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IT Workforce: Balancing Client and Provider Needs. Christine V. Bullen, Ph.D. Stevens Institute of Technology. Motivation for Studying the IT Workforce. Consistent top concern of IT management Changing times Lowered university IT enrollments Pending baby boomer retirements

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it workforce balancing client and provider needs

IT Workforce: Balancing Client and Provider Needs

Christine V. Bullen, Ph.D.

Stevens Institute of Technology

motivation for studying the it workforce
Motivation for Studying the IT Workforce
  • Consistent top concern of IT management
  • Changing times
    • Lowered university IT enrollments
    • Pending baby boomer retirements
    • Migrating skills
  • Clients increased use of providers - 2005 study

Phase one – Clients only – Critical Today

Technical = orange Business Domain = blue Project Management = green

mission change for it
Mission Change for IT
  • From
    • Delivering technology-based solutions
  • To
    • Managing the process of delivering solutions
phase 2 provider firms
Phase 2 – Provider Firms
  • Total in sample = 126
  • What capabilities do IT providers seek?
    • Not internally, but rather to serve their clients
    • Looking at the “other side” of the question
    • Looking at staffing and career patterns in the providers around the world
  • How do provider responses compare to client responses?
demographics of providers
Demographics of Providers
  • Geographical Distribution
    • North & South America 66%
    • W. Europe, E. Europe/CIS 17%
    • Australia, India 16%
  • Revenue
    • F500 >$3B 14%
    • Large $500M-$3B 15%
    • SME <$500M 71%

Client Emerging Skills

Provider Emerging Skills

match between client and provider emerging capabilities
Match between Client and Provider Emerging Capabilities
  • Business Domain
    • Industry Knowledge
    • BPR
    • Change Management
    • Communication
  • Technical
    • IT Architecture & Standards
    • Security
  • Project Management
    • No exact matches
  • Sourcing
    • Managing 3PPs
client declining skills
Client Declining Skills

Provider Declining Skills

client critical skills
Client Critical Skills

Future Critical – 3 Years Hence

Provider Critical Skills

hiring practices
Hiring Practices
  • What is the marketplace demanding in our graduates?
  • Entry Level data for both clients and providers
  • Mid-level data for both clients and providers
  • Conclusions regarding requisite skills
client entry level
Client Entry Level

Provider Entry Level

entry level observations
Entry-Level Observations
  • Clients rank technical skills high in entry-level hires
  • Softer skills are also emerging as important
  • SPs show a more balanced approach
    • Seek technical, project management and industry knowledge
  • Other than the Project Management Skills, both clients and SPs are seeking a mixture of technical and business domain skills
mid level observations
Mid-Level Observations
  • Clients and SPs much closer in requirements
  • Both showing need for project management skills
  • Very different from entry-level
  • More closely aligned with critical skills
  • Important question is how do entry-level IT workers develop mid-level skills
skill category analysis
Skill Category Analysis
  • Developed from client data
  • Results six categories to date
  • Next step is to validate categories with vendor data
  • Categories begin to provide a framework of REQUISITE SKILLS for IT Workers
  • Developed using thematic analysis
  • Examined skill rankings across questions
it professionals require a requisite set of skills
IT Professionals Require a Requisite Set of Skills
  • All six categories are important to an IT professional’s success
  • Professionals may choose to focus on a particular category or group of categories
  • Need some competency in all six if they are to grow in their career
  • Skills categories are interdependent
  • Not mutually exclusive or exhaustive
missing entry level skills
Missing Entry Level Skills
  • 5 are business domain
  • 4 are project mgmt
implications for curriculum and hiring
Implications for Curriculum and Hiring
  • Marketplace – both clients and providers – demanding new patterns of capabilities
    • Universities should respond with curriculum adjustments
  • T-shaped people – 2 versions
    • Deep technical and broad client-facing skills (Developers and Specialists)
    • Deep client-facing skills and broad technical ones (Analysts and Managers)
  • Need for client-facing skills is increasing especially in high wage areas
    • Project management
    • Communication
    • Business domain
how should firms respond
How should firms respond?

Clarify career paths for IT professionals

overall employment 2q2008
Overall Employment - 2Q2008


Occupation Employed Increase

Computer/IS Managers 488,000 9.9%

Computer Scientists/Systems Analysts 848,500 13.4%

Computer Programmers 528,300 -3.6%

Computer Software Engineers 969,500 9.9%

Computer Support Specialists 385,500 15.9%

Database Administrators 98,000 -3.9%

Network/Systems Administrators 230,800 21.4%

Network Systems/DC Analysts 407,300 9.3%

Source: BLS,

Eric Chabrow, CIO Insight

how are career paths defined for our young professionals
How Are Career Paths Defined for our young professionals?
  • A plethora of paths
    • Technical
      • Computer science
      • Systems Development
      • Infrastructure
      • Help Desk
    • Managerial
      • Project Management
      • Systems Analysis
      • Requirements Analysis


what education is valuable in the entry level hiring process
What Education is Valuable in the Entry-Level Hiring Process?
  • Computer Science undergraduate degree
  • IT undergraduate degree
  • Math undergraduate degree
  • Music
  • Liberal Arts

More confusion!

what is the purpose of a career path
What is the purpose of a career path?
  • Laying out a logical progression for increasing skills that are valuable to the organization
  • Providing growth opportunities for individuals
  • Making career opportunities visible to employees

Why is this an issue in IT?

how should firms respond1
How should firms respond?
  • Define career paths for IT
    • Create alternate career paths
      • Entry Points examples
        • QA/Testing entry point for analysts
        • Help Desk/Operations entry point for managers
        • Programmers entry point for developers
      • Job rotation through functional areas
  • Recruit from multiple degrees
    • CS predominance is not warranted given skills mix
    • Business school IS/IT degrees provide the T-shaped person skills
future directions and issues
Future Directions and Issues
  • Continue data collection on a regular basis to establish longitudinal data set
  • Examine the impact of the financial crisis
  • Work with industry to design career paths
    • Include salary implications
    • Map with expectations of Generation Z
    • Anticipate retention issues
what is the future for the it professional
What is the Future for the IT Professional?
  • Globally Integrated Organizations
  • The T-Shaped Person – both versions
  • IT is still viable & valuable option for careers
itwf team 2009

ITWF Team 2009

Christine Bullen, Stevens Institute of Technology

Keith Frampton, The Marlo Group

Kevin Gallagher, Northern Kentucky University

Tim Goles, Texas A&M International University

Steven Hawks, University of Wisconsin - Parkside

Kate Kaiser, Marquette University

Judith Simon, University of Memphis

Cynthia Beath, University of Texas - Austin