Data center jobs in a down economy

Our guide to data center jobs gives you all the resources you need to stay on top of the enterprise IT job market.

Recession and jobs  |  Outsourcing  |  Job prospects  |
Honing skills |  Optimizing management


The economic recession has taken a toll on many jobs, and the IT job market is no black sheep. However, signs indicate that IT shops are again ready to open their wallets, which can only signal good things for enterprise IT job prospects. However, with any economy, it is always important to polish up your tech resume and stay up to date with your IT skill set. Our guide to data center jobs will show you the effects of the economic recession on data center careers, prospects for the future and the skills and advice you need to stay on top of the IT job market.

  How the recession has affected data center jobs

Some data centers have coped with the economic downturn by turning to virtualization. Others have resorted to extending their technology refresh cycle. Whatever the method, we examine how data centers have coped with the economic decline and how it has affected the IT job market as a whole. We also take a look at how job responsibilities have shifted as a result of the economic crisis.

Have data center careers hit the skids? 
Data center careers may be on the downswing. Nearly 300 data center managers and administrators spend too much time troubleshooting virtual infrastructure environments and not enough in other areas, according to results of a TechTarget salary and careers. In addition, data center roles may signal big changes in the IT industry.

How data centers cope with the economic downturn
Data centers are coping with the economic downturn by looking at server virtualization to cut costs and power consumption, according to results of a survey. Some IT managers are deciding to make their servers last longer in production, while others are planning on spending less on systems management tools.

Is the recession keeping a lid on a data center staffing crisis?
The data center industry is on the verge of a staffing crisis if it can’t facilitate more employee loyalty, according to one Gartner analyst. And surprisingly, this staffing crisis isn’t a result of an aging workforce. But attendees at the Gartner Data Center Conference said the economy is keeping people put.


  Recession leaves IT pros mixed on outsourcing

IT pros have mixed reactions when it comes to outsourcing IT operations, containing facility costs and countering staff cuts. However, even with the economic downturn, some IT shops should cast outsourcing fears aside. One colocation and hosting business, for example, saw a 15% jump in business since the downturn began.

ITIL certification builds IT workers' skills in economic downturn
IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL ) certification jumpstarted an investment in IT skills and an increase in operating efficiency during a down economy. The certification helps two groups: the employees who fear losing jobs without the right skill set and the employers who always look for ways to improve their company’s operations.


  Prospects for data center jobs

What does the IT job market look like in an economic crisis? What do you need to know to land the job you want? We take a look at how the economic downturn has affected the data center job field and which data center jobs will be hot in 2011 and beyond.

The 2011 enterprise IT job market: Predictions and areas for growth
The year 2010 was huge for virtualization in the data center, and interest will remain for years to come. But the 2011 IT job market will see a bigger demand for skills in cloud architecture, desktop virtualization and security, among other areas. The cloud will especially be a hot area because of its flexibility, agility, availability and affordability.

How to find a job in the data center: IT job hunt tips
Expert Mark Holt shares some tech resume writing and job hunting tips to help you find a data center job and stay on top of the IT job market. Pointers include ways to make your resume stand out and which information should always be left out. In addition, by running your job search like a project, it can give you the power to go full steam ahead in the job search.

Observations on the IT job market: The government sector
A data center job seeker and former IT manager shares his thoughts on the IT job market and the government’s portrait of job prospects. Is Washington giving a false sense of the IT job market picture? There may, in fact, be a bigger piece of the IT job puzzle that entails a future full of risk and open-ended opportunity for job-seekers.


  Honing your skills

To land those job prospects in the IT job market, you’ll need a sharp set of skills. This section offers tips and advice on building your IT skill set, and for some of the jobs, those skills aren’t necessarily technical. You’ll also find tips on advancing your career in the data center through well-thought out career goals and by taking advice from data center user groups.

Career pathing: Advancing your career in the data center
A data center pro offers advice on IT careers, tips for planning and achieving success and advancing your career in the data center. Who are the most successful employees in the data center? What do they all have in common? How did they achieve success? The first step to data center success is having a solid career goal in mind.

Rising to the CIO slot requires technology and people skills
So you want to be a CIO? Rising to the CIO position requires driving business through technology smarts. It also requires innovation, a good personality, solid communication skills and a willingness to collaborate, according to attendees of the MIT Sloan’s CIO Symposium. In other words, being a CIO requires being a “superhero” of sorts.

Systems administration inexperience a reality at Open Source Lab
The Oregon State University Open Source Lab’s (OSUOSL) data center hosts some major Linux community projects, including the Linux Foundation and the Linux Master Kernel. In addition, it staffs a group of OSU computer science students as its systems administrators. In this Q&A, a lab architect discusses challenges and rewards of staffing inexperienced systems administrators in OSUOSL’s data center.

What are the top skills for systems administrators?
Do you have what it takes to get hired in the systems administrator job market? Take a look at the skills needed to be a sys admin – they’re not all technical, either. Some of them, in fact, include customer service skills, the ability to work under pressure, person-to-person networking and solid writing skills. You should thoroughly examine your skill set and how it fits into the market before deciding on a sys admin career.

Avoid a mainframe skills shortage: Educate recent graduates
Even though mainframe skills are on the decline with an aging workforce, new graduates can be trained on the mainframe basics. Some of these skills include knowledge of concepts unique to the platform, including a job entry subsystem, and learning the COBOL language and mainframe programming tools, such as Time Sharing Option (TSO). The survival of the mainframe depends on this “out with the old, in with the new” mentality.

Data center user groups influence career development’s Data Center Advisory Board discusses which committees or user groups have been most instrumental in developing their IT careers. The board members’ responses demonstrate the great benefits data center user groups provide, from networking with contacts and mentors in the job market to gaining experience managing events for your own group.


  Optimizing management/communication in the data center

A technical skill set can only go so far if there’s a lack of effective communication in your data center. We examine the gaps between IT and finance teams and how to bridge them, as well as effective communication strategies for data center managers. In addition, we take a look at advice for optimizing IT operations through more efficient staff management and IT staffing approaches.

Optimize IT operations with better staff management
Contributor Gene Kim explains how to solve a symptom plaguing many IT departments: the “Brent Syndrome.” In this problematic scenario, “Brent” often is the only go-to guy in the IT department because of his smarts, a tendency to fix severe problems efficiently, and he is the only one who knows how to do so. Optimizing and streamlining IT operations begins with better utilization of an IT department’s greatest asset – the staff as a whole.

Bridging the communication chasm between IT and finance teams: Q&A
IT and finance teams working together is the key to increasing productivity and making the data center a viable and valuable asset. In this Q&A with Lauralee Martin, executive vice president and global CFO and COO from Jones Lang LaSalle, the disconnect between the two teams is explained, along with advice on bridging that gap by selling data center initiatives to the CFO.

How to approach IT staffing in today's data center
In today’s data center, virtualization and slashed budgets have changed IT staffing habits. But with the right mix of skills and technology, a balance can be found. Senior Technology Writer Stephen Bigelow explains how to approach staffing in the today’s data center and for the future, even with staff counts being kept at a minimum.

Message to data center managers: Speak up!
According to one CEO of a data center consultancy, data center managers must improve their communication with C-level execs and explain why data center issues are crucial to the business. This communication should also include a warning to executives of how changes in the data center industry could affect the business.


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