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Filling IT skills gap and managing projects top list of CIO concerns

Filling in the IT skills gap is at the top of the list of CIOs' worries, one industry association leader finds.

Every business comes with its own unique challenges for IT leaders, but some CIO concerns are shared by IT organizations in enterprises of all sizes.

Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO at Downers Grove, Ill.-based CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association), recently spent time traveling and speaking with CIOs throughout the United States. He found that the IT skills gap and a dearth of project managers are at the top of a familiar list of woes. Here he reveals the top five issues keeping CIOs up at night.

1. HR and the IT skills gap

Project managers have become so vital in ... IT organizations that CIOs are recognizing an IT skills gap in this area.

"When I asked CIOs, 'If I could give you a silver bullet tomorrow, what would you do to improve or mitigate the IT skills gap within your company?' far and away the No. 1 thing CIOs said was this: 'I would put another person in my HR department who is specifically dedicated to recruiting for me,'" Thibodeaux said. "CIOs said that right now what's happening is that you have the recruiters and the people who are searching out candidates within their organizations. They're trying to find salespeople, they're trying to find marketing people, and IT has fallen rungs down the rack. They're just not getting the attention that they need," he said.

2. Project management

"Project managers have become so vital in midmarket and enterprise IT organizations that CIOs are recognizing an IT skills gap in this area. It's a challenge to bring people in and train them in project management," Thibodeaux said. "Being able to carry projects through [to completion] is a big key because CIOs are being asked to do so much now with business optimization, with [business] project work and the whole mobility space."

3. Accommodating the 'social' generation

"CIOs want new blood, but they're having a hard time socializing younger generations into the organization, specifically if they're remote," Thibodeaux said. "Gen X and Gen Y, or Millennial, workers want a sense of community and they want to be part of something. A lot of the time [CIOs] are having a hard time recruiting these younger workers into remote positions because they want to come into an office setting and be part of something."

4. Security

"A top concern is still definitely around security," Thibodeaux said. "We hear that all the time, so it's a little bit of a broken record in terms of people not finding professionals who understand security issues."

5. Mobility

In the future, midmarket CIOs' greatest desire will be for "people who understand the mobile app infrastructure. Not necessarily developers, but people who understand how these things work, how they work on mobile devices," Thibodeaux said. "And that's not just a security issue; it's a productivity issue and it's a provisioning issue. It's because they're handing out more devices now and a lot of these devices are on mobile data plans, so being able to manage that and optimize the contracts is important," he said. "With BYOD [bring your own device] you have plans on multiple carriers, so having people who can manage that whole spectrum just from a device-usage standpoint has become a real headache."

Let us know what you think about the story; email Karen Goulart, Features Writer.

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