanding technology and then conveying that understanding to others with varying degrees of breathless enthusiasm or hard-boiled “tell the truth” delivery: IT Trainer, Pre-sales engineer, technical writer, product evangelist, and IT author. This also suggests that if you venture into this part of the IT industry, you’ll have lots of potential sources of work among which you can choose. That’s certainly been the case for me, and for many of my peers and colleagues.

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