Staying up to speed on relevant skills is critical for all IT professionals who want to grow in their careers, and when it comes to what skills are in high demand, these CIOs know what they need.
We asked CIOs who recently won the 2021 New York CIO of the Year ORBIE Awards what skills they believe will be important for IT professionals in the coming year. The awards were presented by the New York CIO Leadership Association, a professional community that annually recognizes CIOs for their excellence in technology leadership.
Read on to learn which IT roles and skills these CIOs believe will be most important to recruit – and retain – in IT this year.
Full-spectrum technology expertise
Leadership CIO of the Year
Lori Beer, Global CIO, JPMorgan Chase: It’s no secret that companies are seeing a lot of movement among talent, especially in tech. And a significant amount of my time is spent on two focus areas: strategizing to deliver best-in-class products and services in the midst of a digital transformation and providing a great experience for our 53k+ technologists globally. As a leader, everything I set out to achieve depends on the commitment and talent of our people, so attracting and retaining them is critical.
[ What leadership challenges and opportunities are CIOs looking forward to this year? Read CIO role: 5 key opportunities for IT leaders in 2022. ]
We’re looking for full-stack engineers, architects, and developers with modern technology expertise across the full spectrum who want to continue to learn, develop their skills, and grow their careers. In return, we’ll provide a culture that fosters and values innovation, diversity, equity, and inclusion – and that recognizes employees and managers play equally important roles in driving that culture.
Soft skills: Adaptability, communication, and mentorship
Large Enterprise CIO of the Year
Robert Galvin, CTO, The Port Authority of NY and NJ: I think the big takeaway for 2021 was: flexibility wins. In addition to the list of skills typically in high demand: Cloud engineers and architects, security specialists, customer service-oriented technicians who can implement tools, process change, etc., we are also looking for adaptable, flexible thinkers who can focus on business problems first and technologies second. We also need people who can mentor and train others and who demonstrate great written and verbal communication skills.
We encourage people and teams to build skills through online coursework, especially leading to technical certifications. We also offer tuition reimbursement for college and graduate school. We also support staff through EBRGs (Employee Business Resource Groups) – which allow people with common interests to coalesce and develop leadership skills and address current workplace issues.
Corporate CIO of the Year
Kalicharan Durgampudi, CTO, Zelis Healthcare: As a hyper-growth company, we are looking for talent in almost all technology areas, from architecture to application development to data analytics to cloud engineering to process and product areas. Zelis is transforming at a rapid pace; as such, we are looking for people adept at dealing with agility.
We are mainly attracting talent through internal referrals and also by diversifying and expanding the locations of hiring. More than 60 percent of our hiring in the technology area last year came from referrals. We also believe in fostering a culture of continuous learning and growth. Zelis has an established learning and development department through which courses including mentorships, career pathing, and shadow programs are offered, all with a goal of enhancing and enriching the ever-learning yearning of Zelis technologists.
Certifications in software and systems
Healthcare CIO of the Year
Jamie Nelson, SVP & CIO, Hospital for Special Surgery: In the provider health care setting, we use packaged software for our major applications – for example, Epic EMR and Salesforce CRM. These systems require IT staff who have deep knowledge of and/or certifications in those systems.
In addition, we seek talent that not only has the system expertise but also operations experience or knowledge. So for our Epic Pharmacy module support, we would give priority to hiring someone who was a pharmacist or pharmacy technician before learning the IT. This allows them to better connect with their end-user customers.
We are always looking for cybersecurity talent and have taken the approach of combining hiring from the outside with training from within. We are on the lookout internally for staff who have the aptitude for and interest in cyber, usually from another technical domain like network engineering or desktop support. They have the advantage of knowing our environment, which is a plus for us, and of getting training on a very in-demand skill on our time and money, which is a plus for them.
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