A sunday night snapshot of the current IT market in Australia

Greetings and Salutations,

Over the last few months, I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to get a broad and, at times, in-depth view of the Australian IT market and the players within it.

In my recent travels, I saw a definitive trend with all outsource and professional service organisations opening their doors and swelling numbers. Is this a sign that the slow drying up of outsource contracts that has occurred over the last few years is reversing?

Another interesting fact about this conjunction in time, is that anecdotal evidence suggests that most IT departments have seen a real increase of between fifteen and thirty percent to their budgets and FTE head counts. Perhaps this accounts for the previous observation and demand for workers. It may also account for IT salaries jumping some ten to thirty-five percent!

So, what’s happening across the job boards? An interesting view of the industry, the technology and business trends is unfolding.

On the lower rungs, specialty skills in high demand were a little surprising, with a recent increase in the number of job ads across the boards for Unix skills (Solaris/Linux were quite high, but a definitive increase in AIX ads), Storage and Backup, Novell technologies (are they making a comeback in the Australian market?), Java/J2EE experience. As always, there seemed to be an increase in all forms of support-team roles, but with a greater demand and focus on the “soft skills” rather than technology experience.

Going up the ladder, there is an increased demand for Security roles with salaries in this region seemingly being called by the sellers. CRM, ERP, BI and EAI are all very big at the moment, so if you have experience in these areas you seem to be white hot. In the development space I noticed a lot of calls for 3G programming, mobile-commerce, web application servers, Service Oriented Architecture and XML based roles. There seems to be a few roles focused around BizTalk, but there is a definitive skills shortage of experianced people in this space.

Overall though, Architecture, Compliance and Service management roles dominated the market in the last few months.

Compliance is really making a fore across the industry, as acts like Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) are making their presence felt in the Australian arms of US companies. Some of the clever European, Asian and Australian companies are looking at SOX and implementing SOX compliance as a bridge to excellence. There’s quite a few corporate leaders who believe that if they embrace the “spirit” of SOX (i.e. strong ethics, good governance, reliable reporting) that it can re-energize their company and reassure investors.

Perhaps, this and other compliance related work, along with a need to define procedures, methods and policies is pushing the requirement for frameworks. When you combine these factors with those for the call of centralisation, consolidation and/or rationalisation, leads very quickly for the demand for architects to help you keep it all together.

Once the Architects design it and keep the vision true, someone needs to make sure that the implementation and the running remain strong and true, thus enter the Service Delivery and management personnel.

All very neat really.


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