CIOs across the United States have declared their need for networking professionals. In RHI Consulting’s semiannual “Hot Jobs Report,” 24 percent of CIOs rated networking as the hottest IT specialty in their corporate IT departments (see Figure A). Internet/intranet development, which had overtaken networking in the last study, fell back to second place with an 18 percent vote, and Help desk/end user support came in third with a 15 percent vote.

These numbers certainly reflect the shifting priorities during this consolidation period in the high-tech industry as well as the waning interest in dot-com initiatives. As we’ll see, RHI Consulting has offered some further insights into the meaning of these numbers.

Figure A

A closer look at the data
“Factors fueling demand for those skilled in designing and managing internal and external networks include an increasingly mobile workforce and an emphasis on safeguarding corporate systems,” said Katherine Spencer Lee, RHI Consulting’s executive director.

In other words, because network administrators are typically responsible for the infrastructure supporting hot technologies such as WANs, distributed computing, and network security, the current emphasis on these technologies is helping to drive the demand for network professionals. The networking positions cited as areas of greatest need by CIOs were network administrators, network architects, and network analysts.

A specialty sometimes related to networking, database management, also saw a healthy rise in demand from 9 percent in the last survey (the first one in which the DBM category was included) to 12 percent in the current survey. “There is growing demand for individuals accomplished in Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server administration to translate the massive amounts of data collected by today’s e-commerce applications into business intelligence that will aid decision-makers throughout the company,” Lee said.

Overall, the results of the survey, conducted in the second quarter of 2000, definitely show some fluctuations since the last survey taken six months ago and earlier studies. Figure B compares the results of the last four RHI surveys.

Figure B

The study also took into account differences among the various regions of the United States and among different industries (see Figure C). The West South Central (31 percent) and Mid-Atlantic (29 percent) regions showed the strongest demand for network professionals. In eight of the nine regions, networking was the outright leader in demand among all IT specialties. In the West North Central region, networking was tied with both Internet/intranet development and help desk/end user support at 19 percent of the votes. Among the industries, Transportation (29 percent) and professional services (27 percent) exhibited the greatest need for networkers.

Figure C

Logistics of the study
RHI Consulting, a services firm for placing IT professionals, created the methodology for this scientific survey and commissioned an independent research firm to carry it out. The survey polled a random sample of CIOs from U.S. companies with at least 100 employees.

What do you think about these numbers?

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