Sunday, February 1, 2009

IT misunderstood again

So found this off the wire:

Here are the six areas:
  1. Management / Methodology / Process
  2. Database
  3. Messaging and Communication
  4. Architecture
  5. Security
  6. Networking
Now for skills that are down:
  1. Application Development
  2. SAP & Enterprise Development
  3. Operating Systems
  4. Web / e-commerce
  5. Systems Networking

So in classic fashion, those trying to research the industry have fundamentally misunderstood the industry.  And I think that the problem is obvious, how do you actually "track skills"?

The report claims to track over 354 IT skills.  That's a lot of skills, of course, it could also just be a lot of fluff.  Anyone who's looked for a job in IT knows that the market is acronym-crazy.  It's also short on any form of acronym meaning. 

I mean, what the heck is the difference between "Networking" & "Systems Networking"? According to the stats, that difference is worth 3%+ in pay. 

What counts as "Web / e-commerce"?  It's obvious that general e-commerce is becoming commodity, that's to be expected.  But is "web" really worth less?  Facebook app development, Google App Engine, Microsoft's Azure, Amazon's AWS... these are all "Web" technologies.  Where do they fall?  Heck, Azure and AWS are also Operating Systems technologies.

So get that, skills in AWS have actually dropped in value. Right.... Huh?!?

I think the reason the CEO has "never seen anything like this before" is really that he's asking the wrong questions.  Trying to track IT pay by grouping across these massive skill sets is doomed to fail.  In fact, trying to track IT pay by any grouping of skill set is seriously flawed.

And the reasons are simple:
  • There are too many IT skills and new skills are constantly being created
  • Each skill has a lot of gradients
  • Skills with different names can be very closely related
  • Skills are constantly being picked up by experienced people
So how anyone plans to track that is beyond me.  Last year's "Database skills" are not this year's and they're not next year's.  Why you would group them under the same category each year and then pretend that they correlate demonstrates a misunderstanding about the way this industry works.

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