Management, Business Skills Get Employers’ Attention

Management-level jobs that require a unique combination of technology skills and business acumen to architect and implement strategies that align with business goals.

By Sonia R. Lelii
Dice Staff Writer | March 2008

Many businesses are signaling demand for new types of IT workers within the U.S., typically management-level jobs that require a unique combination of technology skills and business acumen to architect and implement strategies that align with business goals.

Other roles require agile managerial skills to oversee geographically dispersed projects that have been outsourced or moved off-shore.

IT architects, project managers and business analysts are mentioned by some recruiters as positions that either are or will be in demand in coming months. Others advise IT workers to evolve their skills so they can take on more bleeding-edge positions, such as messaging administrators or mobility administrators who integrate and manage mobile applications and devices.

“The idea is to increase your degree of competency. People should always be evolving because the pace of technology innovation these days is the speed of light,” says John Estes, vice president of Robert Half Technology. “When you are left behind, guess what – then you are outsourced.” Looking at his example of mobility administrators, he says: “Nobody is outsourcing mobility administrators. It’s too new.”

“You will always need IT architects,” Estes says. “You will always need someone designing the applications (or infrastructure.)”

Who’s Out, Who’s In

Tech workers holding job titles hold terms like network, storage, server administrator, helpdesk or software developer have had to confront the unsettling reality that companies may target their jobs for outsourcing or off-shoring. Take an unnamed, major media research company as an example: Its goal is have all of its IT infrastructure administration outsourced overseas within the next year.

“In my opinion, if you don’t outsource, you can’t compete globally,” says a senior IT manager at the company, who asked not to be identified. “Where does that leave the American IT worker? They need to redirect their skills to become IT managers with oversight capabilities.”

Companies are increasingly inclined to outsource what they consider administrative tech and keep management of strategy in-house. “You don’t want the outsourcing company to start managing strategy,” says the senior IT manager. “You want them to manage the lower-level administrative work.”

That means IT architect jobs will be in particular demand, since companies that are outsourcing or off-shoring maintenance infrastructure tasks or software coding will need professionals who can develop the higher-level strategies and oversee the outsourced work. In addition, companies that have started outsourcing key software development or infrastructure-administrative positions are finding they need strong managers who can oversee geographically dispersed projects and processes.

“It requires a lot more project management and communications in order for it to be done right,” says Dave Sanders, a managing partner with WorldBridge Partners, an executive search firm based in Roseville, Calif.

Oftentimes, these jobs are described as the type that require strong technology know-how combined with a deep business sense. “These are very challenging roles and require communication and organization skills,” says Robert Stevenson, a research director at TheInfoPro analyst firm in New York.

Others say the technology industry will be in need of people with strong process-oriented management skills. “When this happens, business process improvement and process-oriented opportunities will be more in demand,” believes the research firm’s senior manager. “You will need someone to manage a process rather than a device or system.”

Contact Sonia Lelii by e-mailing sonia.lelii at