by Rich Hein

The 9 Most Difficult-to-Fill IT Roles

Apr 23, 2014 5 mins
IT Jobs IT Leadership IT Strategy

Competition for IT workers is fierce in the tech world and skills shortages abound. How fierce? Using data from TEKsystems, we look at what organizations describe as their most difficult-to-fill IT roles.

The 9 Most Difficult-to-Source Tech & IT Roles

If you look at data from across the Web, most companies are looking for IT pros with specific experience — the more the better, but with everyone chasing the same talent, some areas of IT are downright difficult to fill.

Recently, TEKsystems conducted a survey of 244 CIOs, CTOs and other senior IT professionals. These IT decision-makers spanned industries that include technology, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, government and professional services representing business large and small.

Respondents marked big data, security, mobility and cloud computing as the trends having the largest impacts on their organization. The technology/roles outlined here, according to the survey, are the toughest areas in which to find tech talent.

1. Programming and Application Development

Awesome developers are rock stars and are difficult to find and even harder to keep. This statement is backed up by the fact that programming and application development was also in the number 1 position in TEKsystems survey last year.

.NET and Java remain at the top of the developer heap, according to TEKsystems, and as more companies move into the digital age and get on the mobile bandwagon demand for the people with these skills will likely continue to grow.

2. Security

Security continues to be an issue as corporations deal with the shift from perimeter security to more data-centric and identity security. Companies are suffering breaches at an alarming rate putting every Web user’s data at risk. The list of victims goes on: Target, Neiman Marcus and, most recently, Michaels, a popular craft store chain. The Heartbleed exploit is another recent example highlighting the need for an evolving approach to security.

In a recent report from entitled, 2013 Cost of Cybercrime Study, the Ponemon Institute reported that cybercrime and security breaches are costing organizations $11.6 million a year, a 20-percent increase over the 2012 numbers. Organizations need security cyber-warriors to do battle outside the castle as well as within.

3. Business Intelligence / Big Data

Big data has become a buzzword, but the fact remains that organizations are collecting enormous amounts of data from disparate sources and they need IT professionals to parse through it all, define what’s worth tracking and then create actionable solutions. This could be working to shave minutes off of helpdesk call times, parsing through website stats to create a sales funnel or a project similar to Google trying to crawl the entire digital (and sometimes analog) world. BI and big data skills ranked third on our list of most difficult to fill IT roles. Over the recent years, skills in this area of IT have often made their appearance on both the certified and non-certified tech skills lists.

4. Business Analysts

IT business analysts work within the IT organization to align the company’s business goals and objectives with technological capabilities. This role has emerged as a core position, whether directly in IT or embedded elsewhere in the business. With complexity growing and technology constantly changing, the agility and adaptability of the business rely on the IT business analyst.

Individuals with a technology background and a solid understanding of the business are in high demand, ranking number 4 on our list of most-difficult-to-fill IT roles.

5. IT Architects

With systems spanning the globe and ever-growing infrastructure complexity, organizations need architects for all facets of IT — systems, data or governance architects. The roles these experts play in the organization are as fluid and rapidly changing as technology itself.

According to TEKsystems data, 47 percent of companies expect to increase their IT headcount this year and many will be looking for individuals with skills in this area. IT Architects of varying disciplines rank fifth among respondents as the most difficult roles to fill, but one thing is certain: As complexity grows so will the need for IT pros to architect the future.

6. Cloud Computing Roles

Cloud skills moved up two spots from last year’s list coming in at number 6. Cloud computing is widely accepted, even in some highly regulated industries like healthcare, and at least some aspect of the cloud is being used to better serve organization’s infrastructure needs. We’ve already seen some roles morph (e.g. systems administrator and network administrator) but as more organizations take advantage of cloud offerings, people with skills from around the tech spectrum will be needed for cloud architect and cloud developer roles.

For a deeper look at cloud certifications, check out the slideshow entitled, Top 10 Cloud Computing Certifications.

7. Help Desk / Technical Support

Customer service, both within and outside the organization, plays a crucial role in an organization’s success, and helpdesk and technical support personnel are on the front line. Whether they’re working with internal employees on maintenance issues, like resetting passwords, rolling out new tools, hardware and software, or dealing with customers directly to maintain and service your product, they are often the voice of you company. Finding good employees within this area remains flat year over year ranking at number 7 on TEKsystems’ list.

8. Software Engineers

As the name implies, these IT pros deal with the engineering side of software design, development and maintenance. Competition for people with these skills has grown so much that software engineers have moved up six slots on our countdown.

Just as with all the flavors of IT architects, as complexity grows so will demand for people with the skills to put it all together and make it work.

9. Project Managers

Any organization trying to grow likely has several internal and external IT initiatives going on at any given moment. Someone needs to organize, manage and maintain deadlines, milestones and development resources. As more companies push the digital boundaries heavy competition for workers in this field is expected to continue.