The IT profession and the skills it needs will change dramatically over the next 20 years as new technologies take hold and change the way business works.
A report called Technology 2020 from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) says IT staff will become "more strategic and aligned to business objectives". They will also need to become more specialist, leaving broad skills sets behind.
The main changes will include:
- A growth in cloud computing that will see virtualisation and SaaS skills in demand
- More demand for high-level database skills
- Increased demand for the business-savvy data miner
- Energy and materials management will be specialised subjects
- Employers will look for business and commercial awareness rather than technical excellence
- Creative people who can devise and design applications that harness the commercial potential of networks will be in high demand, especially in areas such as linking sensors and CCTV management
- People who can deliver commercial opportunities with nano-technologies and pervasive computing, which are set to take hold
- Skills such as basic programming and code cutting will decline in demand as software becomes more flexible and robust. But traditional IT professionals will still have a key role to play in operating legacy systems.
Jeff Brooks, chair of the REC Technology group, said, "The role of the in-house IT professional is changing. As technology advances, employers will look to recruit professionals that have moved away from the traditional 'techie' role to become much more strategic. IT professionals will be expected to draw out the value of new technologies in line with overall business objectives, particularly in the senior ranks."