Demand for security and Big Data experts grows

A new survey by TEKsystems compares current market conditions to the state of spending, skills needs, and impact areas. The survey represents the views of 244 IT leaders including CIOs, CTOs and IT vice presidents, as well as IT directors and managers.

Heading into 2014, 62 percent of IT leaders expected their IT budgets to increase, yet just 47 percent now see this to be the case. The number of leaders whose budgets stayed the same increased from 26 to 38 percent. Those expecting decreases remained virtually unchanged, shifting less than 3 percent, from 12 to 15 percent.

Despite the reality of more IT leaders seeing flat budgets, the number of IT leaders who are confident in their IT department’s ability to satisfy business demands has increased from 66 percent at the end of 2013 to 72 percent at the end of the first quarter of 2014. IT leaders expressing a neutral position decreased from 21 to 15 percent. Those that lack confidence in the ability to satisfy business demands have increased from 6 to 12 percent.

While IT leaders continue to rank programmers and developers as the most difficult IT roles to fill with outstanding talent, they are finding it much less difficult to hire architects (dropping from #2 to #5), software engineers (dropping from #3 to #9), and project managers (dropping from #5 to #10). IT leaders now rank security (rising from #6 to #2) and BI/Big Data experts (rising from #7 to #3) among the top three most difficult positions to fill. Business analyst remains the fourth most difficult role to fill.

Security, mobility, cloud computing and BI/Big Data remain the top four trends that IT leaders see as having the largest impact on their organizations, but their positions have shifted since the end of 2013. IT leaders now rank mobility as the most impactful (rising from #3), followed by security (staying #2), cloud computing (rising from #4), BI and Big Data (dropping from #1). Interestingly, social networking has spiked in importance, jumping from 10th to 5th place in the first quarter of 2014.

Just 35 percent of IT leaders indicated that hiring of full-time and contingent IT workers increased in the first quarter of 2014, falling short of the 47 and 46 percent, respectively, that expected increases at the end of 2013. This may be related to the number of IT leaders that did not receive their expected budget increases, leading to a stall in hiring efforts.

Actual decreases in full-time IT headcount matched predictions at 9 percent. Meanwhile, the percentage of IT leaders that saw full-time hiring stay flat rose 12 percentage points (from a 44 percent expectation rate to a 56 percent actual rate). In terms of contingent worker hiring, actual decreases matched predictions at 11 percent. The percentage of IT leaders that saw contingent worker hiring remain flat rose 11 percentage points (from a 43 percent expectation rate to a 54 percent actual rate).

“Our Annual IT Forecast represents views for the entire year of 2014, so it’s interesting to see how close reality is tracking to those expectations as we exit the first quarter. To date, it appears that budget optimism was a little overstated and it has impacted initial hiring,” said TEKsystems Research Manager Jason Hayman. “As IT leaders continue to see how well their IT department can satisfy their organization’s business needs, it will be interesting to see how conditions continue to develop, either falling in line with or skewing further away from expectations, and how organizations will adapt to realities throughout the course of the year.”

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