The Impact of the SOA Skills Shortage

Loraine Lawson

I've talked before about claims that few IT people really understand SOA. Obviously, that little knowledge problem impacts your ability to sell SOA to the business.


But SOA expert and Real World SOA blogger Dave Linthicum recently posted about a related, but even bigger issue: There aren't many IT workers with SOA experience -- especially if you're talking about a large-scale implementation.


At Impact 2007, IBM announced several training initiatives and certifications to help bridge the SOA skills gap. That's great, if you want IBM's solution and you can wait for it to graduate a few thousand trainees. But what about now?


Plan long and well and then plan to pay out lots of money, Linthicum advises. He cautions that government agencies must resist the urge to go with the lowest bidder. If you want real experts, you'll need to pay high prices for their real expertise -- otherwise, you may just be paying someone who claims to understand SOA, but actually has no real experience. He also suggests investing in training.


IT Toolbox blogger and enterprise architect Mike Kavis predicts the skilled SOA labor shortage will contribute to the consolidation of SOA and Business Process Management. Kavis reports that his company has over 20 projects that it needs help with, and the plan is to work on three or four of them at a time. But Kavis anticipates problems, because his company's SOA partners are in high demand.


This puts pure-play SOA companies at a disadvantage against vendors offering stack solutions, because they simply do not have the people to meet the demand. And so, he anticipates that you'll see niche SOA and BPM players snapped up by bigger stack vendors in the very near future. (For more on how SOA and BPM relate, see my previous post, "What's the Deal with BPM and SOA.")


Kavis asks for feedback on his prediction, and, with a few date variations, readers seem to agree.


But to us, the more immediate question remains: What does this mean for companies trying to move on SOA now?

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