7 most important tech jobs needed for today's digital enterprise

Development skills are more critical than ever to keep enterprises competitive, but roles increasingly require a dash of business savvy and leadership abilities as well.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

What are the tech jobs currently most needed to help an organization move into the digital realm?

Many of the tried-and-true tech skillsets that have been honed to help enterprises build out web services, SOA, cloud, microservices and containers are well-suited for the all-encompassing digital enterprise everyone is now striving to build.

But all these IT roles now require an additional twist -- there needs to be greater engagement with end users, and even more directly with customers themselves. There is a stronger thread that emphasizes achieving business value in today's enterprise IT roles.

Photo: IBM Media Relations

That thread is seen woven throughout this list of digital enterprise jobs, recently published by McKinsey, which sought to identify the essential skills needed for the digital evolution. Here is their list, developed by Satty Bhens, Ling Lau, and Hugo Sarrazin, all with McKinsey:

Full-stack architects. This is a broad architectural role, encompassing every part of the infrastructure you can think of -- platform, OS, database, middleware, and interfaces. These professionals should have "at least eight to ten years of software engineering experience and deep expertise with one to two core programming languages," Bhens, Lau, and Sarrazin observe. A keen grasp of the business is also part of the equation.

DevOps engineers. With release cycles going into hyperdrive, enterprises need people who can keep developers and operations teams in sync. Requirements include "five to eight years of software-engineering experience and have now ventured into infrastructure-automation technologies (e.g., Chef, Puppet, et cetera), cloud platforms (e.g., AWS, Azure, et cetera), and more advanced containerization technologies (e.g., Docker)," the McKinsey analysts write.

Product owners. Bhems, Lau, and Sarrazin equate this role to being a "mini-CEO of a digital product," which is a great way to put it. These are the people who tie the product directly to the business, and thoroughly understand the ROI it can deliver. Requirements include "three to five years of strong product-management experience and a good sense for the intersection of business, user-experience design, and technology."

Designers. User experience (UX) and customer experience (CX) are the watchwords for succeeding in business today, and needed are professionals are IT-savvy, and can focus "on getting at the heart of the customer through ethnographic research, human-centered design, and rapid test-and-learn cycles with customers," the authors state. Requirements for designers include experience in conducting research, field testing, and "using design tools such as personas, empathy maps, and customer journeys."

Front-end and mobile engineers. These professionals are charged with "building high-performing, scalable, and elegant web and mobile user interfaces," the authors explain. Requirements include "deep expertise in front-end web and mobile technologies that include browser-based HTML, CSS, and modern JavaScript frameworks (e.g., ReactJS, Angular.js, etc) and native mobile platforms on either iOS and/or Android."

Scrum masters and agility coaches. The fastest-moving IT shops these days typically engage in Agile development to rapidly and iteratively churn out software with user input every step of the way. Needed are "scrum masters to manage teams during the development process." These professionals needs to have "great leadership and enabling skills," along with "a deep understanding of technology and an ability to rapidly solve problems" -- and keep the project on track and free from distractions.

Next-gen machine-learning engineers. Machine learning is a relatively new skillset on the scene, requiring more of a renaissance software engineer, the McKinsey team observes. Such an individual needs to know how to work with data, how to write algorithms, and how to make it all function within high-velocity environments.

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