Needed: 'five times' as many SOA architects as we now have

Not enough skills, not enough budget. Time to get resourceful about SOA.

Forget all the negativity we've been hearing about SOA over the past year. Forget all the negativity in the headlines about today's economy.

Demand for SOA-related skills is hot, and getting hotter among organizations.

The squeeze is on -- not enough skills, not enough budget. Time to get resourceful about SOA

Rich Seeley spoke to David Foote, who tracks demand levels for IT skills, who related that SOA is driving demand for IT professionals with skills and certifications. As Foote put it: "Most companies we talk to have architects, but they need five times as many."

In particular, organizations are hungry for the skills of SOA architects that know how to align SOA-enabling technologies with business requirements and culture. As Foote put it:

"Companies are willing to pay a lot of money to find and develop that talent. I think SOA has really pushed this because companies realize you need people with architecture skill sets to do this well."

There are several different levels of SOA architects -- from more technical and integration focused to more business savvy. Organizations need architects that fall somewhere in between, according to Foote. This is a point I've heard from many other sources as well. For example, this was the hottest point of discussion at this summer's Open Group enterprise architect confab -- that businesses need talented managers who can speak both the languages of the business and IT.

So, in the meantime, organizations are caught in a squeeze --tight budgets on one end, and skills shortages on the other.  I've talked about this in previous posts -- how a combination of woes results in some very busy and overstressed IT shops. We may find that IT and SOA professionals will continue to be asked to do more and more with less and less, without additional staff resources.

As a result, we will see an ongoing juggling act (with knives and torches thrown in), and some projects will get dropped to the floor. Some SOA projects — even those that don’t cost too much — may simply be relegated to the bottom of the priority list because of lack of time, and lack of perceived urgency. But this inability to adequately staff and fund SOA projects is something we’d see even in a booming economy. In essence, SOA success will go to the resourceful.