-1B still a hot button"> "Unless the employer is familiar with the school the job candidate attended or the organizations that candidate may have previously worked for, he or she has no independent means of knowing how rigorous the program or experience is. When a job candidate comes to an employer with a degree and recognized and accepted professional certifications, it gives the employer more to go on," Venator said. 5. H-1B Still a Hot ButtonMelland said that there is an increasing amount of pressure by very large companies on Congress to raise the H-1B limits. "The allotted visas for this fiscal year were filled in less than two days, which is a indication of how much U.S.-based companies are trying to grab talent from overseas. This trend is not going to change," Melland said. There are many career paths that lead to CIO. Click here to read more. "While we cant predict what Congress is going to do, it is definitely the case that U.S. companies are feeling the pinch of not being about to bring in the specialized skills they used to be able to. Higher-end R&D is now largely off-shored, because many cant do the development over here anymore," said Melland. Yet, others viewed the H-1B visa program as declining in popularity. Ebner said that the H-1B process is much more expensive than it was a few years ago and that he is not seeing as much of a resurgence there. "I am seeing certain skill sets aggregated to some on-shore/off-shore consulting companies, but we have not needed to go the H1-B route to get talent, there is still enough talent to meet demand, though that pool is shrinking as organizations work to hire talented associates on a full-time basis rather than leverage their skills in a contract scenario," Ebner said. 6. Business Integration In the years since the dot-com boom then bust, there has been a push by IT professionals to get out of the dark rooms at the end of the hall and get involved in the business side of the organization. "More than ever before, IT is integrated into all aspects of business. CIOs are spending less time on damage control and more time on setting strategy for the companys future. With that elevated stature, however, comes greater expectations. Top executives are demanding greater results from their IT investments. IT is being run like a business, with performance measures and return-on-investment metrics," said Venator. Because of this, said Venator, the demand is high for managers who can bring projects in on time, at or under budget, and that deliver the promised benefits valued by the organization. IT professionals will continue to see their positions move into more and more strategic roles in 2007, and the techies with the skills to support this broader role will find themselves with the most opportunities to choose from. "More than ever, companies value employees who can think strategically and communicate effectively, as well as those who possess strong business fundamentals," Venator said. "IT workers who understand how to use technology to meet business goals, and who can articulate this understanding, are golden in the eyes of employers." Finally, IT is in many ways distancing itself from its techie rootswhere working in IT meant speaking in "ones and zeroes" all dayand becoming both the backbone and framework that makes an organization run. "There is a misperception that having a career in IT means working for an IT company. The reality is that better than 90 percent of IT jobs are with employers and industries other than IT," said Venator. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on IT management from CIOInsight.com.
From accusations of discrimination to a demand so strong that a years supply was depleted in but two days, H-1B temporary work visas were contentious and fiercely-debated topic in 2006, and experts expect little change in 2007.