Contractors see vast opportunity working in the IT infrastructure space
This article originally appeared in Smart Business Magazine
As technology continues to evolve, there is a growing need for qualified individuals who can help businesses build and manage their IT infrastructure, says Grant A. Derner, Executive Vice President at Lehigh Technical. The challenge is matching the right people with the right skills with a growing need across the country.
“We tend to think of the IT industry focusing on the coasts and within cities,” Derner says. “But when you drive down any highway, look to your left or to your right and you see a building. That building has IT needs inside of it, infrastructure that needs to be installed, maintained, changed and/or upgraded. As more and more companies continue to invest in new technologies, the demand is only going to go up. Getting qualified workers into the space is a priority, but with the current shortage, there is also a challenge.”
To meet this challenge, companies are increasingly turning to the contract recruiting industry for help.
“Contracting companies that focus on that particular niche can identify individuals with the needed skill set,” Derner says. “This eliminates the challenge of recruiting for the business and enables these companies to maintain flexibility in their hiring which can provide a cost savings and also free up budgets to focus on other areas of potential growth.”
Smart Business spoke with Derner about the usage of contingent staffing for IT infrastructure work.
What is IT infrastructure?
When most people think of IT, they think of people programming software. But there is a whole wired infrastructure in every business that continuously needs to be monitored. This includes the company’s entire collection of hardware, software, networks and data centers. When you go beyond that, the equipment that is used to develop, test, operate and manage all of that is a wide, very broad spectrum. Everything that you look at and touch has some piece of infrastructure related to it.
How difficult is it for someone outside the company to step in and do this work?
This type of work is very task-specific and well defined — here is the project, here are the number of installs or moves you need to complete. The job for the contracting company is to go out and find somebody who specifically understands that task or has done it in the past. When it’s done right, the contractor can hit the ground running on day two. Day one is more like orientation to go over the outlay of the project and any special instructions for that location. Day two, it’s time to get to work. It’s actually easier work than would face a full-time IT person who has to wear multiple hats in the organization.
What is the key to success for working with a contractor recruiter?
If you work with a contracting company that is trying to be all things to all people, it’s going to be more difficult for that company to provide someone with the specific expertise you are looking for. You want to find a company that has the processes and talent to understand the intrinsic differences related to the contract and the skill to make a match with the right contractor.
How do people working in this space keep up with the latest technological advances?
Contractors that work in this space tend to look at what’s hot and then go out and obtain certificates or additional training that gives them skills they can put to use right away. If you’re an IT contractor, you can demonstrate, ‘I received this training and now I’m doing that work.’ There are a lot of growth opportunities as infrastructure needs continue to change.
In a lot of cases, the growth of knowledge stems from a desire to learn. If you’re in this field, you’re likely very interested in managing databases or ensuring that a configuration is set up properly or upgrading a server. You are always working to stay ahead of the curve. As a contractor who works in the contingent staffing industry, you don’t have to go out on your own in search of new opportunities. You can work with the staffing provider to find opportunities where your expertise is needed and focus on doing that work rather than trying to simultaneously manage your own business.