Hot Skills, Cold Skills

The IT worker of 2010 won't be a technology guru but rather a 'versatilist.'

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Big corporations are getting even bigger through mergers and acquisitions. But merging two companies requires more than just technical and systems integration. While many enterprises have shown that they can successfully integrate systems, "they're lousy at integrating cultures," Foote says. Enterprise architects in the areas of technology, security and data will play key roles in 2010.

Companies like Microsoft Corp. and IBM already know the gargantuan architecture tasks awaiting them in 2010 and are hiring expert- and guru-level enterprise architects. "They're saying, 'There's a level of architecture that if we don't have it, we're [sunk],'" Foote adds.

Gartner asked hundreds of CIOs and symposium attendees which domains they believe will experience the greatest growth and decline between now and 2010. "Unanimously, the areas of greatest growth were in both process and relationships," Morello says.

Outsourcing plays an important role in the growth of skills in the business domain. If companies rely on third-party providers, they must invest in staffers who can manage those relationships.

Technology Infrastructure and Services

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  • Systems analysis
  • Systems design
  • Network design
  • Systems auditing
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  • Programming
  • Routine coding
  • Systems testing
  • Support and help desk
  • Operations -- server hosting, telecommunications, operating systems

According to respondents to the Gartner survey, the skills that will have the steepest decline in 2010 will be in technology infrastructure and service jobs -- such as programming and operations work. Those roles will go overseas or more likely be automated.

"The more that [a task] can get codified or changed into explicit instructions or documentation, the more likely it can get transferred. The more likely it can be transferred, the more likely someone will come along and will develop tools to reduce even further the number of people required to do the job," Morello says. Kaiser says that in the SIM study, keeping systems design and analysis skills in-house in the next five years were considered critical, yet those tasks are frequently outsourced. The reason respondents gave for outsourcing these skills included meeting project needs and enabling flexible staffing.

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