Storage Managers Valued Amidst Data Explosion

Storage directors are amongst the hottest IT positions, according to analyst research

August 30, 2008

3 Min Read
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Storage may be perceived as one of the least sexy branches of the IT industry, but storage directors are among the hottest roles in technology today, according to new research from analyst firm Forrester.

One of just a handful of management roles on Forresters list, storage directors are clearly benefiting from the current data explosion, and their importance has also been underlined by the recent spate of storage snafus.

"Data and security-oriented roles were the hottest roles in our study, based on a combination of high risk and impact of the roles coupled with scarcity of supply,” explains Forrester analyst Marc Cecere, who wrote the report. “The growth in types and volume of information has been driving roles associated with data or information management.”

Other "hot" IT jobs include desktop virtualization expert, mobile operations and devices expert, service manager, and business process analyst, according to Cecere, although storage execs looking to boost their salaries should start thinking about security.

The two most smoking hot IT roles at the moment are those of information security expert and information/data architect.While many larger firms are looking to outsourcers and consulting firms to fill their IT skills gap, Forrester feels that there are still plenty of opportunities out there for good storage directors and information security specialists.

”While a 500-person IT shop may need hundreds of software developers, for example, they’ll require no more than half a dozen enterprise architects, information security experts or storage directors,” writes Cecere.

The analyst also has some advice for firms looking to get their hands on the top talent. “CIOs need to identify their primary skill gaps; determine which roles they should hire, cultivate, or rent; identify where they can compromise; and develop retention and development strategies for those roles,” he explained. “Many of the hot roles demand breadth, influence without formal power, and knowledge of company culture – rather than hiring these from outside, source roles from within.”

Training and certification are also crucial, according to Cecere.

"[Promoting the best internal candidates] can be done by recruiting from the business functions or units, or through job rotation, training, certifications, and management of individual career paths,” he wrote.There are a number of options available for users looking to boost their storage credentials. Vendor-specific certification programs from companies like EMC and NetApp, for example, offer proof of expertise in designing, administrating, implementing, and supporting these suppliers' specific data storage systems.

Some of the larger vendors also offer certification that encompasses multiple products, though this is a fairly new trend.

In addition, users looking for certifications that are not tied to one company’s products can look to professional organizations like the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), which has a certification program focused on generalized skills, rather than on specific product expertise.

As Forrester’s research suggests, the upper echelons of storage can indeed be a lucrative place to work, and users’ earning power can be boosted by specific qualifications. One study conducted by Certification Magazine late last year, for example, found that storage professionals with certifications saw a substantial average salary bump. According to the respondents, average salaries jumped about 8 percent after certification between 2006 and 2007. Storage managers showed an average salary for 2006 of $68,820; in 2007, those that were certified saw their average salary jump to $74,730.

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  • Forrester Research Inc.

  • Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA)

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