Cisco

Top 10 tech skills for 2010

What areas should you focus on over the next year? This survey-based list highlights the 10 most sought-after IT skills.

At the end of last year, the Global Knowledge/TechRepublic 2010 Salary Survey asked, "What skill set will your company be looking to add in 2010?" The skills listed by respondents include a mix of perennial favorites and cutting edge technologies. Here's the complete list.

Note: This list is based on the Global Knowledge white paper Top 10 Skills in Demand in 2010.

1: Project management

As we emerge from the recession, organizations aren't likely to go back to the go-go days of throwing money at IT initiatives or taking risks and deploying without careful thought and planning. Organizations are putting pressure on IT to implement only projects that can show real return on investment. The first step to achieving a good ROI is professional project planning and implementation.

Project management skills often appear in top 10 skills lists, perhaps because some organizations got their fingers burned in the 1990s through the poor implementation of IT projects such as enterprise resource planning initiatives. But even though the profession is mature (in IT terms), project managers still have work to do to advance their status within organizations. According to an article on the Project Management Institute Web site, project managers still have to develop their people skills, organizational leadership, and individual professionalism.

2: Security

It's a never-ending game of cat and mouse for security professionals, and 2009 proved to be another fun-filled year. According to Symantec's Security and Storage Trends to Watch report, the number of spam messages containing malware increased ninefold, to represent more than 2% of emails. Other criminals manipulated people's love of social networking sites to launch attacks. Twitter, for example, spent much of 2009 battling DDoS and other attacks. Meanwhile, top headlines, such as the H1N1 flu and the death of Michael Jackson were used by criminals to lure people to download malware.

Symantec predicts more of the same in 2010, warning that attackers will continue to use social engineering to get to consumers' sensitive data, and criminals will take Windows 7 as a challenge for seeking and exploiting vulnerabilities in the new platform. Mac and smartphones will also be targeted more by malware authors, Symantec says.

Despite the economic challenges of '09, organizations continued to hire security pros. The most sought-after security skills were information risk management, operations security, certification and accreditation, security management practices, and security architecture and models, according to a survey last year of 1,500 U.S.-based security pros by security certification provider ISC2. 2010 is expected to be another busy year for security professionals.

3: Network administration

Networking administration skills never lose their luster. It's the second most sought-after skill in the Global Knowledge survey and it will be the top skill sought by CIOs in the first quarter of 2010, according to a survey of IT chiefs by Robert Half Technology. In 2010, organizations are expected to upgrade to Windows Server 2008 R2 and the Windows 7 client and perhaps install Exchange Server 2010 and SharePoint 2010. Enterprises are going to need network administrators to ensure network traffic continues to move without a hitch.

Meanwhile, Cisco hopes to push more data-intensive traffic onto corporate networks. Video is a key focus for Cisco in 2010, as it works to finalize its control of video conferencing maker Tandberg and through its 2009 purchase of Pure Digital, developer of the Flip video camera. At the end of last year, Cisco introduced two TelePresence certifications: the Cisco TelePresence Solutions Specialist for midcareer voice or networking engineers seeking to specialize in the planning, design, and implementation of Cisco TelePresence; and TelePresence Installation Specialist, aimed at installation technicians.

4: Virtualization -- Cloud

The projected cost savings and efficiencies are no-brainers for organizations seeking to implement virtualization and cloud computing. With the cloud computing space now taking shape, it's difficult for enterprises to find pros with substantial relevant experience. Instead, companies are drawing expertise from a range of IT skill sets, including storage, networks, and desktop, according to a Network World article. Initially, companies will set up cross-functional teams to buy and implement virtualization. But eventually, cloud computing will be an expected skill set of system administrators. In a few years, it could even be a standard skill set of all IT pros because it touches different aspects of IT.

5: Business analysis

Business analysis roles were commonplace in many organizations in the 1990s when big projects, such as enterprise resource planning initiatives, required the critical thinking that business analysts could provide. But as businesses began moving at a faster pace, business analysis fell by the wayside. Factors such as the economic downturn and regulatory compliance have forced companies to take a step back and to think through business problems and their solutions. As a result, business analysis is making a comeback. Kathleen Barret, president of the International Institute of Business Analysis, says the discipline is a phoenix rising.

The IIBA describes the job of a BA as a "liaison among stakeholders in order to elicit, analyze, communicate, and validate requirements for changes to business processes, policies, and information systems." IT pros are good candidates for BA jobs because they have a broad perspective of a company's business, says Barret. There are three types of BAs: enterprise BAs, who identify opportunities for business change and define the work to be done; transition BAs, who fine-tune the plans; and project BAs, who work on project teams that implement the changes. Annual salaries average around $75,000 with enterprise and transition analysts earning more, Barret says.

For more about business analysis, see the IIBA's Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge.

6: Business process improvement

With project management and business analysis skills appearing in this list, it's no surprise that business process improvement is also here. Business process improvement and business analysis go hand in hand. Business analysts identify areas for improvements to business processes, while business process improvement or management pros use BPM techniques and technologies to help companies optimize their business processes.

A recent BPM survey by IT researchers the Aberdeen Group says the top factor driving BPM activity is the need to reduce operating costs and to improve cash flow. However, the biggest barrier to adoption is the lack of knowledge about BPM. According to Gartner, among the competencies required for successful BPM initiatives include process skills, tools and process assets, and transformation skills.

To learn more about BPM, go to the Web site of the Business Process Management Initiative, which promotes the standardization of common business processes.

7: Web development

If you are -- or you have friends who are -- addicted to the FarmVille game on Facebook, you know the power of Web development. In just a few short months, FarmVille's popularity has spread across the globe, as Facebook fans tend to their farms and purchase virtual goods. The game, including others by FarmVille developer Zynga, has netted the startup more than 200 million monthly unique users for its online apps. One financial analyst reckons Zynga could be valued at $1 billion if it were to go IPO in mid-2010.

Developing Facebook games is just one extreme of the vast Web development spectrum. Building iPhone apps could also be very profitable, writes Web developer and blogger Glen Stansberry. As moderator of the Freelance Switch job board, Stansberry listed other popular Web development skills, including Framework knowledge, widget development, content management system customizations (for small businesses looking to create a unique look for their standard Wordpress and Drupal blogs), and Javascript Plugin creation.

8: Database management

Databases are the hearts of key business systems that drive payroll, manufacturing, sales, transaction processing, and more. Programmers must be able to build programs that quickly and efficiently interface with the database management system (DBMS), while database administrators "must be able to bring the full power of database features to bear on business problems," writes Oracle- and IBM-certified DBA Howard Fosdick in his whitepaper Database Skills Availability: Critical to Your Selection of Database. "DBA expertise can be the Achilles' heel of database projects --- many IT projects have failed due to the inability to secure DBA talent or successfully address DBA issues," he adds.

The major database vendors are Oracle, IBM, and Sybase. Oracle runs three main certification programs for database professionals. Oracle Certified Associate is the first rung of the Oracle certification ladder. Next is the flagship Oracle Certified Professional (OCP) credential, which certifies an individual's ability to manage, develop, or implement enterprise-wide databases and other software. Oracle Certified Master (OCM) is Oracle most advanced accreditation. IBM offers a dizzying array of certifications surrounding its DB2 product series. The main credentials are IBM Certified Database Associate, Database Administrator, Application Developer, and Advanced Database Administrator. Sybase has two sets of certifications for its Adaptive Server Enterprise product: ASE Administrator Associate and ASE Administrator Professional; and ASE Developer Associate and ASE Developer Professional.

9: Windows administration

As mentioned earlier, Microsoft shops are expected to upgrade to Windows Server 2008 R2 and the Windows 7 client and perhaps install Exchange Server 2010 and SharePoint 2010 as well. Windows administration skills are going to be key for many enterprises implementing and maintaining existing and upgraded systems.

Microsoft Windows Server 2008 certifications at the MCTS level cover configurations for Active Directory, networking, and applications. Certifications available for the MCITP level are Server 2008 Server Administration, Enterprise Administration. In a November blog post in Microsoft's Born to Learn blog, the company wrote that the first of its Windows Server 2008 virtualization exams would be entering beta soon. The exams will cover server virtualization, desktop virtualization, and virtualization administration. Windows 7 pros can certify as MCTS: Windows 7 - Configuration and MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator 7.

10: Desktop support

In Global Knowledge's 2010 salary survey, desktop support was the 10th most sought-after skill this year. According to Robert Half Technology Executive Director Dave Willmer, businesses will need desktop support personnel to support new workers as organizations begin hiring once the economy improves. The introduction of Microsoft Windows 7 is also expected to generate additional interest.

Microsoft currently provides the MCITP: Consumer Support Technician and MCITP: Enterprise Support Technician certifications, but they are based on Windows Vista. In its Born to Learn blog in November, Microsoft said that it is working on an MCITP: Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Support Technician certification. Prospective candidates are advised to prepare for 680: Win 7, Configuring and 685: Win 7, EDST.

About the author

Linda Leung is a senior IT journalist with 20 years' experience editing and writing news and features for online and print. She has extensive experience creating and launching news Web sites, including most recently independent communities for customers of Cisco Systems and Microsoft.

50 comments
Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Peopl who can do it, instead of just talking about it.

FlNightWizard
FlNightWizard

I am a senior manager with a 20 year career experience in the item #s listed as 1, 4, 5, 6 and 8. This includes PMI certification. So I have 5 of the 10 listed. I have been unemployed for 8 months and still looking. This is the first time in my life I have been unemployed. The demand may be coming, but it isn't here now!

jfuller05
jfuller05

I'm set! The only thing I don't handle, that's on this list, is web development; I guess I'm okay. Although, I can see hardware maintenance is on a steady decline, which is kind of a bummer.

dkps
dkps

What about IT Auditors , I think we should head the list since we have to perform have to be knowledgeable in all these jobs areas.

maurice
maurice

As an IT consultant and trainer I'm seeing a lot of interest in Agile project management and development, as well as growing demand for mobile app developers. Maurice Hagar

TheProfessorDan
TheProfessorDan

This sounds like a list that could have applied to the last five years. I don't see anything earth shattering in this list.

reefurbb
reefurbb

so many brands, types, apps and apps, OS's, all needing expoerienced repair people.....

rmendoza85
rmendoza85

You should put number 9 as globalized sysadmin (unix/windows). The universe of sys administration doesn't only apply to Windows Servers.

ricrosen14
ricrosen14

The IT work I do involves setup and maintenance of VSAT, LAN, CATV, VOIP, server, RF Communications and dealing with 600 users who have NO clue how to turn on a computer. Where does this fall in the "Top 10 Tech Skills"???

derezone
derezone

We're all needed to make the system work

RaviBD
RaviBD

By implementing a new process structure by analyzing the current Business process of an organization and devising new process strategies and implementing the same ... Can this be described as a role of a Process Manager (Business Analysis) and could we implement a cost effective structure thus reducing cost consumed by the roles mention in Point # 5,6 Skill sets are demanding and new Business Development theories suggest breaking down the phenomenal, traditional Business structures that have been followed till the Economic Crisis in 2009. More organizations has accepted that the designations are merely not to limit an employee's abilities and wide vision of his brain power could be utilized for the benefit of his organization. The traditional hierarchy should be detonated and more vital roles branching from the CEO/CTO/CIO should originate for incorporating cost effective solutions. Thank you. Ravi Kumar

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

I do everything from package applications, to implement process via a tool, to write code, to design content, to write documentation, to training users. I guess that falls under business analyst.

JCitizen
JCitizen

but security is riding high, you can bank on that if you have any experience there! The other part is some of this list is obsolete, check out some of the comments and concentrate on emphasizing any skill sets in those areas. I think the author was dreaming the economy returning, which could happen if my 1st quarter improves at the end of this month.

tracy.walters
tracy.walters

Agreed on IT Auditors..we are a busy bunch traveling all over the place in many different environments. Many companies see the value in having someone outside look at their systems, and some verticals require it as a part of due diligence, such as financial and health care industries.

paulenet
paulenet

Also, process methodologies like Agile, XP, Six Sigma (or "Sex Smegma" as I refer to it), Scrum, etc., have been overplayed by consultants that sell this stuff to companies as if they are faith healers. IT is not like manufacturing, unless of course, your employer manufactures hardware. Most of the (albeit, very few) useful components of trendy process methodologies are actually common sense, while the rest is expensive and wasteful garbage -- especially all the unmerciless number of ridiculous meetings. Oh, and don't get me started on those silly "Stand Up's" or "Code Pairings". For those that say they have found project success using Agile, or with any other methodology, have actually found project success for the same reasons non-consultant-pushed IT shops find success, which proves that these packaged process methodologies add very little tangiable value at all. Over the last 20+ years, every successful IT project I ever worked on was NOT bogged down with any ridiculous process methodology like Agile. Thankfully, some IT shops have slowly began to figure out that they can do valuable things without some smarmy, con$ultant-driven process methodology, and the huge hidden costs. Nevertheless, there are mindless IT shops that are still using these unnecessary process methodologies, but that trend is fading as some are now seeing in IT organizations, that it should be people over process. However, I am sure that this will not prevent someone from trying to evangelize some "new" copycat process methodology that is re-hashed from the old, so they may try to sell to IT shops all over again. Companies are figuring out that there is no silver bullet, and that those that benefit the most from process methodologies, are the consultants trying to push them.

jkameleon
jkameleon

... unless you live in Bangalore or Kigali.

mikeb
mikeb

I work for a small engineering consulting company of about 40 employees. I am "the" IT guy. I am responsible for, network admin, desktop admin, hardware purchases, telephone system, security system, and head light bulb changer. I have an IT consultant that helps with the heavy stuff like server installs, router, and firewall issues and the times when you get a good ole WTF.

TheProfessorDan
TheProfessorDan

What this list doesn't address is that the economy today really lends well to your type because by neccesity, IT staffs are getting smaller and the average IT staffers needs to be able to do more.

jeremial-21966916363912016372987921703527
jeremial-21966916363912016372987921703527

I'm in the same boat. My title is Desktop Administrator, yet I package all of our applications for deployment, manage Altiris for those deployments, handle a number of functions for GP in A.D., am currently managing a desktop virtualization project for an enterprise of 2000 machines, and am being called on for more and more programming. Not sure where that lands me on the list, other than the overworked column.

roychild
roychild

Point 8 states "The major database vendors are Oracle, IBM, and Sybase." I think the author needs to do a little research. According to Gartner, Microsoft is #3. Sybase is #5.

don
don

What is a data architect?

maurice
maurice

What?s not hyped and oversold? Add cloud computing, virtualization, green IT, Web 2.0, etc. to that list. And it?s not just smarmy con$ultants but smarmy $ale$ people at companies just like the ones we?ve all worked for. It?s called capitalism, though I agree with you on putting the ?smarmy? out of business. I also agree that process-heavy methodologies can add more waste than value IF you?re a Kobe Bryant. But there?s not a coach in the league that would let Kobe play without learning his system?for the sake of the team. That said, Agile is the antithesis of process-heavy methodologies. And most Agilists in the trenches are pragmatists, not purists, more interested in whatever works. Whatever works is typically a hybrid of best practices from Agile, PMI, CMMI, Six Sigma, you name it. As for ?all the unmerciless number of ridiculous meetings,? the latest research suggests that, in the day of email and IM and virtual teams, we need more meetings, not less. I?ve been in software engineering and product development for 25 years. I?ve seen and done it all. I understand where you?re coming from. But the fact is, whether we like it or not, and the research is indisputable on this, processes such as Agile make teams (not necessarily individuals) more productive, not less.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

multi-skilled. I did that for nine years, you'll learn way moe and be far more valuble, than some 'expert' who can't do anything else.

iLLWizard
iLLWizard

Ha, Similar to me. I came here as a consultant to put in the in the entire infrastructure as it was a start up company. I just never left! ;) I have also been involved in plumbing in the dishwisher, attaching a water feed to the fridge. You name it, if it has a plug on it, its an IT issue!

tdtbilly
tdtbilly

I must be doing something wrong. I was a machinist by trade that, after being laid off, when back to school for Network Administration. I have struggled in the IT field for approx. 8 years. I have bounced through a couple IT positions in that time period, due to various employer changes. Currently, I again find myself on the unemployment line, which makes me contemplate if the IT field is a viable area to continue to pursue. I have found some occasional IT work in my area, but nothing permanent. My current situation when applying for positions either IT related or outside the field is, HR people seem to ALWAYS be looking for someone with more training / experience than I have, or if the position is non-IT, they will not hire me, thinking that if an IT position comes available, I will quit for it. Everyone's quick answer is probably; go get more experience and training. Great, how do I get more experience while unemployed? Training...can't afford that while unemployed and attempting to pay my bills and keep a roof over my head. Health insurance is not cheap either, nor is child support. I've also looked at the military, since there are position both in and outside through contractors, but, there again, I either don't have the experience / training or I am too old for the military. I've sent resumes to other areas in the country where I have relatives, figuring that I could stay with them for a while if something were available there, but have not have luck so far with that either. If anyone knows for something in central PA, please let me know. Other than that, I'm about ready to start a new career outside IT, as it has not been good to me so far.

iLLWizard
iLLWizard

I agree, you need a range of skills these days. There is two of us where I am, my role is IT Manager but I do anything from creating images\deploying them to purchase\configure\implement all our Cisco equipment. As well as the fun things that go with management ;)

Ed Woychowsky
Ed Woychowsky

Basically I take someone else's data and put it in our format. There's a lot of XSLT, C#, MapForce and Biztalk.

pickleman
pickleman

> What is a data architect? It's a self-glorified way of saying "programmer". You know...the same as when you hear "building maintenance engineer", which really means "janitor".

paulenet
paulenet

As soon as someone designs a process methodology, then puts a cute nametag on it, is exactly where the trouble begins, and that is the time to scrap it. With a nametag on it, IT teams that use such process methodologies tend to have a false sense of superiority, as if they are doing something new, cutting edge, and are somehow better than IT teams that are not using any of them. As the kool aid drinking begins, hubris ensues, and then they want to institutionalize the same process methodology to all other areas of an IT organization (similar to religion), or worse, try to carry over the same nonsense when they change jobs and work for a company that has not yet been tainted. Process methodologies are about 95% busy work douchery and 5% common sense... that is if the Agilists or Six Sigma blackbelts haven't had enough time yet to convert that last 5% useless waste as well. Those that are still around in IT a couple of years from now, will begin to look back at packaged process methodologies with embarrasing laughter.

maurice
maurice

The irony is that, as an Agilist, I agree with most of your responses here. The problem with Agile is that it is not prescriptive--good thing--so anything and everything can claim to be Agile--bad thing. But the whole point of Agile from the beginning has been whatever works, hence it's name. If anybody turns it into something more than that, then it's time to scrap it. Agile must be agile if anything, and that means nothing is sacred.

paulenet
paulenet

..and if you have either a discussion point that cannot be quickly be handled by other collaborative means, or simply haven't corralled the team together in a while and just need a full check in, then that is the typically the time to call a meeting. Otherwise, it is best to keep out of the faces of software engineers and system analysts faces so that they can do their work and get the job done.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

[i]As for ?all the unmerciless number of ridiculous meetings,? the latest research suggests that, in the day of email and IM and virtual teams, we need more meetings, not less.[/i] You need better meetings: better planned, better organized, and better moderated. Time for management to actually manage.

paulenet
paulenet

"That said, Agile is the antithesis of process-heavy methodologies. And most Agilists in the trenches are pragmatists, not purists, more interested in whatever works. Whatever works is typically a hybrid of best practices from Agile, PMI, CMMI, Six Sigma, you name it. As for ?all the unmerciless number of ridiculous meetings,? the latest research suggests that, in the day of email and IM and virtual teams, we need more meetings, not less. I?ve been in software engineering and product development for 25 years. I?ve seen and done it all. I understand where you?re coming from. But the fact is, whether we like it or not, and the research is indisputable on this, processes such as Agile make teams (not necessarily individuals) more productive, not less." I have been in IT for about the same number of years, but from my experience, I have to disagree with you, and I have worked in IT for companies that ranged in size anywhere from 60 employees to larger companies with over 40,000. These companies ranged from healthcare, celluar services, shrink-wrapped software, semiconductor, and insurance industries. Still, none of those factors really had any impact on my experience and view of process methodologies. As you suggest, the technologies you speak of have been talked about alot. However, the big difference between process methodologies (Agile, XP, Six Sigma, etc.) and technologies such as virtualization, Web 2.0,etc., is that virtualization and Web 2.0 have actually been proven over and over again to provide real, tangiable value through physical cost savings, repeating energy savings, and numerous operational efficiencies, even if they are implemented just half way decently. After several years experience in different organizations that used a variety of "sheeple"-attracting process methodologies, I am glad that I no longer work in an organization that subscribes or uses any of them. Many IT organizations need to get back to truly using their heads, and stop trying to make things far more complicated and time-consuming than is truly necessary. I have ruled out ever working with a company that uses any overbloated process methodologies. In fact, it is one of the first things I ask about in job interviews. If an organization believes in using a packaged process methodology, or some cobbled together version of it, I will continue the interview, but will politely turn down a potential job offer. I have had enough experience with and without process methodologies, and I have experience with enough of them to know that I never want to be involved with an organization that uses them again. I would rather have a root canal. "As for ?all the unmerciless number of ridiculous meetings,? the latest research suggests that, in the day of email and IM and virtual teams, we need more meetings, not less." That is pure nonsense. Research that makes such absurd claims are actually advertisements written by process methodology cheerleaders that are trying to push these process methodologies. Those that say they need more meetings, is simply because they are trying to evangelize the process methodologies for the pure sake of the process methodolgy, instead of the sake of IT projects and the company (which should be far more important than implementing a packaged process methodology). One of the fundamental purposes of collaborative tools such Sharepoint, Team Foundation Server, and yes, even basic email and IM tools, is to help MINIMIZE meetings, as many people recognize that meetings are a tremendous and re-occuring soft cost. Most organizations have regularly scheduled meetings, and for a regular scheduled period of time (typically 1 hour). Adhering to this mindless approach suggests that every week, you are going to have the same number of things to talk about, and that there are enough important things to talk about in a meeting that cannot be handled by other, more efficient means. Conversely, having a meeting only when there is enough topics to go over (and that need to be addressed in person), makes much more sense, and can save a lot of time and money. Throw in a process methodology like Agile, and then instead of having a team meeting once a week that might be useless, now you are having useless meetings every single day (read: silly "Stand ups"). When I am on two or more projects that are using a process methodology like Agile, then I am having even MORE meetings. Yes, you may have to have more meetings, but the premise is for the sake of the process methodology rather than what is best for the project and the company. If people have a heavy workload and are focused, the last thing they need is to be clobbered by numerous, relentlous meetings. If a project is going smooth, people are communicating well via tools such as email, IM, Sharepoint, Team Foundation Server, etc., then you STILL do not need to have so many arbitrary meetings as process methodologies evangelize. It needs to be pointed out that those that have enough hands on experience with such process methodologies and have truly moved beyond them, can quite clearly see what is going on in organizations that use them if they are perceptive enough. For example, after many years experience with Agile, about 95% of standup meetings I have been in were useless. Most people repeated what they said they were going to do the previous day, day before that, etc., which wastes everyone's time, or were stating things that either most people don't care about, or that simply make no difference to what others are working on. It didn't necessarily mean that people were not getting their work done. Instead, it is because they are working on a large chunk of work, and more pointedly, work that cannot be broken down from "story" mode to granular task level. Most IT projects simply do not reconcile well with a packaged process methodology. It is worse than a square peg and a round hole. One of the reasons is because fundamentals of these process methodologies came from manufacting industries, which is totally different from IT (unless you are talking purely about hardware). Many that get into using these process methodologies think they are new or cutting edge, when in fact they are simply re-hashed versions of methodologies developed and modified back in the 70's and 80's by companies like Motorolla and Honeywell. What is interesting is that when two people in a stand up meeting finally find a valuable discussion, it is usually a specific topic area that is only applicable to them. Ironically, while those two people are having a valuable discussion that is only applicable to them, everyone else on the team is standing around waiting for these two people to shut up. In such cases, one may interrupt the discussion and suggest that the two time-hogging collaborators take their discussion "offline". What just happened is that the moment these two people started having a valuable discussion, they were cut short by another teammate, PM, or manager. After the stand up is over, the two collaborators will have their own "meeting" to try and discuss the topic all over again. There is nothing efficient about this. Two professional and responsible engineers without using process methodolgies would have such a discussion on their own anyway. It doesn't need to be "forced" in a stand up meeting, nor is there any more valuable discussion requiring a stand up. It is like Keystone Cops standing in a huddle. You might as well add carnival music in the background. What Agile and "stand ups" actually do is to unnaturally force a discussion between people that should actually be happening on their own in a natural manner between two or more professionals. Stand ups, would only be useful for teammates that lack responsibility. In which case, process methodologies like Agile do not fix problems. Instead it only makes them worse, as well as more costly. It creates a lot of frustration on the part of the two collaborators, as well as those that were just trying to get through the stand up meeting so they could then get back to real work. If process methodologies were not bad enough, in many environments that use them, they also convert offices to short-walled cubes, or no cubes at all. One company I worked at had an entire area with several large teams, all working side by side in very tight, confined spaces, with what was equivalent to a bunch of park benches. I was very thankful I was not on any of those specific project teams. Nevertheless, I did work on teams that had short-walled cubes as an evangilized Agile practice, and it is an experience I will not repeat again. If meetings were not progress-killing enough, in such work environments you now have people practically sitting in arms reach. Some people just try to whisper, but that just makes the environment that much more awkward. Still, it means that others that go on with a conversation with someone else at full volume, it is very distracting and annoying. The misguided and carried away assertion with some of these process methodologies is that if you "tear down the walls", communication will improve. I find that ironic when solid walls providing noise reduction and increased privacy never has stopped me from going over to someone else's office to talk to them when I needed to, nor has solid walls or cubes ever prevented me from effectively communicating with my teammates via email, IM, web portal, etc. It doesn't end there. Also in Agile or XP-based stand up meetings, people talk about what they accomplished yesterday, and what they are going to tackle today. In many cases, it is completely unrealistic to do so and it adds little value, as in many projects, there are things that can change very quickly throughout the day, making your stand up in the morning null and void. A brief status report emailed out each week should be more than enough for most IT environments, along with a pending weekly team meeting when and where necessary. If people are not already tired enough from all the daily stand up meetings, then they definitely will not enjoy having Begin/End iteration meetings or mid-iteration meetings. This is where people get to talk about their "stories" and what percentage complete they are, as well as drilling down into how many hours they have spent on each individual task, then comparing it to estimates. This is where analysis paralysis begins, and people get to talk about the same stuff they have been talking about all week, mostly repeating the exact same information that everyone is already was aware. Also, who cares if a story "fails" or some tasks within it do not get completed, let alone the reason why the story failed? Such brow-beating discussions are fruitless. The real question is whether or not shifting priorities were addressed properly and that work is getting done in a successful and efficient manner. Over time, most organizations begin to back away from daily stand up meetings, then eventually iteration meetings, or will redifine and iteration period to be much longer (so they don't have to have so many meetings). I have witnessed firsthand how IT teams will finally then begin to move away from such overzealous and lengthy meetings, and then even away from some of the Agile or XP-based tracking tools! Why? It isn't because they are lazy. It is because they realize that they are not getting as much value out of the process methodologies and some of the methodology-based tools, let alone a bunch of dazzling report data or charts that are not ultimately useful. They begin to realize that they can have more cost-effective project success, as well as increased efficiencies by having meetings only when they are necessary, and by using any number of collaboration tools that are already avaiable for communication, and by preserving as much time as possible for doing real, tangiable work. People that have not fully graduated into a post-process methodology environment will naturally tend to believe that they stay very busy. Also, because of an aggressive or heavy workload, they will also believe that such process methodologies are helping. Yes, they have increased workload, but the increase workload is not by real, actual work. Instead it is coming from useless "busy work" and fluff which the process methodologies promote. Therefore, packaged process methodologies like Agile, XP, Six Sigma, etc. actually do the opposite of what most people think they they are doing. Tried and true technologies such as email, IM, and Web 2.0-based features in tools like Sharepoint and Team Foundation Server can actually dramatically reduce the number of required meetings, and it can help keep people on track. No need to hound anyone (and repeatedly interrupting their work) to ask them if they are done with a task. Simply update status in a web-based project portal, and call it a day. The PM or other teammates can simply check the status on that specific task for themselves without calling a meeting or having a ridiculous stand up. Or, if they are in a hurry, and / or are held up by someone else and their task, then they can request an automatic email notification through a subscription the minute that the other person is done. Again, no need for a meeting or stand up, and certainly no need for some fancy, overzealous process methodology. "And most Agilists in the trenches are pragmatists, not purists, more interested in whatever works. Whatever works is typically a hybrid of best practices from Agile, PMI, CMMI, Six Sigma, you name it." I partially agree with you on this, but under a premise that actually begins to expose packaged process methodologies for what they are: When people begin modifying or hybridizing the packaged process methodology, then they are no longer using the process methodology correctly. The "whatever works" you speak of is mostly common sense. Ironically, as the "whatever works" continually gets refined and becomes more effective and efficient, the further away from process methodologies an organization moves. When Agilists and followers of other process methodologies finally get their heads wrapped around what is actually going on in the work environment when these process methodologies are applied and continually evovled, they will then realize as others have, that process methodologies are a bit of common sense that is then smothered with over-complicated fluff, over-thought nonsense, waste, and cost. Moreover, they will realize that process methodologies are totally unecessary, avoidable, and that they can find much better success and efficiency without them. There are numerous IT professionals that are coming to some of the same realizations I have regarding process methdologies, and there are sites reflecting some of the similar realizations. Here are a few of them: http://thegreatthree.blogspot.com/2009/03/why-agile-sucks-my-take-on-agile.html http://foohack.com/2007/11/agile-scrum-sucks-but-so-do-the-alternatives/ http://www.techdarkside.com/process-or-methodology http://beust.com/weblog2/archives/000392.html http://www.julianbrowne.com/article/viewer/methodologies-suck

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Like you meant real agile, not pretend. You know the MoSCoW plan that is all Ms. The scrum that includes everything and will be done in three months no matter what, because the gannt chart we did at teh start says so... I daresay that's where our colleague is coming from. The entire point of agile is you adapt your plan to current circumstances, internediate deliverables and your eventual goal. If that isn't happening, it isn;t agile. More meetings, or better ones?

JCitizen
JCitizen

On almost every job I quit, the boss nearly cried, and they ended up hiring two people of which neither really new what they were doing. In one factory I left, my replacement ended up causing the company 1.2 million dollars in damage. I bet they thought I snuck in and purposely jury-rigged the place. But I was no where near. The head of maintenance knew they just didn't do their job.

TheProfessorDan
TheProfessorDan

I also live in the Central PA area, closer to York than you do and to be honest, I commute over 100 miles round trip down close to BWI because I was blessed enough to find a good job with a good salary. Have you contacted Teksystems in Harrisburg? I have done some work for them. I suggest you just try different technical recruiters like KForce, JFC and Teksystems.

JCitizen
JCitizen

I was a CNC tech on robotics and electronics maintenance and repair, and ended up a machinist. I used to take care of the networking before this move too. Then I lost my health and quit. Go figure! :( I like using my brain better, but I didn't mind being a CNC machinist. I hear the economy nuked the factory, and they make wind turbine generators there now!

Ed Woychowsky
Ed Woychowsky

It looks better on ye olde resume than programmer. :D It's like the question; "What's the difference between VB. Net and C#?" Answer, about $20,000.