Talent Development Centre

Category Archives: Job Market Trends

Hiring trends and in-demand skills in regional job markets across Canada. Posts are written by recruitment industry experts with the insight to job opportunities.

The Popularity and Salaries of Programming, Scripting and Markup Languages According to the Stack Overflow 2020 Developer Survey

Every year, Stack Overflow surveys tens of thousands of developers from around the world to get a feel on trends in the industry, including popular technologies, salaries and employment, as well as to learn more about developers’ intentions and behaviours. The 2020 Results were released recently and one could spend hours exploring the various numbers and statistics they report.

One topic that tends to be of high interest for our readers is trends about the hottest programming, scripting and markup languages, and Stack Overflow has no shortage of data there. So, here’s a summary of what we found most interesting in terms of language.

The Most Popular Languages Among Professional Developers

Stack Overflow surveyed those who both develop as a hobby and professionally, and these numbers were provided as a total, as well as just for professionals. Among professional developers’ responses, there was no surprise that JavaScript remains at the top of the list, followed by HTML/CSS, SQL, Python and Java.  Stack Overflow also noted “moderate gains for TypeScript, edging out C in terms of popularity. Additionally, Ruby, once in the top 10 of this list as recently as 2017, has declined.”

Most Popular Programming Languages
Stack Overflow 2020 Developer Survey: Most Popular Programming Languages

Most Loved, Dreaded and Wanted Languages

Another common section in the annual Stack Overflow survey is where they go beyond the most used languages and understand what developers actually enjoy working with. Stack Overflow defines a “Loved” language as one that developers are currently using and express interest in continuing to use. Dreaded languages are the opposite — developers are using it but did not express interest in continuing to use it. And, wanted languages are those developers are not using, but would like to.

A few interesting observations Stack Overflow makes are that Rust continues to be the most loved and it also jumped up in the list of most wanted languages. More notably, TypeScript surpassed Python this year, taking the #2 spot in the Most Loved list, and Go jumped five spots on that list compared to last year.

Most Loved, Dreaded and Wanted Languages
Stack Overflow 2020 Developer Survey: Most Loved, Dreaded and Wanted Languages

The Programming, Scripting and Markup Languages with the Highest Salaries

The charts below show global salary averages of respondents who use each language, as well as the average salaries in the United States. Globally, Perl tops the list, which Stack Overflow points out may be related to the fact it’s also one of the most dreaded languages, and employers need to compensate for that. It’s interesting to note that salaries in the United States are significantly higher than global averages — the top language in the United States (Scala) brings in a salary almost double that of the top language globally.

Salaries Based on Language Used
Stack Overflow 2020 Developer Survey: Global salary averages of respondents who use each language

Web Developers: Here’s Your Up-to-Date Roadmap for 2020

The LearnCode.academy YouTube channel has over 600k followers and is known for their free web development tutorials, website design tutorials and more. They also manage a Web Development Roadmap that covers everything you need to learn in the profession, from the most beginner skills through more advanced development techniques.

In this video, they walk through the web development roadmap for 2020, covering topics including basic frontend (1:06), recommended deployment platforms (3:50), advanced frontend (7:27), backend (18:40) and DevOps (25:27). For all of the details, make a coffee and hit play on the video. It’s a little more than half an hour, but could be well worth your time. Or, skip the explanation and browse the complete Web Development Roadmap here.

Regional Job Market Update for Edmonton, Alberta (February 2020)

Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Regional Vice President at Eagle

City of EdmontonLast time I wrote an update on the Edmonton job market, things were admittedly a bit stagnant and the Alberta economy continued to limp along. Activity in the IT sector, however, was still robust as organizations continued to push through large projects aimed at digitizing and automating their work environments. The public sector, a major contributor to the Edmonton economy, was still a large part of the IT contracting market and it felt like Edmonton, as it is inclined to do, would ride out the storm. How things have changed. Edmonton ended 2019 with the highest jobless rate in the country at 8%, almost 2 full points up from the previous December. Interestingly, Edmonton and Calgary basically swapped places with our neighbors to the south finishing the year with an unemployment rate of 7%. Other underlying numbers demonstrate the challenges the city is now facing:

  • GDP growth is at its lowest since 2015 (.5%);
  • Full time jobs have been declining, many of those positions formally in the public sector as the newly elected provincial government slashes spending as per the October budget; and,
  • If you are a young person aged 15-24, your options for employment have slipped drastically, with unemployment for that demographic at around 17% according to Stats Canada.

How does all this affect you if you are an Information Technology professional. The most obvious hit is the belt tightening going on in most government sectors. At Eagle, we’ve already witnessed the early termination of projects and the scaling back of major initiatives. And that has affected employees and contractors alike. The provincial government has also eliminated several tax incentives directly targeted at attracting technology firms in BC and other jurisdictions to relocate to Alberta. While hard to directly quantify what this means in terms of jobs and lost opportunity, it’s just one more blow to the tech sector.

What is also becoming evident is that the competition for contracts and jobs is heating up. You are not only competing with a greater number of candidates, but you can likely expect rates to become more competitive in the short term as individuals sharpen their pencil to better their chances of winning.

So, what can you do if you find yourself without a contract and panic starting to set in? First, stop panicking… there are options.

If you have saved funds for just such a purpose, how about taking that certification, course or program to skill up and make yourself as marketable as you possibly can. It can be hard to find the time, especially as a contractor, to keep up with your training, now might be a good time to do so.

Or, you might want to consider moving to a market that currently has demand for IT professionals. I’ve written before about moving to Winnipeg to take on contract work there. The reasons are simple. Lots of opportunity, less competition and a cost of living that makes it easier to relocate vs other urban centers such as Toronto or Vancouver. Remember, it doesn’t have to be forever, just enough time to weather the storm.

Hopefully, the storm won’t last and there might even be some good news. Edmonton gained 3100 positions in December and unemployment is expected to level off and perhaps move from its current position to the 7 – 7.5% range, according to City economists. In the meantime, stay close to your favorite recruiters and seek advice from them about how to make yourself as competitive and attractive a candidate as possible.

The New (and, likely, persistent) “Normal” — Constrained Labour Supply — Opens New Opportunities for Canadian IT Contractors

The New (and, likely, persistent) "Normal" -- Constrained Labour Supply -- Opens New Opportunities for Canadian IT Contractors

Morley Surcon By Morley Surcon,
Vice-President Strategic Accounts & Client Solutions, Western Canada at Eagle

I’m just going to come out and say it… Unless there is a global economic melt-down, tight labour supply is here and it’s here to stay. If you already believe this to be so, stop reading and spend your valuable time on another blog post as I’m just going to re-affirm your convictions. If you aren’t sure about this (or are one of those people who really enjoy having their convictions re-affirmed), then by all means… read on!

With respect to the “baby-boomer-retirement-leaving-a-shortage-of-workers” scenario, this has been predicted for decades, and the United States appears to have hit their tipping point this past year. Yes, their economy is strong but it is more than that; they are at 50-year lows in unemployment rate (another ½ point lower and they’ll be at 70-year lows). This is a measure of broad-based employment – not just technical (or even professional) roles, its pretty much across the board. However, in tech, it is even worse. There are more job openings than there are people in the space needed to fill them. In my last blog post for Eagle’s Talent Development Centre, I discussed the growing “skills gap” but this isn’t what I’m referring to here (although the skills gap is part of it). There are more open roles in IT in the USA than there are IT people looking for work, regardless of the skills gap (the fact that the skills gap exists just makes the issue a whole lot more impactful). Industry followers have predicted that fully 1/3 of the US’ open IT positions may go unfilled. Because of this, the US is exporting their shortages to the rest of the world by either opening new offices in other countries, having foreign workers move to the US to work or, more often, hiring remote workers who can complete their jobs in their current country of residence.

In an article posted by CIO Dive, they discuss the severe shortages for Cloud experts. They suggest that Cloud specialists aren’t even answering their phones anymore as they are getting 20+ calls every week about new opportunities. The solution for filling these roles, the article suggests, is to hire based on attitude and aptitude and train what is needed. Interestingly, this article could have just as easily been written about some other IT technology and still remained valid — replace Cloud with AI, Blockchain, CyberSecurity, Data Science, Big Data Analytics or any number of other “hot technologies” and the message would still hold true. A shortage in labour is the new normal.

What are IT consultants, employees and contractors to do with this information? Well, it certainly will put more power in your hands to choose the roles, projects and companies that you want to work at. And you may find yourself and your staffing company partner in a better position to negotiate rates on your behalf. But as I wrote in my previous blog, other aspects of the opportunity are sure to become more important in your decision making. The following attributes may hold greater weight when applicants make their own, personal decisions as to what constitutes “premiere assignments”:

  • Strong corporate mandate/message/culture… matching your own morals and philosophies
  • Flexibility… work/life balanced offered and/or having the ability to complete remote work
  • Team Dynamics… fitting in with the existing team, their approach and practices
  • Is the project set up for success?
  • Leading edge technology or approaches leveraged by the company… learning something new and keeping your resume current
  • In the same vein as the point above, are training and/or certifications offered by the company that is doing the hiring?
  • Work environment perks… free snacks, catered lunches, bring pet to work, etc.
  • Will the project allow you to “make a difference”? Is your work truly impactful?
  • Tuition reimbursement… typically a perk offered to permanent hires at some companies, but as supply tightens, this may become more common!

Some of these attributes or “perks” are mostly seen in the permanent hiring of employees; however, as supply becomes even more constrained and companies look to increase their competitiveness for resources, it is likely that some of these (or perks similar to them) will make their way into the “offer-package” for gig jobs as well.

This all sounds pretty good, but if you are on the wrong end of the skills gap, this blog post may ring hollow. It is a difficult position to be in when you no longer have what companies are asking for… but people who choose to make their career in the tech-industry understand that life-long learning and re-training is a necessary part of keeping relevant. And, as mentioned above, companies will begin to hire people based on their aptitude and core-skills and train the rest. Keeping up with your networking, building relationships with multiple recruiters, and staying “in the loop” will also be critical to maximizing your exposure to new opportunities.

By embracing change and closely following the latest tech-trends, a career in technology will be rewarding and, with long-term labour supply constraints, you may find more opportunities for meaningful work and an environment that really fits your personal and professional needs. The future is bright — there may never have been a better time to be a contactor!

Regional Job Market Update for Calgary, Alberta (January 2020)

Kelly Benson By Kelly Benson,
Branch Manager at Eagle

Regional Job Market Update for Calgary, Alberta

While the employment numbers were relatively strong across the country in 2019, Calgary’s recovery remains frustratingly slow.  Our city still faces many of the same challenges with low oil prices, limited markets for our resources, low consumer spending and too high unemployment rates.  The good news in all of this is that many of our clients are now focused on looking forward with an optimistic belief that the biggest challenges are now behind us.

We are so used to hearing about all the things that are not going well, that it often puts a damper on the things that are going well.  When we look for positive narrative, we see a lot of great things happening in our city and much of the positive news is in the IT and Tech space:

Tech job activity has been steadily increasing over the past few years and a lot of that is being driven by a shift to digital.  With digital transformation, the definition of a career in IT is also shifting.  The result is that tech jobs are on the rise and we continue to see demand increasing for tech roles in non-tech companies.  Afterall, the banks no longer employ primarily bankers and energy companies employ far more than just geoscientists.

No longer do we only think of the big tech companies when we think of Data Engineers and Software Developers. More and more of our big corporate clients are developing their own internal Innovation Labs where they are experimenting with leading-edge technology including Advanced Analytics, Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain.

The biggest challenge for business in Calgary is that the demand for good tech talent is high.  Many of our largest clients are embarking on similar journeys at the same time, which is creating temporary skills shortages.  Because Calgary lagged other markets in new technology adoption, the availability of talent experienced in the newer technology is lagging and we are being forced to look for talent outside the city to get access to certain expertise more often than we would like.

At Eagle, we have seen demand for IT talent steadily increasing over the past year that is combined with a steady decrease in the number of active job seekers applying for roles.  More work available.  Less people to do that work.  Doesn’t that sound like a good problem to have?  It depends who you ask!  The talent supply and demand gap is getting wider and is a top concern for executives.

Where is the current demand in Calgary?

  • SAP S/4HANA
  • Data Analytics/Data Engineering
  • Data Science
  • Development – Java (React/Angular/Node)
  • ServiceNow
  • Cloud expertise–AWS, Azure

The Growing Skills Gap, The Pace of Change… and the Critical Importance of Chosen Assignments

Morley Surcon By Morley Surcon,
Vice-President Strategic Accounts & Client Solutions, Western Canada at Eagle

The Growing Skills Gap, The Pace of Change… and the Critical Importance of Chosen Assignments

There are several factors that work together to create a “skills gap” within the labour market in Canada (and worldwide for that matter). Local gaps can occur in any market based on competing projects using similar technology that eat up available resources; or, perhaps, a company wants to try something new-to-the-region and existing tech-professionals just don’t exist in that location. These gaps happen all the time and are, typically, short-lived as labour is quite mobile. However, our industry is noting a growing technological skills gap in general. This is across multiple regions and, in fact, around the globe. The aging workforce (baby boomers retiring or about to retire) – coupled with – too few young people to replace them – coupled with – not enough students taking the STEM education needed to fill new roles -coupled with – an explosion in tech-related jobs… all work together as a “perfect storm” to create a growing and pervasive technology skills gap.

But there is still another reason, one that I wish to highlight, and it is one that effects many contractors and consultants: The pace of change in technology. Technological change has never been faster. There are a multitude of new technologies that didn’t exist even a few years ago. And there are more areas of specialization/differentiation within the tech industry than ever before as both the breadth and the complexity of technology increases. It has gotten to the point that people either can’t keep up or don’t wish to keep up anymore. After all, there is just so much change that people are willing to tolerate. And when someone learns and masters a new skill, they want to reap the return on their investment of time and money vs. immediately throwing more time and money into learning something else. Most people who choose to make technology the foundation for their profession understand that life-long learning is a must. But as mentioned above there is always a limit… whether it be physical, mental or financial, exhaustion will always catch up.

For the consulting industry, this is both a blessing and a curse. “Where there is confusion there is profit… for the wise [person]”… new and unfamiliar tech keeps both demand and rates high. But it is also very easy to become out-of-touch or even obsolete. In Calgary, when the O&G industry turned around a few years back, many IT contractors found themselves out of work or they took lesser level roles to keep working through the economic downturn. When the market began to come back a year-and-a-half to two-years later, there was a surprise that we did not expect. While many people’s professional development went on hold for this time, technological advancement didn’t wane. We discovered that a skills gap had developed… and the skills/experience that employers were wanting, few local people had. It was a scramble for the local market to re-tool, re-educate and come up to speed on these newer technologies.

The lesson (or one of the lessons) in all this, for IT consultants/contractors, is in understanding the importance of the work that you choose. By carefully choosing your next project, one that leverages leading edge application of technology – in an area where you wish to grow and develop – you are able to keep your skills current. Through great projects, you continue to build your resume remaining relevant and highly employable. Given the reality of a growing global skills gap, contractor rates will be strong… as such, I believe that the kind of project, the nature of the work and the technology stack to be leveraged will become even more strategically important to contactors when evaluating and choosing new assignments.

Regional Job Market Update for Montréal, Québec

David O'Brien By David O’Brien,
Senior Vice President, Business Development at Eagle

Panoramic Photo Montreal city fron Mount RoyalThe Montreal IT job market continues to be one of robust demand anchored by some foundational, more traditional industries that are focused on software development, such as Banking, Telco, Aerospace and Transportation. This is augmented now by “sexy ” new technologies and industries in electronic gaming, digital media and a thriving AI hub. In fact, since 2018, Montreal has experienced the largest economic growth in all of Canada with a nearly 6% increase in job creation between 2016 and 2018, and high tech jobs are leading the way. Montreal is now firmly a top 5 spot for tech employment in Canada and the Conference Board of Canada predicts Montreal’s economic growth of 3% will lead major metropolitan cities in Canada this year. With a lower cost of living than both Toronto and Vancouver, the two biggest tech centres in Canada, Montreal looks to be poised to continue its growth.

A recent highlight in the Montreal job market is that Amazon Canada just opened its first Quebec-based distribution warehouse in Lachine, after the city failed to win the corporate pitch contest for Amazon’s second HQ.

As always, with the good come the unknown and success of the recent past will undoubtedly face headwinds both economically and politically. CN Rail, itself, with labour issues, has drastically reduced the number of IT contractors it uses in Montreal, long a top draw for IT contractors. Furthermore, with a new provincial government settling in, the CAQ has changed a number of immigration policies, especially for students, which was and is often a fast track avenue to bring much needed skills in to the labour market. With fears of recession in the overall Canadian economy as growth slows, certainly many of Montreal national employers will start to feel the pinch and that will no doubt affect those represented in Montreal. The question will become how clients respond. Typically, less than positive economic factors manifest detrimentally in permanent hire while they can be a positive for contract hiring.

In demand roles and technologies for Montreal include developers, both back-end and front-end, and particularly mobile developers with Android/Kotlin experience. .Net developers, as well as Security Analysts, BI Business Analysts and Big Data resources with Hadoop skills are all also expected to have high-demand in the coming months.

Regional Job Market Update for British Columbia (November 2019)

Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Regional Vice President at Eagle
Downtown Vancouver Sunset
Downtown Vancouver Sunset” by Magnus Larsson is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

According to Central1, the BC economy continues to be one of the strongest in Canada and a couple of key indicators were quite positive in October. Employment numbers were up 0.6% which represents 15,300 persons or nearly 2.57 million persons seasonally adjusted. Most of this uptick came from the Vancouver Metropolitan Area (28,000 persons) and the news wasn’t so positive in other parts of the province where the natural resources, goods producing and manufacturing sectors all showed weakness. Interestingly, real estate sales in the lower mainland which had showed signs of weakening after government-introduced impediments is showing signs of a rebound, and MLS sales climbed for the 7th time in the past 8th months. BC’s unemployment rate at 4.7% remains the country’s lowest followed by Quebec at 5%. Low unemployment rates suggests a tight labor market and here at Eagle, the challenge to meet our clients’ demands means we need to use all tools at our disposal to reach an often “passive” candidate pool who in turn, have the luxury of picking and choosing which opportunities to pursue.

With all this in mind, BC continues to be an exceptional place to be if you are working in the IT/IM sector. Jobs remain plentiful in the public and private sectors as organizations pursue their own brand of digital transformation in an effort to better deliver value to their customers. This might be focused internally on projects that help an enterprise better manage their data (Business Intelligence) or in how a firm manages their IS, as either on premise, cloud or a hybrid solution. And because this technology impacts so many organizational domains, it in turn fuels other initiatives needed to support the transformation and this seeds other projects.

What makes these projects so exciting is that the technologies being employed are somewhat newer and experience — or even better, expertise — with that tool immediately puts you in demand. This might involve technologies associated with the Microsoft stack and Azure and feature products like SSIS, SSRS and Power BI. Or, if the project is using open-source utilities, you might be noticing expertise is required with Hadoop, Spark, Scala, Kafka or Hortonworks.

Speaking of software companies and products, BC continues to be a hotbed of established and younger IT product and services companies, perfect for the new grad or experienced Software Engineer. In fact, in a list published November 8th, Deloitte announced the 2019 winners of its Technology Fast 50, Companies-to-Watch and Enterprise Fast 15 Programs and 10 of the top 50 were BC Tech companies (2nd only to Ontario).

BC remains a strong market for IT professionals and the myriad selection of projects that require top resources does not seem to be abating, especially in the lower mainland. The extra work for IT professionals is the never-ending onus to upgrade and keep your skills and experience relevant and that can be a challenge.

Job Market Update Across Canada for October 2019

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee, Co-Founder at Eagle

Here at Eagle we provide job market information on a regular basis, sometimes at a high level across the country and other times looking in more depth at specific markets. This update is a high-level look at the Canadian job market, and the factors influencing it. In previous months we have provided market updates, specific to different markets, which you can find through the links here:

There are a number of indicators that I have used over the years to give an idea of how things are going, one such indicator is the markets. For this purpose, I have focused on the TSX. When I wrote this update in March of this year the TSX was at its low of 16,000 points, and it has been as high as almost 16,900, but as I write this sits at 16,400. This is probably a decent indicator of Canada’s economy… meh! Not booming, not in the doldrums but not setting the world on fire either.

The unemployment rate is an obvious indicator for the job market and the September numbers were quite positive, adding 54,000 jobs with 41,000 of them in Ontario. This saw the unemployment rate drop to 5.5%, which is pretty close to the year’s best rate which was 5.4%.

In the new world of work, one of the factors that will favor the job seeker is a willingness to go where the jobs are. In Canada, the four largest provinces represent close to 90% of the jobs, with Ontario the largest (close to 40%); Quebec (approx. 23%); BC (13.5%) and Alberta (12.5%). BC and Quebec have the lowest unemployment rate in Canada (4.8%), with Newfoundland & Labrador the highest (11.5%); Manitoba (5%); Ontario and Saskatchewan (5.3%). So, when considering where to look for jobs, a province that employs a lot of people and has a relatively low unemployment rate is a good place to look. BC, Quebec and Ontario all fit that bill. Alberta is still struggling because of the hit on the oil and gas sector so their unemployment rate is 6.6%.

One of the big factors affecting the Alberta market is the price of oil. The price of a barrel in Canada is more than $10 a barrel less than on the WTI price (and more than $15 less than Brent). This is due to a number of factors, including that fact that Canada’s only client is the United States. Until there is a clear change that will likely remain a factor in Alberta’s economy. Having said that, there are still opportunities in Alberta, just not the booming demand we saw in the past.

The hot US market has created significant skills shortages and cost increases for companies with large workforces. This has created an opportunity in Canada, where large US companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google etc. are adding to their Canadian presence to tap into the talent up here. We have seen big announcements in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto in recent months and I expect this trend to continue. There has been particular interest in the skilled technology talent here in Canada. Canada is also able to attract skilled immigrant talent easier than the US, whose immigration laws are more prohibitive.

Tech job activity is relatively strong in most markets across Canada, even Calgary, which has not returned to pre-oil crisis levels of activity but is still seeing some demand. This makes sense if you recognize that even at a 6.6% unemployment rate, that probably represents an unemployment rate among professionals and in-demand skills of more like 3.5%.

For a more detailed look at the specific markets across Canada, I suggest you read the linked writeups from Eagle’s Executive team across the country, referenced earlier.

Eagle’s focus is technology professionals and the most in demand areas/skills recently have included: Cloud, Healthcare, Government, Telecom, Banking, CRM, BI and AI; Project Managers, Business Analysts, Change Management, Quality Assurance, Architects, Sys Admins, Full Stack developers, Database Admins and Dev Ops engineers.

In summary, people with tech skills and experience should have little difficulty in finding employment, either contract or perm, for the foreseeable future. A willingness to relocate to the bigger centers will only increase their marketability.

The big unknown in the world today is whether there will be a recession, and if so, how deep will it hit. The trading tensions and regional politics around the world are not helping, but generally I am seeing many indicators that 2020 will be a slower year than 2019. A recession is not in the forecast but forecasters have been wrong before! I don’t believe the election will have a negative impact on jobs, whichever party gets in.

For employers, our advice has not changed, it is a “job seekers market” so it is important to hire quickly! Establish clean hiring practices that move candidates quickly through the hiring process. We are seeing more and more multiple job offers and clients losing talent because they are too slow to make a decision.

The Digital Workplace – How It’s Changing the IT Job Market

Guest Post by Gil Artmoore

The Digital Workplace - How It's Changing the IT Job Market

It’s no secret to anyone who has lived through the last several decades that technology has radically changed just about every aspect of our lives.   Try to imagine living without smartphones, Facebook, and Google in today’s world. It’s revolutionized our professional lives as well.

Digitization has also had a significant effect on the IT (Information Technology) job market. IT workers have had to continually adjust to an ever-shifting set of demands that also offer tremendous new opportunities to those who want them.  Far from the classic figure of the coal miner put on the street when the world evolved past a need for their services, IT is an industry that almost always replaces older functions with opportunities for growth.

Let’s look at some of the ways the digitization of the workplace has changed the way we work, how it has affected the job market for IT professionals, and what kinds of opportunities it will bring to IT professionals in the future.

How Automation Changed The IT Job Market

The early part of this century saw a dramatic shift from jobs that required no expertise with digital systems to ones where people couldn’t get by without those skills.  Everything moved toward jobs that require knowledge with digital systems, and as you might expect, this became a huge boon for IT professionals who manage the systems everyone needed to start using.

The next revolution came years later, when a drive for increased efficiency demanded systems that required less manual touchpoints.  This wasn’t always an easy transition for IT professionals, and while it did create a skills gap for some years, the workforce has largely adapted and is ready to move with the digital workplace into the 21st century.

The New Opportunities Automation Has Created

Automation and the digital workplace have had a substantial effect on the IT job market, and while that initially looked like a net negative that would eliminate jobs, it instead transformed and relocated them.  One of the most visible ways this manifested itself was in the rise of cloud computing.

Cloud computing is an arrangement where, instead of owning, operating, and maintaining servers and other infrastructure equipment internally, companies now have the ability to pay outside vendors like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure to host those services on their servers.

This did initially lead to the elimination of many IT jobs for system administrators who were there to maintain and administer in-house servers and network equipment, but the flip side is that the cloud vendors needed to hire people to maintain those systems once they were in charge of them.   Literally their entire business revolved around running servers for their customers, and they needed someone to manage the physical hardware.  As a result, system administrators went from being support staff at law firms, financial services companies, or wherever they worked, to driving revenue at a company whose entire business was being one big IT department.

Another major net positive the change in the IT job market brought to IT professionals was that remote work became not only feasible, but commonplace.  Given that cloud computing commonly operates on distributed systems (meaning the same data and functions are duplicated across and run from systems often separated by hundreds or thousands of miles), there’s no single data center to manage like most companies had in years gone by.  Without needing to be physically present to manage the systems, many administrators have gotten a greater work/life balance in this new arrangement.

Finally, IT work has become more collaborative and made employees who may not be in close proximity to each other a lot more equal than they used to be.  Many companies have traditionally had IT employees at corporate HQ, and local IT teams at other offices who often felt like they were on the outside looking in when it came to having their voices heard or being considered for opportunities.  The nature of cloud computing mitigates that dynamic to a great degree, and provides a more level playing field for IT staff no matter where they’re located.

Conclusion

The advent of the digital workplace has not only not led to the prosperity of the IT labor force, but has even eliminated many of the difficulties and frustrations associated with IT work in years gone by.  Many companies have begun enjoying the benefits of using modern technology to build internal structure, and IT professionals will continue to enjoy the benefits of a more focused IT career for many years to come.

About the Author

Gil Artmoore has spent the past decade working in various roles in IT departments for many businesses both small and large. Recently, Gil started writing out the things he has learned, experienced, and witnessed in the small business and tech world during his career. He is eager to share his insights with the rest of the world.