With all of the talk we hear about IT becoming increasingly commoditized, at least one area appears to be bucking that trend.
As far as the job market is concerned, it seems IT generalists need no longer apply.
Companies are looking for a much more specific set of skills these days, says a hiring pro quoted in this InfoWorld story. While companies once sought employees with general CRM skills, for example, now they want CRM project managers with knowledge and experience in specific vertical industries.
Also in demand for positions throughout the IT food chain: technical chops, combined with strong communication and business skills. Rather than a developer who can code like nobody's business -- a skill that, quite frankly, comes pretty cheap in India and elsewhere -- companies want developers who can also do client presentations when necessary and lead project teams.
Interestingly, these types of skills can often be found in older workers, a demographic that has frequently been shunned by IT (as well as other industries).
Such workers also may be proficient in COBOL and other programming languages used for mainframe applications. Despite the efforts of IBM and others to get youngsters interested in the mainframe, it's about as popular with college students as non-alcoholic beer.
So perhaps companies should get over their fears of spiraling health care costs and find ways to appeal to older workers. Some of the work perks they desire, such as flexible schedules, are appreciated by younger folks as well. Smart companies are also focusing on making it easier for older workers to share their knowledge with greenhorns.
Companies also may want to review their professional development efforts. It's often easier to build on existing skill sets from within than to look elsewhere for the elusive dream employee.