Mario Matthee, head of DVT’s Intern Programme, looks at some of the most keenly sought software skills in the new year
Some thoughts on business analysts and project managers of the future, 2012 and beyond:
The need for people who are multi-skilled across these roles will grow. Business analysis and project management will stay until death do us part, but the specific roles of business analyst and project manager might slowly fade away in future. As new modern methodologies are born, new roles are created such as product managers and scrum masters. These new-generation roles will become more in demand as businesses embark on these new methodologies. The new roles are often a combination of some of the typical business analyst functions and some project manager functions. Therefore there will be a need for resources who can play comfortably across both these roles and who are not boxed as a business analyst or a project manager.
We are in the next phase of IT where technical skills will have to be augmented with higher level skills like understanding business, emotional intelligence, and communication skills. The .NET and Java worlds are becoming a commodity, rates are not increasing much and the east is increasingly challenging the west with good resources. We see a move from building business solutions with technical components to assembling business solutions with components. The market requires a move from purely software engineer towards business engineer.
The pressure will increase:
1) Excellent vs good. You have to be special to keep your job. Average developers will be under pressure to move on and will be replaced by new tools and technologies to develop faster while excellent developers will write core components to be used by business engineers to assemble applications.
2) Developers will move away from the computer science and algorithmic side to using those skills to model business and deliver business value rather than technical value – most of the “cool stuff” computer scientists live for is pioneered in countries with the infrastructure and money to create and that has a market with an appetite for the new. The rest of us will apply those technologies in businesses we understand well – the east cannot replace the resources that truly understand the client’s environment.
3) Problem solving emphasis will move away from technical problems to business problems. The technical problems have mostly been solved in our market conditions. The books have been written about search algorithms, transaction management and all the other fun computer science stuff we lived for in the ‘80s, ‘90s and early 2000s. We need to deliver money-making dynamic systems that change with the market and are not cast in concrete.
In short, the market will favour skills that provide solutions quicker, cheaper and better suited to the changing world of business. Quality assurance will become increasingly important to enhance the client experience.
From the mobile side we are seeing a short supply of Objective C developers for iOS (iPhone, iPad) which will probably get worse during next year. It’s not a popular coding language locally.
We will start seeing more interest in html5 and associated skills.
These are just a few of the in-demand skills for people wishing to enter the software market or enhance their career. They highlight the fact that the market will always demand specialised skills, and that there will never be an over-supply of the right skills sets.