Demand for networking skills is set to rise, as IT spending increases to support wireless local area networks and IP-based systems, according to Forrester Research.
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A study published this month by Forrester showed that the number of data communications and network managers recruited in Europe rose by 11% between 2005 and 2006. This figure is expected to increase by an additional 12% by 2008.
Forrester said these figures reflected the greater immediacy of investment in IP-based networks, wireless Lans and voice over IP.
In 2006, 178,000 people worked network-based roles, and in two years time the industry will employ an additional 198,000 network and communication specialists.
Forrester surveyed 281 IT decision makers about their sourcing approaches for 17 skills. IT leaders identified network management as both a top hiring (26%) and a top outsourcing priority (17%) for 2007.
“IT leaders plan to hire network professionals who can architect and secure what has already been outsourced, as well as manage the network implications of security and automation,” said Forrester analyst Samuel Bright.
Network security was also identified as an important skill by CIOs and, as organisations increasingly deploy wireless devices, securing the network on this front was seen as a key requirement.
Forrester’s research supports the findings of an IDC study in 2005, which predicted that organisations would face a growing shortage of people with networking skills.
IDC’s survey of 950 IT directors estimated that the UK would have a 40,000 shortfall of networking professionals by 2008.
Western European countries have relatively low IT skills shortages, but they are facing growing demand for advanced networking technologies, such as IP telephony, security, and wireless networking, said IDC.