Recruiting Insight: Key IT Positions

By Christie Summervill

Recruiting Insight: Key IT Positions

Information Technology (IT) positions are some of the most difficult to recruit for, regardless of industry. In the financial services sector, online banking, customized app development, cloud computing technology, and hybrid/shared workspaces have made IT professionals more essential than ever before. In fact, according to the Department of Labor, “Employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 13% from 2020 to 2030, almost twice as fast as the average for all occupations.” This means that banks and credit unions will continue to compete for the same highly-competitive IT positions as the market at large.

Due to the highly technical nature of the work of IT professionals, it can be difficult for any HR professional to know how to recruit and retain IT talent or feel confident that they are assessing candidates properly. We recently experienced this as we were looking to hire an additional Senior Software Developer for our web applications team. We were surprised to find how nuanced the credentials and qualifications were for this position and how we really needed a moderate understanding of the role to ascertain what determined our final candidate list. In the end, we were able to hire the perfect candidate for our company, but we learned some important lessons along the way that will save you time and money when you are hiring for your key IT roles. 


Know the role you are hiring

As mentioned before, IT positions are in high demand, but the individual roles and responsibilities can differ. For this reason, it is important that you understand the skill-set distinction of what you are hiring for. For example:

  • Does your organization develop proprietary software?
  • Are you concerned about cybersecurity for your organization and customers?
  • Do you need to hire someone with experience in hardware and software purchasing and deployment?
  • Are you looking for a project manager who will manage some of the sub-tasks of the IT department? 
  • Are you searching for a Computer Network Engineer who designs and connects data networks, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and Intranets?
  • How much do you want to outsource? Do you have the internal talent to manage those vendor relationships?

Having some knowledge of the specific position you are hiring for can drastically reduce your chances of hiring too broadly or looking like you don’t know what questions to ask. Our best advice is this: If you have a CIO within your financial institution or an IT department already, go ahead and interview the IT manager or CIO and ask them what skills they are looking for in a candidate. What questions should you ask or look for in the recruiting process, and what “tech jargon” should you use or avoid to ensure that you gather quality leads? 


Don’t hire based on a title

“Title inflation” can be something that can get you led astray from finding the right candidate at the right compensation level. Are a Computer Systems Analyst a grade higher than a Computer Support Specialist? We recently saw a request from a client for a nonexempt job grade for “Help Desk Engineer.” That was pure title inflation and not representative of that person’s actual responsibilities. It can be difficult for HR to grasp the specific skill set required and, therefore, easier for managers to suggest hyper-inflated job titles.

The following are a few key IT jobs that are difficult to recruit for and to retain. We will look at each of these roles individually and determine some must-have skills and how to best grade these positions. 


Project Coordinator vs. Project Manager

Most IT jobs today are team-oriented and require cross-disciplinary skills to manage effectively. For that reason, a Project Coordinator may be needed or a Project Manager who can field incoming IT conversations, communicate with other professional teams internally or externally and is more likely to have frequent executive-level dialogues and manage timelines and budgets for assigned projects. What are the key differences between hiring a Project Coordinator versus a Project Manager? 

A Project Coordinator handles more administrative tasks and calendars to keep the project running smoothly. They do not carry a lot of authority other than to notify stakeholders of what is due. A Project Coordinator may be helpful in a financial institution if the IT department is multi-tiered or requires additional levels of administrative help. Here are some of the protocols related to a Project Coordinator position:

  • Grade 8 or 9
  • 3-5 years of experience, preferably in your company, so that they have a working knowledge of your systems and culture 
  • Candidates would preferably have an Associate’s Degree due to their responsibility for writing and communicating with mid-level and senior-level management
  • Responsible for keeping confidential information confidential
  • Needs to work autonomously 
  • Should be familiar with modern internet project management software with Waterfall or Kanban task management
  • Potential for error is moderate 
  • Expected pay range: $45,000-$65,000

A Project Manager role is more complex than a Project Coordinator and requires more knowledge, experience, education, and detail-oriented work. Here are some of the related skills and responsibilities for this role:

  • Grade 11-13 (generally)
  • 5+ years of experience
  • Requires a Bachelor’s degree for higher-level decision making and greater writing, presenting, and communication skills for senior and executive-level management
  • A Professional Project Management (PPM) certification would be valued. Some institutions have project management as a core competency when hiring for this position
  • Managerial projects may have multiple stakeholders and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars
  • Potential for error is of great significance to the organization
  • Expected pay range: $75,000-$125,000

Additional IT Department roles

The Information Security Officer (ISO) is responsible for developing and implementing an information security program that includes procedures and policies designed to protect enterprise communications, systems, and assets from both internal and external threats. With a greater emphasis on cybersecurity for financial institutions, this position is important to the infrastructure of your IT department. Here are some of the qualifications and responsibilities of an ISO:

  • Grade 14-16*
  • Requires a Bachelor’s degree, preferably in Computer Science or a technology-related field. Additionally, a CCISO or CISA certification is often required
  • Solid knowledge of various information security frameworks 
  • Identifies vulnerabilities in current network and offers solutions
  • Keeping up to date with developments in IT security standards and threats
  • Collaborating with management inside and outside the department to ensure and improve network security
  • Documenting security breaches and assessing their damage to the institution
  • Expected pay range: $116,0000-$175,000

 *Once the organization has over $1 billion in assets, there will typically be a need for an Information Security Analyst with a grade range between 9-12


Software Developers – Three Levels

Depending on the organization’s needs, you may need to hire a software developer or several levels of software developers. At BalancedComp, we have four dedicated and full-time software developers who work on our bevy of web applications as well as administering and developing the software we use to collect data for our annual Salary & Incentive Survey. In a similar application, a Software Developer may be used by a bank or credit union to provide solutions for users’ problems, as we are seeing more financial institutions develop proprietary applications and not just middle-ware that allows for different applications to communicate. 

Software Developer I

  • Grade 10
  • Candidates would preferably have a Bachelor’s degree, preferably in Computer Science, Engineering, or a related field, or they may have recently completed a full-time book camp that required 6-months of full-time work. Sometimes, this level of developer uses SQL to query various databases to create customized reports
  • Knowledge of coding languages (C++,.NET, and entry-level JavaScript) as well as frameworks/systems (Angular JS, Git)
  • Ability to integrate third-party programs and software components
  • Solid knowledge of various information security frameworks 
  • Ability to produce clean, efficient code based on specifications
  • Strong communication skills and attention to detail
  • Expected pay range: $55,000-$65,000*

*Software Developers do not have to move in order to work remotely for higher-paying markets. Varies depending on your market

Software Developer II

  • Grade 11 or 12
  • Requires a Bachelor’s degree, preferably in Computer Science, Engineering, or a related field
  • Knowledge of coding languages (C++, JavaScript) and frameworks/systems (Angular JS, Git)
  • Familiarity with Agile development methodologies
  • Solid knowledge of various information security frameworks 
  • Ability to produce clean, efficient code in a couple of different languages based on specifications
  • Collaborating with management, departments, and customers to identify end-user requirements and specifications
  • Compiling and assessing user feedback to improve software performance
  • Developing technical documentation to guide future software development projects 
  • Expected pay range: $75,000-$92,000

Software Developer III or Senior Software Developer 

  • Grade 13-14
  • Requires a Bachelor’s degree, preferably in Computer Science, Engineering, or a related field
  • Managerial experience preferred
  • Good project management and interpersonal skills
  • Previous experience as a software developer/programmer
  • Advanced knowledge of programming languages, including JavaScript, HTML5, C++, Java, SQL, and PHP. 
  • PHP and other programming languages are useful as developers continue to hone their skills. With this additional skill set, these developers can adapt to any programming language you are using. 
  • Some developers may be particular about what code they prefer to write and may not be as enthusiastic about being asked to write code for an older language like Cobol
  • Experience with creating and maintaining databases
  • Expected pay range: $130,000-$200,000

Speak IT to Hire for IT

In conclusion, it is easy to see how important it is for you to discern the qualifications and credentials necessary for hiring a particular job within an IT department for your organization. Even the most knowledgeable and skilled HR recruiter can benefit from speaking directly with the hiring manager and the staff within the department to determine what skill set is needed for your bank or credit union. We hope that you find this information helpful and that it will give you some key insights into your hiring process.

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