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How IT Jobs Are Organized

Joseph Gulla takes an alternative approach to analyzing available IT job openings and how these jobs are organized.

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With this post, I am continuing the series on IT jobs in today’s full employment economy. Last week, I wrote about the significant number of jobs that are available, giving the example of one employer alone that has over 13,000 cloud computing job openings. In that post, I also explained different IT organizational approaches that have evolved over the years because this is relevant to job responsibilities. For example, an organization that is focused on delivering services has jobs with service functions at the center of the job responsibilities. So what’s a representative grouping of IT jobs?

A Sample of IT Jobs

Last week, I accessed a veritable universe of job data using a simple and very broad search asking—show me all of the IT jobs in the U.S. I used the Indeed website. That search resulted in 361,500 jobs, so this week, I needed to trim down those results to a significant subset that I can analyze and discuss. I tried but couldn’t find a practical way to sample the data. For example, I generated 30 random numbers in the range of 1 to 361,500. However, scrolling through thousands of screens of web data was just not practical. If I could have created a row for each job in a spreadsheet, then it would have been possible, but the tools to do this weren’t available to me. So what did I do next?

Organization Structure Approach

An alternative approach for analysis is to create a broad IT organizational structure, then do discrete searches to identify and use jobs from the job sites. What are the organizational divisions to use? I identified many departments in my post from last week. Here is a discussion of a few key ones.

Application Development

An IT organization is likely to contain an application development department responsible for developing, testing and deploying applications. They might have team members with an operations focus in an arrangement called DevOps. Application development may also have a focus on acquiring, administering and supporting commercial, off-the-shelf applications. Application development may be carried out with the support of standard platforms, software and methods selected and approved by IT.
 
All of this diversity of responsibilities in application development has a significant influence on job postings. The job title might be analyst, developer, application or security specialist, but the content for the job might be DevOps on IBM Z, cloud on Linux or security for SAP. These details are found in the job posting itself.
 

IT Infrastructure

The IT infrastructure that supports an organization makes it possible for people to get work done. It’s about having computing resources available, as well as network to get connected to applications and services. It’s also about doing this in the proper business context. If, for example, the organization is in a highly regulated industry, then the computing has to be done in that context within those restraints, otherwise there could be fines and other penalties.
 
The infrastructure must also be secure, so there is a lot of focus in this area and, frankly, success hasn’t been great, measured by the number of hacks that are experienced each day around the world. However, this is a daunting challenge that’s beyond the resources of most individual IT departments. Every day, the AV-TEST Institute registers over 350,000 new malicious programs and potentially unwanted applications.   

Operations

An organization that’s focused on operations can have many different kinds of personnel by skill and specialty. At times, these personnel are tightly aligned with other groups like application development as they may have a recognized joint responsibility to provide an application as a service to their organizational users. If they have a significant batch workload, there’s a team to monitor and manage the schedule in support of the workload software. For many years, batch workloads in many organizations are too voluminous and complex to run manually.
 
Computer operators have been significantly altered by automation software in many IT organizations where the focus is squarely on administering the software to handle as much as possible, leaving only the exceptions to be handled by people. This often makes the support task very challenging as exceptions can be characterized as SNOs—should not occur errors. If they should not occur, then how do you fix them?

A More Complete Working List

The table below is a more complete list of IT departments with up to four general job titles found on the Indeed or Ziprecruiter web sites. In the first column for each function, there’s a count with search results. When you see something like “(>451K jobs),” that means more than 451,000 jobs resulted from the search. The job titles in columns 2-5 were taken from the search results.
 
Function in department Job title Job title Job title Job title
Application development (>451K jobs) Analyst Developer Application specialist Security
specialist
IT infrastructure
(>77K jobs)
Analyst Engineer Architect Project
manager
Operations
(>414K jobs)
Analyst Coordinator Specialist Associate
Service management
(>541K jobs)
Service manager Desk manager Delivery
manager
Change
manager
Architecture
(>66K jobs)
System integrator Support technician Information architect Security architect
Shared service
(>5K jobs)
Data administrator IT generalist Network and computer systems administrator System administrator
Governance
(>22K jobs)
HR Legal Compliance Financial markets operations
Enterprise architecture
(>13K jobs)
Enterprise architect Specialty: ERP Specialty: Cloud Specialty: Industrial Internet of Things
Program management
(>51K jobs)
Specialty: IT infrastructure Specialty: Data center Specialty: User experience Specialty: IT infrastructure
 
As you can read, the number of jobs in the search results can be daunting. Nevertheless, next week, I’ll pick two departments and explore in more detail the variety and diversity of the skills that are needed by employers.
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