Mobile and cloud computing are the future for IT contractors

James Roberts| Brookson

Demand for IT contractors will be strongest in mobile computing and cloud services in the future, according to recruiters. Contractor UK asked three separate IT recruiting firms which skills had been in the greatest demand so far this year and at present, as well as which specialisms will be the most highly sought in the future.

Given the way that business technology and internet usage appear to be developing, it may not be a surprise that demand for expertise in different areas of mobile technology skills was an area of common ground.

According to Jenrick IT’s Philip Fanthom, “all things to do with mobile” are enjoying strong demand at the moment, with user interaction right at the forefront: as interest in interactive services which employ JQuery framework or the JSON data interchange standard continues to grow, contractors with a track record in Javascript are becoming the objects of ever-stronger interest from clients.

SQ Computer Personnel agreed that Java development skills are among the hottest commodities at the moment. SQ also added .Net skills into the mix, indicating a lack of specialists in this area that Hays IT supported.

Hays also reported that app analysts and virtualisation engineers were noticing higher levels of interest from end-clients, suggesting that companies are continuing to invest in expanding into mobile channels.

But businesses are also looking at their internal systems and turning to self-employed professionals for help. Business analysis skills were highly sought according to both Hays and SQ. Hays added that consultants and functional analysts on enterprise resource planning systems were among their most-wanted contractors, demonstrating that budget-conscious companies are looking to become more efficient and willing to pay for specialist skills to help them achieve it.

Cost-cutting is behind a rise in the outsourcing of IT systems, although some companies are taking systems in-house for the same reason. This is why Hays explained that transition project consultants were in demand both for insourcing and outsourcing. According to Jenrick, IAAS project experience is another hot commodity, both from client and supplier’s side.

Project managers are also in short supply, a trend reported by all three recruiters, while Hays said that contractors with experience of managing technology change projects were in demand specifically. Flexibility appears to be order of the day, as Mr Fanthom said that in his experience it was managers with experience of a range of different methods and approaches were more popular than so-called “evangelicals” who stick to one predetermined methodology.

Over the rest of the year, the trend towards mobile expertise is expected to continue, while Jenrick and Hays expect to see further improvements in demand for cloud specialists. As organisational changes come into effect across the public sector, Hays added that it expects to receive more enquiries from clients in need of infrastructure experts too.

Similarly, changes to the regulations governing clients in the financial services will need to be implemented by business analysts and project managers, SQ added.

But Mr Fanthom felt that interest in native mobile apps and back-end cloud projects were likely to make sure that the advanced HTML5 competence remained firmly in the mix.

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