Wanted: Architecture, security IT pros

With more companies looking to refresh IT infrastructure and secure networks, architecture engineers and certified security pros are in hot demand, say industry watchers.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor on

Having kept a tight rein on IT budgets during the downturn of the past year-and-a-half, more companies are now looking to refresh their IT infrastructure. With that, there will be a spike in demand for professionals with specific skill sets.

"More companies will look to hire engineers with CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert) accreditation, telco and protocol knowledge, as well as design experience in high-end datacenter infrastructure," said Roger Olofsson, associate director for IT at executive recruitment firm Robert Walters.

In a chat with ZDNet Asia, he added that with cloud computing, networking and virtualization of organizations' data centers gaining increasing importance during the refresh, workers who possess Internet protocol (IP) networking and scalable IT infrastructure skills will be in much demand.

Fellow industry watcher Manish Bahl, custom research manager at Springboard Research, agreed. He said that companies in the Asia-Pacific region are experiencing the "greatest shortages of skills" in areas like enterprise architecture, application development and system integration.

"[Our] data shows that there will be more demand for systems integration skills from banking and financial services, high-tech and public-sector companies. [As for] application development skills, these will see more demand from manufacturing and government organizations," he noted in an e-mail interview with ZDNet Asia.

With the emphasis on IT infrastructure refresh, there will also be more demand for software developers, said Olofsson. This will apply particularly to those who develop applications for the SAP and customer relationship management (CRM) platforms.

On security, Olofsson noted that security engineers who have CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) or CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor) credentials have been in demand for some time now. This is in line with increasing security threats in the Web space, as well as the complexity of securing enterprise data in a world with multi-access points, he said.

"Security experts who are adept in preventive maintenance of networks, the deterrence of intrusions by cybercriminals and even professionals who breach the system on purpose to locate system loopholes, are particularly sought after," Olofsson said.

Within the security sector, computer forensics, which looks at the ability to implement solutions to trace intruders after a system is breached, is emerging, he pointed out. Though the talent pool is still small, more companies are seeking professionals who have the skill set for this field, the Robert Walters executive added.

Meanwhile, out of all the various disciplines, overall project management remains one of the key factors for any IT project's success, which is why such managers will see the "biggest increase in salaries, particularly for contract staff", said Olofsson.

In Singapore, employment rates for infrastructure support, sales and marketing, and software development are the highest within the infocommunications technology (ICT) sector, according to the Ministry of Manpower's (MoM) Labor Market Highlights 2009 report.

When asked to comment, a MoM representative pointed ZDNet Asia to its findings which revealed that out of all IT positions, enterprise resource planning personnel, software engineer and systems analyst are some of the more in-demand and higher-paying jobs available.

Dispensing with advice for job seekers, Olofsson said it is still an employers' market currently, although he sees this changing by the second half of 2010.

"The most important thing for professionals to note is to take the initiative. Companies will look to give more opportunities and responsibilities to these people, and in turn, these employees will stand to gain by being more thoroughly equipped for their jobs."

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