Chief digital officer IT jobs emerge to bridge IT and end users

Bridget Botelho

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Half of CEOs and business executives want better delivery from IT, yet only 10% of CIOs think they have an execution problem.

That's what Gartner Inc. analysts told the thousands of CIOs and managers at its Symposium/ITxpo here this week, highlighting the disconnect between what end users want and what IT delivers.

"[Business leaders] don't think they can get what they need from existing IT leaders, so new IT leadership roles are being created," said Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president of research at Gartner, during his presentation here this week.

Chief digital officer (CDO) positions are popping up as companies try to understand the data-driven market, and chief marketing technologist jobs have been created in 70% of companies, according to Gartner.

These new chief digital officer positions won't be permanent, however.

"They are mainly change agents, and by 2020, they will be obsolete because their mission of digitalization will be complete," Sondergaard said.

By then, IT people in general will be responsible for digital technology architecture, cyber security and risk, information architecture, industrialized IT infrastructure and most importantly, digital leadership, he said.

The IT jobs website Dice.com didn't have any listings for chief digital officers or chief marketing technologists at this time, though it may be too soon for companies who have already budgeted for and posted jobs to return data on it, a Dice spokesperson said.

The top five IT skills that are in demand today, with more than 1,000 postings on Dice.com, are jobs around big data (up 94% year over year), cyber security (up 59%), JIRA (up 53%), Hadoop (up 47%) and customer relationship management (up 45%).

IT careers evolve on cloud, mobility

IT job roles have shifted, due largely to cloud computing, in positive and negative ways. One IT manager here at the ITxpo who works for a global company said that since moving some of their operations to cloud service providers, a significant number of IT positions have been eliminated.

But those who transition to a cloud career cash in, particularly for those with OpenStack skills or Amazon Web Services experience.

DevOps is another area that Dice expects to gain significance in the future as more companies adopt cloud technologies, a Dice spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, other IT job roles are changing as companies focus on mobilizing existing infrastructure and determine how to handle bring-your-own-device management issues.

One ITxpo attendee, a director of IT for a management company based in Los Angeles, said his team's main challenge is to mobilize its website and create a way of providing services to customers using tablets. Then, they must develop mobile applications.

Both mobile and cloud initiatives demand software developers, albeit for new types of platforms.

Indeed, software developers will continue to be the key to success, said Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt during his public interview with Gartner analysts here.

"Almost every business can be made more efficient by adding software programmers," Schmidt said. "Any [company] that doesn't have software people will be lagging [behind] others."

View the next item in this Essential Guide: DevOps movement could boost IT operations' image or view the full guide: A look inside the DevOps movement

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