IT Career JumpStart

Nov 30 2010   2:52PM GMT

A Tale of Two Opposing Employment Lists

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel

Curious about this blog title? A quick comparison between the titles of the articles that gave me the idea for this posting should satisfy your need to know and understand what’s up here:

I agree that some of the items that turn up in the second of these two pieces are indeed suprising, but that there are very few suprises in the list presented in the first piece from eWeek. I’ll juxtapose the two lists in tabular form so you can see how they stack up against each other.

Order Up (eWeek) Down (Yahoo!)
1 Operations Manager Judge
2 Data Modeler Fashion Designer
3 Web Developer Insurance Underwriter
4 Lead Application Developer Travel Agent
5 Messaging Administrator Newspaper Reporter
6 Data Architect Broadcast Announcer
7 Data Warehouse Analyst Plant Manager
8 CRM Business Analyst Chemist
9 CRM Technical Developer Economist
10 Business Intelligence Analyst CEO
11 ERP Business Analyst
12 Systems Integrator Consultant
13 ERP Technical Developer
14 Networking Presales Engineer
15 Web Designer

OK, now I get to make some remarks about what I see going on between these two lists. First, it’s too bad the second list only includes ten declining job categories because that leaves 5 empty cells in the bottom right corner of the table. But as you look at column 3 (Yahoo’s list of jobs that the BLS reports as on their way down) it’s pretty obvious that between outsourcing and the considerable impact of automation (mostly based on IT technologies) many of these jobs are in decline either because software lets fewer people do more work (insurance underwriters for sure, and possibly also fashion designers, travel agents, reporters, announcers, and even chemists) or because it’s cheaper to hire highly skilled professionals offshore (plant managers and chemists for sure, and perhaps even economists and CEOs as well). Judges are on the way down because down economies cut positions in all arenas, including the bench. On the other hand (or in the second column of the table, more appropriately) data analysis and various development skills are hot, hot, hot IT areas, as I’ll explain further in the next paragraph.

As for the eWeek high demand list, I see zero surprises in there, but careful perusal of the list (for salary ranges and more description see the original article) tells me that analytical skills drive over one-third (6 of 15) of the positions therein, and that software or document development skills drive most of what’s left after that (7 of 15 total, but 7 of 9 of positions remaining after the out-and-out analytical positions are excluded). This speaks eloquently of the need for sharp technical skills, and the ability to transform insights about structure and function into working models or systems to represent them. It also tells me that understanding the data universe in which one does IT is every bit as important as it should be, and keeps on getting more so every day. Why is this unarguably the case? Because enterprises and organizations can earn high returns, or carry out their missions better, when they understand what their customers and data are telling them, and when they act appropriately (and even strategically and competitively) upon the results of their analyses — often by developing software to deliver new services, information, or goods in response. What’s the opposite of a vicious cycle? I’m not sure what to call it except perhaps a “positive feedback loop,” but that’s what the overall patterns that emerges from this list tells me is going on.

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