Upgrade your IT career – Skills you need
| by Priyanka Tilve
Amidst the growing concern of economic downturn, there is also uncertainty around the availability of jobs. While it’s true that the jobs are hard to come by, those with the right skillset shouldn’t find it difficult to find a job. In fact, the recent Naukri Job Speak index indicates that hiring has picked pace in the first two months of 2013. The first two months of January and February saw an upswing in hiring activity, especially in sectors like software services, BPO and pharma.
The problem is not the availability of jobs, but more so the lack of right candidates who fit the bill. There is a fine line that distinguishes unemployment from unemployability—and this is the cause of concern. While there are jobs in the market, the companies are facing trouble finding right candidates with the skills required for the job. With newer technologies being adopted, they need candidates who are quick enough to adapt and equip themselves with the latest skills. Currently, compared to the pace at which the skills are being replaced and adopted, the workforce is not quick enough to adapt. There is a huge deficit in the supply of those skilled in the latest skills. And when we spoke to leading IT companies, this is the point that they rued about.
Not surprisingly, the number one quality that they look for is the ability to adapt and learn new skills. As newer technologies emerge, the clients expect the companies to adapt the same and provide them with solutions. Deepak Jain, Senior Vice President and Global Head – Workforce Planning and Development, Wipro Technologies, explains things from the perspective of the companies, “How it works is the customers may either ask us to develop a solution for them, implement a solution or run a solution for them. It could be all the three roles that the customer may award to Wipro, or just a part of it. And they are looking for a very quick execution of the project.”
Deepak Jain, Senior Vice President and Global Head – Workforce Planning and Development, Wipro Technologies
He explains, “Let’s say somebody wants to implement cloud then their expectations are that we should complete the project in as short a period as possible, typically six to nine months. This includes right from design to execution. This means that the workforce that will be deployed on the project should be able to perform the role that is expected out of them and not learn at the cost of the customer. So there is a lot of pressure on companies like Wipro to create solutions and workforce around these technology areas, so that they are able to cater to the needs of the customer. And in turn, the pressure gets passed on to the workforce and experienced people have to learn these skills very quickly.”
Seconding his opinion is Vineet Gupta, General Manager, Software Engineering, Directi, who says, “What we look for is the ability to pick-up new skills as today you have cloud computing or mobility, but two years from now it could be web or something else. So what we look for is how quickly can a candidate pick-up new skills, gain new context and start delivering. In short, it’s imperative that the candidates have strong problem solving skills, great communication skills and the ability to learn fast.”
Even when hiring freshers, the emphasis is on hiring candidates who are quick learners. They expect them to gain in-depth knowledge, have practical knowledge and also show flair to learn new skills. When it comes to those with few years of experience, the companies expect them to possess in-depth knowledge, have domain expertise and be an analytical thinker.
The next big thing
Based on the data that we received, the three areas that companies are heavily investing into are Network Security, Cloud & Mobility Infrastructure and Big Data. Naturally, these are also the areas where hiring is on the rise. So if you are a developer with a few years of experience under your belt, then you can focus on these areas and acquire the related skills.
The nature and scope of network security has increased manifold and embodies a wider area right from managing the in-house servers to data on cloud and even the devices used by employees. It’s therefore advisable to pick one area and focus on gaining expertise in the same. The functional areas that are in demand today include Vulnerability Assessor, Penetration Tester, Application Security, Code Review and Mobile Application Security, amongst others. Taufiq Ali, Manager, Manager – Security Assessment, NII Consulting, says, “Skills that are in demand in security space are spread across various domains, i.e. application security, network security and mobile security. A person who is well versed with basic fundamentals of networking like TCP/IP and how popular protocols work, they can certainly be put to use to identify various security related issues that could possibly allow them to completely take over devices like Firewalls, Routers, Switches, Operating systems, Databases etc.”
Taufiq Ali, Manager – Security Assessment, NII Consulting
He also points out that owing to the new technologies that are evolving, the opportunities for the security professionals are enormous. He explains, “The web is growing more and more complicated with the advent of newer programming technologies. The art to break into these or at least research from security point of view is an interesting skillset to have in your arsenal. A person who has basic programming experience in technologies like .NET, PHP, JAVA etc. can be a good candidate for being an application security specialist. This skill allows you to crack at poking holes in websites, actively searching for security vulnerabilities that you can exploit. Of course, this is all ethical. There are several bug bounties by likes of Facebook, Google, Paypal etc. where people can participate in findings bugs in their website and they are rewarded a bounty from anywhere from 200$-10000$ (it can vary depending on how serious the bug is).”
Another emerging area is that of mobile application security, he elaborates: “With the increasing demand of smart phones, there is growing risk of information that can be stolen from hand held. A person who can creatively think out of the box and has basic exposure to reverse engineering, code review techniques can very well disassemble the application and figure what exactly is the app doing when you install and run it. Apart from web and mobile, even with technologies like NFC (Near Field Communication), Wireless, 3G, 4G, GSM etc. there is immense demand.”
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