Galvanize recruitment with a digital talent strategy

IT, along with its various subsets like software development, coding, information security and so on, is constantly evolving in and of itself, not unlike the systems it was created (as a trade) to serve. Because of this steady path of development and reinvention, it is counterproductive to do anything in IT that creates a stale or status-quo environment. Although, ironically, some outside the department may assume IT is focused on preservation of the status quo to avoid potential complications and maintain an organization's daily operations at all costs, this simply isn't the case. 

One of the best ways to help prevent IT from becoming stagnant is to keep the team fresh, and the clearest path toward that goal is savvy recruitment, focused around a well-constructed digital talent strategy. Here, we'll look into how you can create a diverse and comprehensively skilled IT team that meets new and emerging challenges with aplomb. 

Keeping track of highly demanded roles 
According to TechRepublic, 10 specific IT roles are in the high demand from modern organizations all over the world as of 2019: cybersecurity engineer, artificial intelligence/machine learning engineer, full stack developer, data scientist, Python developer, Java developer, JavaScript developer, cloud engineer, scrum master and devops engineer, in that order. 

Cybersecurity being at the top of the list is no surprise, given the gravity of the issue: The most recent reports from the Identity Theft Resource Center found there have been 1,272 data breaches in the U.S. alone during 2019 (as of Nov. 13), exposing more than 163 million records. This isn't that far behind 2018's final breach tally (1,632), though it has a ways to go before matching or exceeding the amount of compromised records for last year (more than 446 million). Beyond that, AI and machine learning have been surging in recent years and seem likely to continue doing so for the foreseeable future, leaving no mystery as to the demand for those skilled in such systems' operations. And the need for cloud engineers and scrum masters also makes sense given the continued proliferation of cloud platforms and agile development. 

Other roles on the list – stack developer, data scientist and devops engineer – occupy their places of high demand because they're "old standbys," so to speak. They'll always be in need. The coding positions are perhaps the most interesting: Python is clearly on the upswing as an open-source coding language with superb facility for app development, slowly but surely supplanting the entrenched Java. But Java was used so frequently over the past two decades – more so than its official counterpart JavaScript – that people are used to it, and even those seeking to scrub it from their servers and apps likely need experts on staff solely to expedite its extraction. 

Examining new approaches to tech recruitment 
Those who possess genuinely elite tech skills and are between jobs know exactly how valuable they are. If your organization recently made a job offer to such an individual, you can rest assured that they have several others like it. They can take or leave whatever you've offered them, with impunity – unless, of course, you approach them in a novel manner and offer them something others won't.

InformationWeek cited an interesting example of consumer product giant Unilever's approach to this issue in a Sept. 20 piece: Unilever sent digital invitations to 250,000 skilled candidates across the globe who were still in university, offering them the opportunity to play neuroscience-related games that helped winnow down the talent pool. As a result, in North America the conglomerate's applicant-to-job ratio rose 50% and offer acceptance went up 16%. Your organization might lack the budget to contact that many prospects, but it doesn't mean you can't use gamification in your application process. Or you can make it exciting in some other way, such as by emphasizing fun aspects of your company culture as opposed to benefits or dollars-and-cents salaries. 

Once you've identified the roles you most need to fill to keep your IT from stagnation, it will also be critical to implement continuous learning and professional development initiatives for newer workers. This can help diminish any belief that your organization is just a way station they'll eventually leave, and instead potentially instill in them faith that aiding your business's mission can further their career aims beyond whatever they might have imagined.