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Even when the economy tanked in 2008, IT networking talent remained highly in demand. As businesses continue to rely increasingly on technology and expand their digital resources in size and complexity, they require skilled professionals who can engineer and manage a system effectively. A few simple errors in setting up or maintaining networks can result in severe consequences, so employers need to bring the right expertise on board.
Networking is becoming more complex
Big Data, cloud computing, bring-your-own-device policies, the Internet of Things—these are just a few of the recent technology trends that are putting additional pressure on IT support teams. These advancements offer companies remarkable opportunities to derive useful business insights and operate more efficiently, but they require expanded system resources to accommodate massive data volumes and computing technologies. With cybercrime on the rise and data security in the spotlight, protecting these systems from attack and error has never been more pressing or more challenging.
As Baseline Magazine reported, a recent survey from Avaya, conducted by Dynamic Markets Limited, assessed some of the issues inherent to complex network systems, particularly when IT teams struggle to implement changes effectively. Overall, the study pointed to the intricacies involved in managing today's technology.
"Networking today requires more flexibility and agility than ever before, as IT staff face unique challenges and pressures to be proactive in troubleshooting," said Marc Randall, senior vice president of networking and general manager for Avaya, according to the source.
Errors carry heavy consequences
The Avaya study revealed a number of issues that can result from inefficient or erroneous IT maintenance. Downtime is one of the most significant consequences, since every moment the network is down can cost businesses thousands of dollars in lost revenue and missed opportunities. Eighty-two percent of survey respondents reported experiencing disruptive downtime due to misconfigurations that impacted the core of the network. In fact, 20 percent of downtime in 2013 was caused by networking core errors, the source added. These mistakes can also decrease employee productivity, delay other IT projects and interrupt supply chains.
In addition to making errors while updating networks, inexperienced or understaffed IT teams sometimes fall behind on security patches, testing and performance monitoring, Enterprise Networking Planet explained. With hackers constantly developing new ways to penetrate systems, these tasks must be top priorities. Additionally, IT experts should be able to create interoperability and have a sense of business practices, the source advised, but many professionals fall short in this arena as well.
Highly demanded IT talent
Companies depend on secure, integrated, high-performing IT networks to support their business operations and keep their valuable information resources safe but accessible.
Our research has shown that networking jobs continue to be plentiful even when companies are downsizing in other areas. In particular, businesses need skilled professionals who can manage network storage, engineer security and design systems. Unfortunately, these are some of the hardest job titles to hire, taking a significant amount of time (up to three months) to fill these positions. SAN and UNIX skills are also difficult to procure.
Despite the talent shortage, the risks associated with poor network management demonstrate the importance of hiring the right support. Companies seeking talent may need to partner with IT recruiting or consulting firms to ensure they acquire the appropriate skill set and level of expertise.