This year promises to be another strong year for the IT industry given its premium status within Northern Ireland. Salaries and daily rates are likely to see an upward curve again and there are indications that IT professionals will become more mobile and more open to explore opportunities given the strength of the industry.
Continued competition amongst businesses for top IT talent has influenced how companies recruit and retain staff. Speeding up hiring times, training from within and offering attractive compensation packages are some of the tactics applied by market savvy employers keen to land and keep the best and brightest talent.
Increasing numbers of job opportunities and an ever apparent skills shortage means skilled and experienced IT professionals often receive multiple offers. This situation continues to inflate salaries with the IT sector as the employment offers become even more competitive via above-market pay and other attractive financial incentives are common, and offers may include stock options, flexible work schedules and other perks.
All of these factors have often resulted in clients losing potential hires to other companies or counter offers. Employers who move quickly during the recruitment process and have flexibility on salaries and benefits at offer stage have been most successful in securing key hires. Organisations with lengthy interview processes or wait too long to extend job offers continue to miss opportunities to make a great hire.
Hot Industries for IT Hiring
Here are some sectors that will be especially active with IT hiring in the year ahead:
- Financial Services: Financial services providers are offering more technology-enabled services to customers, such as online banking and brokerage services. There is a business-critical need for reliability and connectivity for both internal and customer-facing systems and apps.
- Healthcare: Healthcare organisations are embracing new technologies to meet regulatory compliance demands, accelerate innovation and improve the quality of patient care.
- Managed Services: More companies are relying on managed services providers for day-to-day IT needs, from data storage to network management.
- Telecommunications: Trends include relentless demand for connectivity and speed in communication, robust growth in devices and services, and network convergence.
Cloud Computing and Virtualisation continues to be a huge trend with a significant percentage of companies looking to derive cost savings by switching to virtual environments. This is a market in its infancy with massive growth expected over the next 3-5 years. There has never been a better time to be an infrastructure professional in Northern Ireland.
This commercial trend is driving demand for technical skills such as VMware and Citrix in particular. We understand this market in immense detail and can assist you making the right career move to the companies that value their employees, provide structured career road mapping with commercial certifications and give you the technical exposure you need to really take your infrastructure career to the next level.
Project work and consulting roles will likely remain abundant in 2016. Increasing business demands are prompting many companies to invest in new technologies, along with upgrades and migration projects around tools such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Candidates who have knowledge of both new and legacy business systems are highly sought after by employers.
Many employers, depending on their clients, are now insisting that candidates have certain credentials. Certifications currently in demand include:
- Cisco certifications: Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), Cisco Certified Networking Professional (CCNP)
- Microsoft certifications: Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP), Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) Project management certifications: Project Management Professional (PMP)
- Security certifications: Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
- Virtualization certifications: VMware Certified Professional (VCP)
Over the last 3 years, the specific sectors that are most in demand have changed just as quickly as the local IT landscape. Last year, the hype was Software Engineering and Testing. This year, these areas are still sought after but rising rapidly through the ranks are Cloud Engineering/Support, Information Security, and Data Analytics.
Software Development Market
Peak demand continues to grow for open source and proprietary developers with excellent opportunities in the Northern Ireland market for developers at all levels to really carve out an excellent career. Web, software and mobile app developers – employers across industries are looking to hire them all. Those with .NET, PHP and MySQL skills, as well as those with responsive design skills, are in high demand.
For full stack developers with strong degrees and a couple of years commercial experience, we have seen salaries rise year on year by about 8%. Mid-level developers with 4 + years’ experience have been seeing increments of 7% - 10%. More seasoned, senior developers have seen comparable increases.
Developers/ Programmers must have strong analytical and problem-solving abilities. They must understand and conceptualise applications from both a technical/programming perspective and a business point of view. Because they deal with both technical personnel and business managers/administrators, as well as participate on project teams, they need strong interpersonal and communication skills. Most employers look for at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information science or management information systems and relevant job experience.