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IT Jobs: Application Development and Service Management

Joseph Gulla explores two key areas for IT employment: application development and service management.

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With this post, I am continuing my series on IT jobs in today’s full employment economy by picking jobs from two key areas in IT and exploring in more detail the variety and diversity of the skills that are needed by employers. Let’s explore application development and service management.

Application Development

Last week, I wrote that an IT organization is likely to contain an application development department responsible for developing, testing and deploying applications and that they might have team members with an operations focus in an arrangement called DevOps. Let me explore some of the characteristics of manager, analyst, developer, application and security specialist that I found in the 451,000-plus job openings.
The application development (AD) manager works with other professionals in departments including product, sales, marketing, compliance and operations to understand their needs and provide manageable and cost-effective technology solutions. AD managers often coordinate with portfolio managers (applications are often part of a portfolio of applications) and product owners to revise and prioritize backlogs so teams are always focused on business outcomes of the highest value. AD managers engage employees and contract workers to achieve important goals. As people managers, they create career growth opportunities for the team while developing metrics to monitor and report success toward desired performance levels. This is what some employers are looking for in an AD manager.
The AD analyst maintains knowledge on current and emerging developments and trends for assigned areas of responsibility, assesses the impact, and collaborates with management to incorporate new trends and developments in the present and in the future. This is how they keep applications fresh. The analyst identifies and recommends process improvements that significantly reduce workloads or improve quality for their assigned areas of responsibility. Sometimes analysts consult on more complex assignments and projects in their areas of responsibility. They often are called upon to determine how existing applications, systems, databases, interfaces or hardware can interact to meet new organization initiatives.  
The AD developer generally is called upon to design, modify, develop, write and implement software applications. They diagnose issues in software applications and environments and generally participate in the testing process through test review and analysis. They carry out tasks on a variety of projects, per assignments from a team leader and code according to their business unit’s standards and design guidelines for HTML, ASP. net, VB. NET, C#, Java, JavaScript, and SQL. This is just a sample of required programming language skills. There is often a long list of other needs regarding software tool use. In addition to strong computer skills, AD developers are expected to have excellent verbal and written communication skills as well as being organized, detail-oriented, self-motivated and willing to develop professionally. These jobs, compared to others, have longer lists of employer wants and needs.

Application Specialist Roles

Application specialist jobs often focus on a specific industry like medicine or commercial, off-the-shelf software like SAP. The focus here can be more on answering internal and external customer inquiries and consulting as appropriate with others in the organization like system engineers or global customer support personnel. In developing their specialization skills, they’re encouraged to develop problem solving and troubleshooting skills and to refine the investigative process.
The application security specialist main job is to plan, implement and maintain security controls to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data and information systems. The job is to design, deploy and manage security technologies such as application- and network-focused vulnerability scanners, endpoint protection, network- and host-based IPS/IDS, firewalls, security information and event management, and data loss prevention. They monitor performance metrics, review logs and conduct periodic audits to verify the effectiveness of security controls also working with the configuration of security settings for cloud-based environments. They also investigate potential security incidents and, as necessary, manage incident response and forensic investigation processes.
This is just a small sample of what you find for jobs in the application development area.

Service Management

What’s IT service management (ITSM) and why are there more that 541,000 job openings? ITSM is a set of processes, procedures and policies that automate, integrate and improve the way IT staff support an organization's employees. ITSM improves a company's operational efficiency and increases employee productivity by enhancing automation and improving visibility into data. ITSM typically provides better governance and analytics for making business and technology service decisions. There are so many jobs on the job sites because ITSM has a huge scope, including the management of the IT infrastructure, including hardware, software, processes and services.
Service management personnel have job titles like service manager, service desk manager, service delivery manager and change manager. What are the differences in these jobs? Like many jobs in IT, service managers have many activities vying for their attention. They plan, (manage team schedules and budgets) support (make sure that service tickets are dispatched, scheduled and resolved) and communicate (interact with delivery team leadership, provide SLA reports, etc.). They also have a proactive dimension to their jobs as they review client systems, technology and user requirements to identify improvement opportunities. These different activities and responsibilities are reflected in the open job descriptions.
The service desk manager often serves as the first point-of-contact to accurately assess the priority and category of incidents and requests and assigns tickets to service desk staff and other functional or strategic areas of a companies’ technology services team. Often, they coordinate  the work of the service desk team to fulfill standard service requests by ensuring new device purchases are received, prepared and deployed. The best service desk managers proactively identify opportunities to document specialized knowledge and review documentation with others.
The service delivery manager typically handles the deployment, monitoring, maintenance, development, upgrade and support of IT systems. This includes networks, servers, computers, OSes, and associated hardware, including disciplines like business case justification and asset management for IT hardware, software and equipment. Typically, they assist with resolving security-related issues, helping ensure the integrity and security of enterprise data on host computers and during data transfer in accordance with business needs and industry best practices regarding privacy, security and regulatory compliance.
The change manager is responsible for the day-to-day execution of change management delivery for the organization, including continuous improvement of the change process striving for compliance at low levels of conflict. For this job, the change manager typically owns activities where they plan, execute, escalate and facilitate various steps of the process as needed to ensure that changes are executed seamlessly and to minimize unpredicted impact from change. Strong communication skills are required, ensuring the ability to translate technical terms into business impact.
These aren’t the only service management jobs available and there are many other interesting responsibilities in the great variety of service management jobs like global service delivery manager, service management analyst and critical incident manager, to name just three more examples of service management jobs.

Up Next Week  

Next week, I’ll focus on two more categories of job openings that, at present, have many thousands of job openings. I am thinking specifically about operations and program management jobs.
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