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NetSuite is Looking for 150 News Employees – What Will the Cloud Workforce Look Like?

Netsuite has been growing the past few years despite, or perhaps because of, the recession. And on Friday the cloud-based ERP provider announced it is seeking to fill 150 unfilled positions in almost every area – including sales, customer service and support, and engineering. The positions are listed on the company’s careers page. Is Netsuite’s aggressive hiring a sign of health in the tech industry, a sign of things to come for the enterprise job market, or both?

While the “great recession” has been declared “officially over” since summer of 2009, unemployment is still at 9.6% nationally. Meanwhile, IT workers are burning out and looking for new jobs – and they’re pretty confident they’ll find those new jobs. Netsuite’s success and aggressive hiring may be evidence that those workers aren’t deluded.

However, Netsuite’s 150 new jobs is a drop in the bucket compared to the 200,000 – 250,000 jobs AMI Partners predicts small businesses will lose to the cloud. I’d like to believe that cloud computing will just mean we all get to work regular 40 hour weeks instead of the average 72, but considering that eliminating positions has been specifically mentioned as a reason to migrate to the cloud, I rather doubt that.

TechRepublic‘s Jason Hiner, following our own Sarah Perez’s work, predicted IT will split into two tracks:

1. Business analysts – “IT professionals who work directly for individual companies — rather than part of a provider or consultancy — will have to become much more business savvy.”

2. Technology experts – “They will rarely work directly for one company, but will rather work with various companies to help solve their IT problems, implement new technologies, and manage their IT infrastructures.”

InfoWorld’s highlighted the following possible future trends for the fully cloudified IT work force:

  • Little job growth in data centers – the economies of scale will reduce the number of workers needed.
  • A reduction in the number of technical staff such as server administrators, database administrators, and infrastructure and network people.
  • A greater demand for IT workers with business skills, specifically business process management.
  • A greater need for IT staff to deal with contract management and supplier relationship management
  • More demand cloud platform specific development – for example, Salesforce.com certified developers

In their book Mashup Corporations authors Andy Mulholland, Chris S. Thomas and Paul Kurchina call for IT to become ITC – “Information and Communications Technology.” Forrester analysts Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler call for IT to take on a new role in their book Empowered. The pair calls on IT to become supporters instead of controllers of new technologies in the enterprise (see our interview with Bernoff). We reported last night that social media jobs are experiencing growth, and there will be a need for technical and security staff to support the social enterprise.

In the meantime, IT workers with desirable skills still have job options, as Netsuite’s expansion shows. But IT pros need to start considering which side of the cloud they want to work on, and start figuring out what skills they will need to secure those positions.

Employers wanting to avoid short-term IT staffing issues and long-term shortages of cloud speciality skills would do well to give IT employees the chance to learn and use resilient cloud-based skills and start thinking about how key staffs’ roles will change in the future.

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