Remote work

Remote work is a godsend for IT pros who love their personal space

Applicants may be at an advantage as IT job listings lead in location flexibility and demand increases for digital transformation roles.
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· 4 min read

There’s good news for IT and cybersecurity pros who have grown comfortable working from the couch: You might not need to leave it anytime soon, even if you’re planning on changing jobs. With ongoing talent shortages, the market remains hot for applicants with the kind of skills the Covid-19 pandemic put a premium on.

Not only can prospective hires look for jobs in regions that used to be too far away from where they live, experts told IT Brew, but there is increased demand for the technical skills needed to support the permanent transformation of work-life arrangements across the country.

Skills in demand: Gartner research has shown that of all job functions it tracks, IT has the most opportunities for remote work. It found 37% of IT job listings in the US, UK, and Canada from November 2021 to February 2022 advertised some combination of fully remote, temporarily remote, or hybrid work models. Skills related to software development and cloud computing, like continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD), Docker, and React, tend to be the most location-flexible.

Alex Michaels, a principal advisor at Gartner who specializes in cybersecurity and risk management, told IT Brew that remote work has made it easier for cybersecurity pros to find employment—mostly because hordes of other telecommuters have resulted in “increased prioritization of cybersecurity from the business.

The factors driving these changes—including digital transformation, new cybersecurity regulations, and the shift from project-centric to product-centric delivery—have increased the need for security analysts and engineers to have non-technical competencies, he added. That might mean end-user interaction, or supporting business priorities rather than just security projects.

Developing these skills can be “significant differentiators between you and your competitors with similar certifications and/or experiences,” Michaels wrote in an email.

“As security loses sight of an organization’s distributed technological infrastructure, competencies like digital dexterity, collaboration, and adaptability have become even more critical to the security of your organization,” Michaels wrote. He added that Gartner had tracked a rise in demand for “specialized roles in awareness, insider threat, third-party risk, and endpoint security across its client base to meet the increased risks associated with remote work.”

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While job-seekers might have to compete with applicants halfway across the country, Michaels observed, “This has not offset or impacted the opportunity to find employment due to the significant macro skills shortage.”

Not all remote opportunities are equal: There’s a clear upshot of remote work for IT/cybersecurity leaders and other senior personnel, Charley Betzig, the managing director of IT executive recruitment firm Heller Search Associates, told IT Brew.

“Qualified senior technology executives—even those actively searching—know that if they turn down an opportunity that requires relocation, it is very possible their next opportunity could be one that allows them to stay remote without uprooting their family,” Betzig wrote.

According to Computerworld, research by fintech firm Carta has found startups are another hot category for telecommuting, with median pay in some cities starting to trend towards San Francisco rates.

Fully remote work means companies can tap talent pools in new places, but it also means employers across the country now have to compete with Silicon Valley for the most promising candidates, according to Gartner’s research director of human resources Jamie Kohn. But that “may not be a huge jump in opportunity” for all IT applicants, as salaries at the smaller firms may not be competitive.

“With the ability to complete early interview rounds more quickly, offers can come out of nowhere, and if companies delay their decisions on good candidates for too long, they are likely to lose them to competitors who are more agile in their recruiting,” Betzig said.—TM

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Top insights for IT pros

From cybersecurity and big data to software development and gaming. Our IT Brew newsletter delivers the latest news and analysis of trends shaping the IT industry, like only The Brew can.