IT staffing troubles begin, especially with younger developers

Summary:This is a time when new technology-oriented companies and startups are bursting foward across the business landscape, and slurping up talent. CIOs say they are feeling the pinch.

The recent soft economy was tough on everyone, but in one respect, it made life a little easier for IT managers. They could hang on to their IT talent. But lately, as the economy starts to heat up, and projects multiply, IT professionals have been harder to come by.

This is especially the case with younger professionals, CIOs say. Network World's Carolyn Duffy spoke with Marsan Louis Trebino, CIO and senior vice president at the Harry Fox Agency (HFA) in New York City, who reported all kinds of issues with younger staff and Java programmers. "No sooner does he hire a Java programmer and train him in the company's music industry niche, than the programmer is recruited away for a higher salary."

Money is one issue, and unwillingness to work on legacy systems is another, says Trebino:

"They don't want to deal with something that's existing. Our systems are fairly large and complex. They've been built and evolved over a number of years. They're not off-the-shelf; everything is custom. Younger workers get frustrated by these applications. They don't understand why the program does this. They want to just write something fresh...."

To address this sense of alienation, Trebino says he is promoting greater ownership of projects in which IT professionals are given greater latitude in technology decisions. They are working closer with business users as well -- adopting Agile techniques.

This is a time when new technology-oriented companies and startups are bursting foward across the business landscape, and slurping up talent. Enterprises will need to formulate smarter and more creative ways to attract and keep the talent they need to build new business capabilities. Automation, cloud and outsourcing are ways to address IT needs, but these just meet current and known requirements -- but don't help the business look forward. If a business is to grow, it needs active minds on board that can discover new ways to leverage business technology.

Topics: CXO, Cloud, Start-Ups


Joe McKendrick is an author and independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. Joe is co-author, along with 16 leading industry leaders and thinkers, of the SOA Manifesto, which outlines the values and guiding principles of service orientation. He speaks frequently on cloud, SOA, data, and... Full Bio

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