Are IT professionals falling behind? As a recent report from Foote Partners noted, pay among IT professionals has fallen during the recession, even as competition for talent has become more and more fierce. That's counter-intuitive. Falling pay would suggest an overabundance of qualified workers. So why is the right talent so hard to find? And if we're so pressed to find talent, why are we paying IT professional LESS?

The answer can be seen across the entire US economy. As business needs shift and become more sophisticated, whole segments of the workforce tend to fall behind. Their value decreases because they fail to adapt.

In the case of technology, we've recently witnessed rapid changes both in the technologies themselves, as well as the role that they play in almost everything we do. Programming platforms have proliferated and their programmers are expected to do more with them, in more applications, with more people. The IT professional's job is simply more challenging than even a few years ago.

It used to be the case that specific programming skills or certifications would all but guarantee you high-paid work. That is no longer the case. The skills needed to be a successful programmer today encompass far more than just writing code. Business savvy, creative thinking and cutting edge user experience design are what employers need in today's inter-dependent, multi-faceted, constantly-shifting design environment.

Finding these qualities turns out to be extremely difficult - and yet finding the right people is more important now than ever. As Foote Partners writes, "Successful talent acquisition - and by that we mean the search for large numbers of remarkably hard-to-find combinations of skills in a single person - is separating the winners from the losers like at no other time in history."
The more technology and software becomes interwoven with the fabric of every day life and business, the more a custom software design firm must learn and understand considerations outside their employees' silo'd realm of expertise, from why a consumer loves or hates their smartphone, to how new regulation is affecting the health insurance industry, to which marketing strategy is the most appropriate for the financial sector.

The end product of all this upheaval and change is of course a user experience the likes of which few imagined possible a few decades ago. But as users come to expect more from technology, the pressure will only increase on businesses to meet or exceed those expectations. And only by doing so will any business be around to profit from it. Adapt or die.