Despite the recession, the IT industry as a whole has not really suffered. Overall, the industry has bucked the downward trend, with demand for most kinds of IT professionals growing rather than falling off.
The way IT professionals work has changed, with more temporary contracts on offer than ever, but overall there is still plenty of work for people with the right skills. Within the industry, there have been some areas of phenomenal growth, driven by the new ways businesses and organisations now use technology.
A great example of this has been in the use of data. The introduction of standalone computers in the 1980s allowed firms to gather valuable data about themselves, which they used to analysis their businesses. This electronically held data allowed them to quickly analysis their overheads and performance. This allowed those with the right understanding of spreadsheets and databases to determine how efficient they were, along with other aspects of their business. Doing so opened up a whole world of opportunity for many firms.
To a large extent, this revolution took place gradually, and much of the early work was done via manual entry because firms used standalone, un-networked computers. Today, much of the data is gathered automatically with data being fed into a main database coming from electronic banking, the machinery on the shop floor, customer transactions, accounting systems and purchasing systems. This means that, today, those firms and organisations that want to can have access to an amazing amount of data.
Clever use of data gives firms the edge
Smart firms are mining that data to find out more about their business and their customers. Some firms are also pulling together information about their competitors that is available in the public domain. Doing so is giving them an edge over their competitors.
An increasing need for data scientists
This thirst for data and the analysis of that information has created a completely new sector within the IT industry. Today, IT job boards like that found are full of big data or data scientist roles.
As the amount of data that firms and organisations hold about themselves and their customers increases, demand for IT professionals with big data skills is also growing. Unfortunately, there is a real problem because not enough IT professionals have the right skill set. Even those that do have very little experience. In addition, the sector is moving fast with the languages used to write the programmes used to extract, analysis and present the data is also changing all the time. This means that there are more big data or data scientist roles being advertised than there are people to fill them.
Data scientists command high salaries
For industry, as a whole, this is a big issue. Not being able to recruit people to help them to mine the data that they already have is holding many firms back. However, for IT professionals with big data skills and experience it is very good news. They command very good salaries. The average pay for a permanent IT employee is just over £43,000 for a big data or data scientist typical salaries are currently running at closer to £52,000.