A “perfect storm” of change in information technology -- including cloud, social, mobile and big data -- is helping to remold the opportunities for information professionals. That’s one of the key findings in a new white paper from AIIM, which paints a picture of a fast-moving industry in which practitioners have to run to keep up.

The report, titled "Career Development for Information Professionals" and sponsored by Oracle, found that businesses are changing faster than IT experience can keep pace with, and the ideal information professional is one who has an understanding of the business, as well as of cloud computing, social media and big data analytics.

The value from those booming areas has led to the increasing value of information professionals, the report said, and is based on those individuals’ ability to improve business processes, customer engagement and employee collaboration. 

Permanent Change

Nearly 70 years old, AIIM is a global non-profit organization that offers research, education and certification programs to information professionals. The white paper noted that it did not define “information professionals,” but found that a large number of respondents self-defined themselves with that term.

The role of information professional is seen by many of the respondents as half-way between technical specialist and business generalist. Thirty percent of those surveyed consider themselves to be information professionals.

With change a permanent part of their work life, information professionals expect to continually re-tool their skills. Forty percent are expecting technological changes within the next 3 to 4 years, while 17 percent expect to change departments, careers, or to retire.

Mobile, Paper-Free Processes

The biggest current technological impacts on respondents’ organizations are mobile technologies and paper-free processes, with nearly 40 percent saying that mobile technologies and devices are having a “dramatic effect.” The next greatest impacts, respondents said, are being caused by increasing regulation and big data.

Recruiters said that certifications are a better indicator of up-to-date competence in these areas because of the fast-moving knowledge base required. Certification is the most popular step being taken by the respondents to improve skills, followed by independent external training and product vendor-supplied training. Only 27 percent admitted that they were taking no proactive skill-building training. AIIM is a leading provider of training for information professionals.

The biggest change in opportunities is the businesses’ need for more information/data analysts, information architects, project managers and business analysts. The skills that managers are finding hardest to find are taxonomy and metadata design, information architecture and standards compliance and governance.

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US$ 80K Median

The roles least likely to increase were support positions for desktop applications and IT infrastructure, while imaging and capture, and database management, were the least difficult to find.

The median salary of the information professionals who responded to the report’s survey is US$ 80,000, and the average is US$ 81,700. This is 3 percent higher in North America than in Europe, and 38 percent higher than elsewhere in the world.

AIIM recommends that technically-trained individuals looking to evolve themselves into information professionals should stay aware of changes in the IT landscape, recognize that salary and career prospects reflect current value to the organization, and keep skills and certifications up to date.

The white paper was based on a survey taken in September and October via a Web-based tool, with 790 responses from the AIIM community and elsewhere. The responses resulted from email invitations sent to a selection of AIIM’s 70,000 registered individuals.