Tag Archives: Skills

Tech Skills Employers Want Now: More Than Development


IT professionals always want to know which skills employers are looking for. They understand that the technology field is changing all the time, so they need to keep their abilities up to date if they want to remain marketable.

The online job posting sites don’t provide a complete picture of the IT job market, but they can provide interesting insight into which skills are trending up or down. Indeed.com recently provided Network Computing with two separate reports about hot IT job skills. The research illustrates how organizations look for different skills depending on whether they are writing job postings or are doing a resume search.

The list below ranks the skills that have recently appeared in job postings on Indeed.com. In other words, these are the capabilities that employers are requesting when they upload listings to the job board:

1. Java

2. Agile

3. JavaScript

4. .NET

5. HTML

6. Python

7. CSS

8. Amazon Web Services

9. C or C++

10. Git

(To compile this list, Indeed calculated the percentage of tech job postings which contain the above skills from October 2017 to April 2018 and ranked those skills in order by % of job postings in which they occur.)

So what do these skills have in common?

Almost all of them are development skills. Seven are programming languages, and Agile and Git are also related to development —   Agile because it is a development methodology and Git because it is a source code version control system. And while you could argue that IT infrastructure professionals might need to know JavaScript, .NET, or Python to do their jobs, really only one skill on that list — Amazon Web Services — is clearly related to infrastructure.

However, a second list Indeed provided to Network Computing told a slightly different story. The table below includes a rank of search terms typed into Indeed’s resume search engine. In other words, when employers go looking for someone to fill a role, these are the skills  they are looking for.

Rank

Search Term

# of resume searches per 1m total

1

Java developer

1,076

2

Java

812

3

UI developer

598

4

Software engineer

568

5

Network engineer

526

6

.net developer

514

7

.net

428

8

DevOps engineer

409

9

Web developer

387

10

Salesforce

377

 

For this list, Indeed calculated the share of searches (per 1 million total) per search phrase in its Resume search engine from November 2017 through January 2018

Clearly, development skills are still highly in demand, but network engineers, which weren’t represented on the other list at all, are way up in fifth place. And DevOps engineers, infrastructure professionals who are knowledgeable in DevOps approaches, came in eighth.

These lists only provide a brief snapshot of the tech job market at a given point in time. However, they do seem to indicate that for infrastructure professionals looking to improve their skills, classes in networking and DevOps might be the way to go.

And if you’re on a job search site and it seems like all the job postings are for developers and software engineers, don’t get discouraged. Even though they might not be placing as many ads for IT infrastructure pros, employers might still be looking for you.



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Full-Stack Engineer: 3 Key Skills


Until fairly recently, most infrastructure professionals typically learned one area of the data center extremely well and spent their entire careers refining that specialty. Someone might be a storage professional or a networking professional, but rarely did he or she need to know both. And some were hyper-specialized, perhaps focusing in on Cisco routers or Linux servers.

While employers are still posting jobs for these types of positions, many are starting to look for IT staff who have broad rather than deep knowledge. As trends like cloud computing, DevOps and containerization have become more prevalent, organizations need IT workers who understand it all:  servers, storage, networking, virtualization, applications, security, and even the basics of how the business functions.

Scott Lowe, engineering architect at VMware, likes to refer to this type of well-rounded IT worker as a “full-stack engineer.” He knows the “full-stack” moniker is often used for developers who work on both front-end and back-end programming, but Lowe said he co-opted the term to describe infrastructure/applications engineers who are being forced to move out of the one area where they’ve worked.

Lowe hosts a popular podcast called The Full-Stack Journey, speaks regularly at Interop ITX, and also writes a blog that covers cloud computing, virtualization, networking and open source tools. Network Computing recently spoke with Lowe about why demand is growing for full-stack engineers.

He traced the origins of the full-stack movement to a number of converging trends.

First, he noted that IT groups are under increasing pressure to define the business value for every project or purchase they undertake. For example, if an organization is going to replace a server, IT often needs to justify that update to the business. That means IT professionals “need to be more aware of what technology is being used for. That’s what’s pulling us up the stack,” explained Lowe. Full-stack engineers need to understand which applications are running on the servers and why they are important to the business.

Second, he said that the trend toward cloud computing had made organizations realize that they have an alternative to in-house infrastructure, which has changed their perspective on IT investments. Also, because many organizations are moving workloads to the public cloud, “IT professionals have to shift their skillsets because the skillset they need to be effective and to thrive when those environments are in play are different than the skillsets they needed in order to thrive and be effective in a private data center,” Lowe said.

In addition, many organizations have “an increasing desire and need to use automation as a way of providing more consistent standardized configurations and to make IT organizations more effective,” said Lowe. That, too, is affecting the skills that IT professionals need to have in order to be successful.

So what skills do infrastructure pros need to have if they want to become full-stack engineers? Lowe said three types of skills are key:

1. Automation

Lowe said that there is no one characteristic that defines a full-stack engineer, “but the thing that comes the closest is fully embracing automation and orchestration in everything that they do.” That encompasses a wide range of tools and technologies, ranging from configuration management to containers to infrastructure as code.

2. Public cloud

With the public cloud becoming more prevalent among enterprises, Lowe also advised IT pros to develop their cloud computing skills. He specifically called out Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure as two vendors that are important.

3. Continuous learning

The last skill on this list isn’t so much a set of knowledge to acquire as a necessary mindset. “Accept or embrace the idea that learning is going to be an integral part of your career moving forward,” advised Lowe. He said that because this is a dynamic and ever-changing industry, “our skillset also has to be dynamic and ever-changing.”

Scott Lowe will offer more advice about moving up the stack at Interop ITX 2018, where he will present “The Full Stack Journey: A Career Perspective.”

Get live advice on networking, storage, and data center technologies to build the foundation to support software-driven IT and the cloud. Attend the Infrastructure Track at Interop ITX, April 30-May 4, 2018. Register now!

 



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Hot Storage Skills For The Modern Data Center


The world of data storage is evolving faster than dinosaurs after the asteroid struck. Much of the old storage “theology” is on the block as we move to a world of solid-state, software-defined, open source, cloudy appliances and leave RAID arrays behind. That inevitably means that the skills needed to be a successful storage administrator also are changing.

Let’s first look at some timelines. Solid state is already mainstream and 2017 will see a massive jump in usage as 3D NAND hits its stride. With the industry promising 100 TB 2.5 inch SSDs in 2017, even bulk storage is going to change from hard-disk drives. Software-defined storage (SDS) is really just getting started, but if its networking equivalent (SDN) is a guide,  we can expect to see it gain traction quickly.

Open source code, such as Ceph and OpenStack, is already a recognized business alternative. Cloud storage today is mainstream as a storage vehicle for cold data, but still emerging for mission-critical information. This year, we can expect OpenStack hybrid clouds to transition to production operations with the arrival of new management tools and approaches to storage.

Coupled with these storage changes are several transitions under way in servers and networking. The most important is the migration of virtual instances to the container model. Not only do containers impact server efficiency, the ability to manage them and integrate data and network storage resources across the hybrid environment is going to be an in-demand skill in the next-generation data center.

One poorly understood but important issue is how to tune performance in the new environment. We are still getting the wheels to turn in so much of this new stuff, but at some point the realization will hit that a well-tuned data management approach will prevent many of the ills that could arise in performance and security.

In this environment, demand for many traditional storage skills will decline. With cloud backup and archiving rapidly becoming standard, anything to do with traditional backup and tape libraries has to top the list of skills on the way out. Tape has been declared dead regularly for decades, but now the low prices and built-in disaster recovery benefits of the cloud make any tape-based approach impractical.

RAID-based skills are in the same boat. Array sales are dropping off as small Ethernet appliances make for more flexible solutions. In fact, the block-IO model, which struggles to scale, is in decline, replaced by REST and object storage. Skills ranging from building Fibre-Channel SANs to managing LUNs and partitions will be less needed as the decline of the traditional SAN occurs, though IT is conservative and the SAN will fade away, not instantly disappear.

NAS access is in many ways object storage with a different protocol to ask for the objects. While the file model will tend to stick around, just as block-IO will take time to go away, increasingly it will be offered on an object platform, which means that a NAS admin will need to become skilled with object storage approaches.

Continue on to find out what data storage skills will be in demand in the years ahead.

(Image: Mark Agnor/Shutterstock)



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