Manager And Programmer Ratios In IT Shops
April 28, 2014 Timothy Prickett Morgan
How many IT managers does it take to screw in a light bulb? Hopefully not more than one at most IBM i shops, and in many cases the IT manager does double-duty as a system administrator and sometimes triple-duty as a programmer at IBM i shops. That is the great thing about the IBM i platform: It takes very few people to get a lot of application work done, making it a perfect platform for small and medium businesses who wanted to be experts in their businesses, not in hardware and systems software.
That doesn’t mean there are not big IBM i shops with layers of management and employees performing all manner of tasks. Computer Economics has released some reports recently that show the ratios of IT managers and programmers relative to the entire IT staff, and we point this out to give you a sense of where you stand compared to your peers averaged across various company sizes and platform types.
Here is how the programmers have stacked up over the past five years:
As you can see, there is not a lot of variation from year to year, with programmers making up a little more than a fifth of the IT staff.
“As organizations make more use of commercial software, reduce reliance on mainframes, rely on software as a service, or engage in outsourcing, they have less need of programmers,” Computer Economics explains in its Application Programmer Staffing Ratios study. However, over the past few years, application development and maintenance positions have been holding steady in the post-recession era as organizations renew spending on capital projects and investment in mobile and enterprise applications.
By the way, when Computer Economics says “application programmer,” it means not just application programmers but also systems analysts, software engineers, application architects, and other personnel who have programming skills and who are involved in application development and maintenance.
Here is how the IT manager count looks:
So management is something on the order of 10 percent of the IT staff. Or, said another way, for every application programmer at a company, there is one IT manager, according to the IT Management Staffing Ratios study.
This begs a few questions for me. First, what on earth is the rest of the IT staff doing? There must be a lot of database administrators, network administrators, and heaven only knows what else in the IT world at large if these ratios from Computer Economics are correct. Second, does using the IBM i platform mean you don’t need as many people as these shops? We are always told this is true, and as I have said for decades now, IBM should work with companies like Computer Economics to actually quantify the effect of automation and integration on reducing the headcount in the IT department for the IBM i platform and make this part of the sales pitch.