Asian firms seek new generation workers

Web-based applications and a globalized workforce are among the reasons why application delivery and optimization experts are in demand across Asia.

Increasingly, organizations in the Asia-Pacific region are introducing browser-based applications to their employees for use globally, creating a new breed of IT professionals who specialize in application delivery.

Joe Skorupa, Gartner's vice president of enterprise network services and infrastructure research, said these professionals, who are coined application delivery architects/engineers and network optimization consultants/engineers, are in high demand across the Asia-Pacific region.

"The demand is highest in Australia, Singapore, Korea, Japan and parts of China, due to the move toward browser-based applications, globalization of the workforce and increased needs for security and business agility," Skorupa said in e-mail interview.

Tay Kok Choon, country manager of JobStreet Singapore, noted how demands on today's network architecture, which lets employees access applications and work remotely from anywhere in the world, has resulted in the need for these professionals.

"The load on a network during a conference call among 30 people, for example, is unbelievable. The network has to be robust," Tay said in a phone interview. "This creates a need for people to ensure uptime, plan network size and throughput, and plan for network growth."

Roger Olofsson, IT associate director at Robert Walters recruitment consultancy told ZDNet Asia, the specific skills required of such individuals include expertise in network optimization, and knowledge of the tools that optimize performance and communications over the network.

With all the bandwidth-intensive applications in use, Olofsson said, businesses without the necessary network optimization know-how, would have to bear high costs associated with having to buy more bandwidth to support the increasing demand on the network.

According to Tay, today's network architecture allows an application to be located at a data center in one location, while supporting users who are based anywhere in the world.

In such a scenario, Olofsson said, throughput time becomes critical. "It's frustrating if the user has to wait," he said. "When you start running business applications on such a network, you need to optimize network capacity".

Wanted: All-rounder technologists
Tay said organizations are now adopting a holistic approach to application delivery and IT infrastructure access.

As such, technologists "must know how to manage and balance business issues, technology concerns, security, policy management and service level commitment", he said. "They must also be mindful of the interface between internal and external users, network management and device availability".

Beyond the technical aspects, IT professionals who have additional business or law majors also stand out in the crowd, Tay said.

One reason for this, he explained, relates to the legal issues around intellectual property ownership. In addition, IT professionals also have to draft technical policy documents that may include procedures of a legal nature. They may have to explain to the organization's policy makers, the legal necessity of including these procedures into their IT deployment.