by Byron Connolly

Hot tech skills in 2014

Jan 16, 20144 mins
Technology Industry

Tech experts with skills in enterprise architecture, cloud, mobile development, as well as user experience and design will be in high demand this year across Australia.

Recruiter Harvey Nash suggests organisations can stay at the cutting edge by bringing in overseas talent as the pace of change in technology is being driven mostly from overseas. This is despite Australia having some of the best technologists in the world.

“This talent can then upskill local technologists, enabling Australia to start contributing to the development of disruptive technologies instead of constantly pivoting to overseas markets,” said Bridget Gray, MD at Harvey Nash in Australia.

Gray said that enterprise architecture skills continue to be highly sought after and employers will need to have a very compelling offering to secure talent in this discipline. The recruiter’s research suggests that 43 per cent of CIOs are seeking architecture skills, 4 per cent higher than the global average.

“As IT business models evolve, we are seeing an overriding theme from clients that they need strong, experienced, in house architecture skills to ensure overall technology delivery success,” Gray said. “We expect this theme to continue for the forseeable future and certainly through 2014.”

User experience developers and designers are also in demand, particularly specialists who can lead and work well in teams. The strongest growth is in mobile development with 21 per cent of Australian CIOs seeking skills in this area, Gray said.

CIOs agree that architecture and “digital” skills will be welcomed this year. Ajay Bhatia, CIO at online vehicle trading site, said there will be an emphasis on continuous deployment, software design and user interface skills. Sourcing people with skills in security and cloud (especially automation) is also on his agenda.

“We want to be ahead of the curve and fast deployments are crucial to the success of our business. This is where continuous, automated deployments and cloud skills are important for us,” Bhatia said.

“While these skills are not abundant in the domestic marketplace, we tend to hire candidates with potential and then train them on the job. This other option we do have is to look overseas but this is not something that we have considered to date,” he said.

Bhatia said top talent is always hard to find and the organisation is picky about the people it employs.

“This does make recruitment a longer and harder process for us. We tend to hire people with great potential and attitude and train them – internally and externally – for any skills gap.”

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Data analytics and mobility skills will be in demand at Transfield Services as the operations and construction firm delves deeper into its corporate data, and deploys mobile devices in the field to drive down costs, said CIO Stephen Phillips.

He said the firm was also looking to refresh its collaboration tools this year, which opens us opportunities for people with skills around improving the user experience.

Most of Transfield’s daily “run” activities are already provided by large firms offshore and “change” programs are provided by second-tier outsourcers in Australia, Phillips said.

“We’re not expecting any major issues with sourcing subject matter experts and technical capability, although we may need to add internal project management capability,” he said.

Meanwhile, a focus on improving the student experience means that front-end digital development (web and mobile) skills are in demand at Victoria’s RMIT University, said executive director, information technology services, Brian Clark.

“We are also transforming our delivery and support processes through implementation of Agile and Lean, so experienced Lean and Agile practitioners will be in demand,” he said.

Clark added that he was “reasonably impressed” with the level of skills offered by IT executives in Australia.

“The higher education sector, in particular, has some differences in the Australian model compared to overseas, so getting Australian, experienced resources is helpful. Having said that as we grow in Asia, local IT skills in the region are critical,” he said.