Employers want more than narrow skills base

Programming skills such as Java, Unix and Oracle currently dominate the latest IT job advertisements but when it comes to soft skills employers differ when it comes to determining what they want in an IT employee.

Measuring jobs advertised on the Ambit IT&T Web site the recruitment agency found Oracle database administrators are in top demand but employers also sought less specific skills such as a broad understanding of the enterprise environment.

Advertisements for Oracle DBAs accounted for an astounding 12 percent of jobs advertised on the entire Jobnet site while MS SQL server skills dropped 1 percent, the only database skill set to show a decline in popularity.

Ambit IT & T Recruitment national spokesperson Peter Acheson said Java still leads demand for programming skills, accounting for 8.6 percent of total advertisements.

"Java continues to be the preferred development platform. It is widely used in banking and telecommunications and is the most commonly used development platform for customer marketing," Acheson said.

Unix has held its own since 1999 although Linux, Solaris and NetWare are making new ground.

But Lindsay Gorrie, information systems manager at St John of God Health Service, said his organization is looking for more than programming skills.

"As an employer I need networking skills, I need good solid background technical knowledge and the ability to synergize and pick up a whole lot of hints and come up with an answer," Gorrie said.

"I need someone who is going to be creative. I don't need a specialist, I need a generalist."

One IT manager, who requested anonymity, said he was looking for an employee with a solid understanding of the enterprise and Windows skills, but admitted they were hard to find.

"We try and hire specialists, like at the moment we're looking for a Citrix specialist, but we want people who have also worked in an enterprise environment; we will go to interview and out of the 10 Citrix specialists there will only be two with enterprise experience," the IT manager said.

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