Education & Work Is there an IT skills shortage?

Discussion in 'Living Room' started by Graeme, 6th Jan, 2018.

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  1. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    @JDP1, @Orion, and myself started discussing whether there's an IT skills shortage over in a thread about Melbourne property prices. I figured that I'd start another, rather than clutter that one up with an off-topic discussion.

    JDP1 argued that there are a lack of specific skills that can deliver value to his or her business in Australia.
    I'd be interested in knowing what the particular skills shortage is in. The line that I've heard is that it's often in project management, and the ability to scale a project. Certainly two of the three projects that I've worked on in Australia over the last three years have been terribly run.

    But I'm also conscious that there's the myth of the 10x developer, a superhero coder who can do the work of ten of their peers, and I'm wondering if some of the Silicon Valley types are selling themselves that way. If you read Iann Barron's (somewhat self-serving) history of Inmos (part 1 and part 2), he's critical of how the Americans portray themselves, and how management responds to this. Bear in mind that Inmos had a serious number of very, very smart (British) engineers on their books.
     
  2. supersam80

    supersam80 Well-Known Member

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    There's a lack of experienced security staff

    I know absolute numpties that are contacting on 150k but companies cannot hire better staff so have no choice

    I'm in presales working for security software vendors and it's getting quite ridiculous, you can really just pick and choose where you want to work now
     
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  3. Perthguy

    Perthguy Well-Known Member

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    Hmm. I got out of I.T. after the dot com bubble crash. Maybe it's time to get back in?

    I wonder what particular skills are in demand? I may not have those skills but with 20 years in I.T. it may not take too long to upskill?
     
  4. Kat

    Kat Well-Known Member

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    I was looking at IT jobs yesterday.

    It appears as though the IT sector has the highest number of vacancies for $150k+ jobs.
     

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  5. DaveM

    DaveM Adelaide Buyers Agent & KFC Strategist

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    There is a shortage of people who know what they are doing thats for sure.
     
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  6. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Founder Staff Member

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    I think the IT market has become quite segmented.

    There are a heap of people who can do the basics - simple WordPress websites and basic scripting for example - or you simply outsource that OS.

    Similarly, there are a lot of people who can commission MS servers and such.

    However, when it comes to the complicated stuff - where you need to have done extensive study (self study usually - you don't get taught this stuff, you go out and learn it) and have real experience in actually doing it (not just being one small part of a larger team where you weren't the "expert"), then those people are very few and far between (as in - they already all have good well paying jobs).

    Much of IT has become commoditised, to the point where anyone with just a little knowledge can point and click their way through stuff - but actually understanding how things work and being able to troubleshoot complex issues is another skill entirely.
     
  7. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Typical scenario is Airtasker - plenty of people to take the low hanging fruit however the meatier tasks have fewer people in the picture - same as many other industries.

    The next highest is the construction sector.
     
  8. Ghoti

    Ghoti Well-Known Member

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    ANZ Bank have announced as part of their Agile 'New ways of working' they will no longer need Project Managers. IT PM will no longer be a role come March, and PMs will need to apply for other roles or acceot redundancy. That will put a few back on the market!!
     
  9. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    @Ghoti - less demand for black belts?
     
  10. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    How much of the shortage is down to the HR process?
    • Requiring candidates have X years experience, rather than being willing to give them time and training to get to speed.
    • Putting obstacles in the way of people with in-demand skills. In my niche (Android development), the first step is being asked to write an app from scratch, which might take several days to a week.
    • Selecting on pretty arbitrary criteria. For example, expecting that all good developers contribute to Stack Overflow or projects on GitHub, and rejecting those who don't have such a profile.
     
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  11. JDP1

    JDP1 Well-Known Member

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    That's not what I'm saying in the above post. What I'm saying is that rather than specific skills lacking, more (and easier to source ) VALUE can be gotten more readily elsewhere for the same cost.
    This makes a compelling argument for the likes of atlassian to move shop elsewhere, which they and many others have done.
     
  12. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    I think that I understand your point @JDP1, as there seems to be a smaller IT sector in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane than you get in London or the Bay Area.

    (Seek has 70 Android jobs in Australia over the last week. Jobserve has 140 in London, and bear in mind the UK market is often dead from November to April.)

    That said, here's an interesting piece from a developer-turned-academic at the UWA about the lack of professional development from the likes of Atlassian. It even gets a response from Scott Farquhar (one of the founders) in its comments:

    Australian companies should cultivate local tech workers not play the 457 visa game
     
  13. Newyproperty

    Newyproperty Well-Known Member

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    I work for a big vendor and that provides managed services, some of those services are cloud security services.

    +1 for lack of security resources. Theres not many people that are great at it, nor does anyone at a management level really understand it either.

    Other areas i find people lacking skills
    - Project managers: Theres actually a lot of project managers, but i've only come across a couple of ones that actually know what they're doing, the rest were rubbish.

    - SAP Basis: I've been around a lot of SAP Basis resources and most are absolute rubbish. Mind you, most of them have been off shore, but a few of them Australian based. A lot of them lack fundamental network/troubleshooting skills that are required for SAP Basis.
     
  14. kierank

    kierank Well-Known Member

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    I hear there is a shortage of COBOL programmers. Apparently the pay is pretty good.
     
  15. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Calling @geoffw - apparently there's a skill shortage in IT.
     
  16. Perthguy

    Perthguy Well-Known Member

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    I studied COBOL at uni. I think I was quite good at it but that was many years ago. My dream job would be dugging. When I worked in IT coding, I was the worst coder but the best degugger. The other coders wrote beautiful code but could not debug to save themselves. My code was functional but ugly and I ended up doing all the dubugging.
     
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  17. geoffw

    geoffw Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks. Now I just need to dust down my 35yo COBOL manuals. My adabas/natural is a little more recent but not much.
     
  18. kierank

    kierank Well-Known Member

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    What!! No Fortran or PL1?
     
  19. geoffw

    geoffw Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes to Fortran. I started with Minitran at high school - we had perforated cards which we posted to Monash University. One week turnaround for a compile.

    More recently VB and then C# but still 15 years ago. More recently JavaScript and a few web technologies, but still no solid expertise on any one technology.
     
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  20. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    I hear that a start up call Microsoft is bringing out an operating system. Apparently it will require 32k base memory and an 8" floppy disk drive.

    Bound to be a flop.
     

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