IT experts are in high demand

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With the finance industry increasing its pace, continual technology advancements and the race to avoid commoditisation has resulted in heavier technology investment by financial services companies.

IT professionals who can execute these strategies are in high demand. Brad Capper, from search firm VTR Consulting, says there is currently strong demand in Sydney and Melbourne for developers, architects, network engineers, business analysts, project managers, and testers.

Project managers, with relevant experience in a financial services company, can expect a base salary of at least $100,000 with bonuses up to 20%. Developers can earn packages of between $60,000 and $95,000, again depending on experience levels. Architects can earn a base salary of between $80,000-120,000. Network engineers can earn packages up to $100,000. Test managers can also expect base salaries of $100,000 and bonuses on top of this, with the level depending on experience and the company, says Capper.

Jobs in IT departments of investment banks tend to fall into one of four categories: development, business analysis, project management and technical support.

IT developers are responsible for writing the computer programmes that help the bank do everything from pricing and booking trades to calculating risk. While developers write the programmes, business analysts look at the way technology is used in the bank and analyse the opportunities for making it work better. Business analysts help identify the potential for making changes to a bank's technology systems.

Once big changes are underway, the responsibility for managing them often passes to the project managers, who plan, structure and deliver IT projects. If IT development work is outsourced, project managers liaise with third party providers to ensure the work is completed correctly and within the right timeframe.

Technical support staff require sharp technical skills and thick skin to handle not only the technology problems but also irate banking staff when things go wrong. It's up to technical support staff to identify and resolve glitches big and small as soon as possible.

As well as improving local operations, the degree of outsourcing by large financial services players has created another employment opportunity for people who can manage such transitions to offshore countries.

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