The 5 most in demand skill sets in the Canberra tech market…

Along with the rest of the world the Canberra technology market has been injected with a new sense of enthusiasm of late. It feels that after a number of boring years playing around with the same old kit we’re now exploring new waters as a range of game changing technologies are providing the industry with a new face. Although I’m kind of sick of hearing the word ‘digital’ I’m happy that its mere perception is driving a period of modernisation and progressive thinking through the CIO community.

Government has historically been more conservative in its adoption and application of new technology trends, often airing on the side of caution due to security concerns. This does seem to be changing slightly, particularly under Team Turnbull, with the establishment of the Digital Transformation Office (DTO) (there’s that Digital word again!) and the big drive towards cloud services. I doubt we’ll ever see the old OS/390 mainframes become completely obsolete in town as the justification argument for turning off the big beasts is surprisingly still hard to make, but everything that sits on top of them will get a face lift.

Having only recently returned to the ACT market place I’m learning every day about what’s been happening in my absence and what the future plans are, but in my opinion the top 5 most in demand and important skill sets that will play a huge role in shaping the future of technology in Government are as follows (in no particular order):

Enterprise Architecture (EA) – As organisations strive to plan and strategise into the ‘new world’ it is important that they get this part right. There’s a lot of ‘fluffy’ architects out there that seem a little too concerned about fitting in with TOGAF or some type of framework, producing page after page of recommendations that often end up on the top shelf. The real need is for outcome based EA’s that can produce clear and concise AS IS and TO BE analysis incorporating best available technologies and using engineering principles to ensure their road maps can actually be implemented. Often an EA can be used as a bit of a servant to the CIO and be told “go and come up with my IT strategy and road map” so this is a very important role. With the right executive sponsorship the EA’s are the ones that can make or break the technical direction of an organisation.

Cloud and Virtualisation – the infrastructure market is perhaps where we will see the most change in coming years. The traditional server, desktop and network engineer roles are slowly being gobbled up into cloud services. I would expect somewhere around 60 – 70% of government file and print servers are now sitting somewhere on a virtualised or hybrid cloud platform. The next wave of infrastructure talent will be those with strong scripting and ‘infrastructure coding’ skills that can develop automation, monitoring and orchestration tools. As government moves to more of an Agile environment you will see increased demand for DevOps Engineers as well.

CRM – one thing I’ve been blown away by since returning to Canberra is the demand for strong CRM functional and technical consultants, particularly those with MS Dynamics. It seems like the MS Dynamics platform has established itself as the chosen option for governments interaction with its internal and external customers. This obviously fits with the “digitalisation” of government services strategy but its resulted in a very skewed candidate market, with a real shortage of those that truly understand the MS Dynamics platform and its processes. Canberra has historically been full of .Net developers and one thing I’ve noticed is that those with exposure to CRM projects, even if they are simply developing CRM plugins and interfaces, seem to be demanding the big biscuits. Those that can configure and map current business process to system capability will be in high demand.

IT Security – The Government recently announced 260+ million dollars spend on Cyber Security over the next few years. With the ongoing and increasing global threats this area will needless to say be highly active and important for both government and private sector. The need to continually harden all layers of IT security will not go away.

Agile Methodology experience – up there with ‘digital’ in terms of word usage an ‘Agile’ approach or methodology is becoming more and more prevalent across Government. It’s interesting to see how an agile real time approach to development will fit in with the traditional Prince2 or PMBOK (common across Gov) method of running projects – a lot of organisations are slowly figuring out how they can blend the two for an optimal outcome. The types of skill sets that will require this knowledge and be in demand here would include Scrum Masters, Developers, Business Analysts, Agile Coaches and Project Managers.

We’re moving into an exciting phase of technology advancement globally. The current Australian Government seems committed to innovation and best practice which should see a fresh approach and opportunity for those in the ACT market.

Feel free to share any different or additional views.