Jack is the master


The market for IT specialists will shrink in favor of ‘Jack of All’ or ‘Versatile specialists’ or briefly VS. It is predicted that the manpower demand in the IT industry will shift from IT ‘specialists’ to ‘people who execute ‘multi-disciplinary assignments’ to fuel business value. Large and medium sized IT organizations will be smaller that what they are today, thereby a ‘shrink’ in the number of IT professionals. Companies are looking for candidates who can understand different aspects of business. Not that technical requirement are dripping, it’s just that management skills are added to it. Efforts to build up versatile man power package are already in the offing. Today most of the IT companies lay emphasis on business understanding of candidates. With Indian IT services moving up the value chain, the candidates are required to provide not just technical support, but a whole business solution.

Some of the forces that are ushering this change are: (a) the accessibility of global organizations to world labor. (b) Provision of a wider pool of talent to exploit and (c) cut throat competition. Automation too is another factor, notably in software development, testing, remote system monitoring, etc. reducing the need for manual intervention.

The IT research firm, Gartner in 2005 gave an interesting insight on the new breed of manpower in the IT sector. It said that the market for IT specialists will shrink by 40% in favor of ‘versatile specialists’ say VS. The research firm defines its prospective VS as talented who possess thorough business skills along with excellent technical craftsmanship. Pretty soon, specialists might be an extinct species, with VS dominating the IT market. With an exceptional sense of understanding business around technology VS are here to stay. India today, is looking at it as an approaching opportunity to build up new breed of business savvy technologists.

Accessibility of IT to all types of common consumers brought about by personal devices, online services and cell phones, will deflate IT resulting in lesser relevance of cumbersome data center system. Finally, there is a growing skepticism with regard to effectiveness of IT applications on the whole.

Implications for India

Given the country’s history of the IT industry, Indian experts feel this development make a significant impact on the evolution of IT manpower.

India has always had an ingrained versatility, whereby examples of ‘pure’ IT focused companies diversifying into various business verticals are a plenty. The perspective here is, finally, the need for this versatility is being recognized globally, throwing up an opportunity for the country to develop a new breed of workers, while still not letting the ‘specialists’ breed shrink.

The number of IT professionals will not shrink rather ‘pure’ IT specialists with no business sense will cease to add value to IT business.

There is a strong demand for VS but it may not be possible that specialists would be replaced totally by VS. But a new demand for VS would emerge, with the growing need to centralize and have people who can responsibly grow up to manage units (team).

Indian corporate companies will not suffer a talent crunch in the event of automation, because while the low end jobs get automated, India’s software industry would mature and a lot of high end jobs would move to India.

The new genre VS is expected to be proficient in the realities of the business, such as industry knowledge, core processes, customer bases, regulatory environment, culture and constraints specific to the end client.

This versatile capability would also bring about wider responsibilities and better pay hikes. As candidates move up the value chain, they are getting rates; also as of date shortage of such skills is leading to companies paying more for it. In the longer run, these factors would lead to pays being rationalized in line with international pay scales.