If you are an IT professional and looking to add certifications in order to advance and make more money, think again. According to Foote Partners, a boutique IT benchmarking firm, as reported by CIO blogger Meridith Levinson, the pay premiums for 82 specific IT skills and 88 IT certifications are falling. What they are seeing is none other than a sea change in how tech professionals are valued.
As technology continues to change in the blink of an eye and often in surprising directions (the death of the desktop?), companies are looking for people who don't simply have the certification de jour. Instead, they are demanding a much broader skillset, one that isn't limited to technology. For instance, they are looking for folks who have technical depth but a business perspective. People who can foster innovation, drive revenues, help evolve the organization in ever leaner, more profitable directions.
Foote reports, "...the restructuring of IT departments that took place during the recession, which in some cases continues today, is driving demand for business skills and contributing to the devaluing of pure tech skills." Pure-play technical expertise is becoming "a dime a dozen." In other words, technical skills are becoming a commodity. And, like other products and services that have been commoditized, their price goes down.
What should tech professionals managing their careers do to avoid becoming a commodity? Develop value-adds, such as another area of proficiency in a business function (i.e., marketing, accounting) and an abiity to continually apply business concepts (strategy alignment, product and service innovation, bottom-line growth) to the activity of IT.
"They're looking for walking Swiss army knives," says Foote. It can sound daunting. But the more aware you of these seismic shifts in your profession and the more you shape your professional identity in the direction of market requirements, the more you will have an edge in your IT job search, now and in and for the (foreseeable!) future.
Ever wondered about how to handle the negotiations with an employer over a job offer? Most people just wing it and leave money on the table.There are some great books out there about how to optimize the offer. One key tip is to never be the first to put out a specific number. But I'm not going to talk about salary negotiation strategy as commonly understood today.
I'm going to talk about something that is usually not considered an important factor in salary negotiation, but I have found to be incredibly powerful. And that is the impact of a clearly defined value proposition in your resume and your LinkedIn Profile. Here are two stories.
Job Seeker One: A senior engineer got a job after only three weeks of job hunting with his new resume. (I am disguising information about this person to protect confidentiality.) He'd been searching with his old resume for a year with no luck, in part because he had switched to another field for a few years and wanted to return to engineering. To overcome that obstacle, we needed a really strong value proposition and we developed one. It was the reason he was asked for several interviews and had an offer from an industry-leading company right out of the gate.
He didn't love the compensation packaged offered - it was in the middle of the range for his position. He contacted me and I merely suggested that he point to the value prop in the resume. He did so and was offered $7,000/year more along with a full relocation package.
Job Seeker 2: An IT consultant (employee) got a job after only a couple of months of searching with his new resume. He'd had no success search with his old resume for about a year. We had spelled out his value proposition VERY CLEARLY in his resume. He received and accepted an offer at $30,000 more a year.
What's a value proposition in a resume look like? Here's one part of the engineer's value prop:
"Enabled identification of potentially catastrophic failures early in the product life cycle, thus reducing risk, slashing remedial costs downstream, and avoiding billions of dollars in possible losses from warranty claims."
Here's just one cell in a value table from the IT consultant's resume:
"As a result of (here I included a grid of personal attributes and impacts), the consulting firm gains contract extensions, more referrals, improved consultant billing & higher revenues."
If you were an employer, wouldn't you want the $$ results these people have proven they can provide? Your resume is a golden opportunity to turn your career gold into actual currency. Don't miss your chance!