Growing Your IT Team: Who to Hire & When

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Rafael Timbó
By
Rafael Timbó
|
Chief Technology Officer
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Table of Contents

An organization's mission, goals, resources, and timelines vary widely, having a significant impact on the roles and structure of its IT team. They must align their IT team composition with their goals and available resources, which takes careful thought and planning.
Published on
April 2, 2024
Updated on
April 11, 2024

Today's business world revolves largely around efficient IT operations. Having a well-oiled digital infrastructure is vital if organizations hope to achieve their business goals. Even small intervals of system downtime often create significant disruptions and prove highly costly, making it essential that IT teams keep their business operations up and running. For companies whose services involve IT processes, a high-performing IT team will maintain their operations and drive company value for themselves and their clients.

This comprehensive guide examines the different roles in IT that companies may need to fill and offers guidance on which ones to prioritize. Additionally, the article provides a brief overview of the various types of IT teams and a few strategies to apply for business configuration. 

Types of Information Technology Teams

Before deciding which roles to bring onto an IT team, hiring teams must understand which organizational structure best fits their company. The exact number and nature of development team structures exceed the scope of this article, but a few of the most essential IT team types are:

  • Operations teams: Often the most foundational to a company's IT success, operations teams exist to uphold and maintain the IT systems, networks, databases, and other infrastructural components that businesses depend upon every day.
  • Project teams: Often the most temporary IT team type, these exist to implement changes, such as launching a new release or integrating a new tool into a company's stack.
  • Support teams: An IT support team often serves as a hybrid between operations teams and project teams. They exist to tackle a wide range of one-off challenges or projects repeatedly over an extended period through focused technical support.
  • Process teams: These exist to manage or serve specific business-related IT components to facilitate the accurate execution of a given business process. These are sometimes also known as business-support teams and are often the most specialized.

Organizations often categorize IT team structure according to the degree of interdisciplinary involvement (ITSM, matrix teams, or hybrid teams), methods of governance (Project Management Offices or Centers of Excellence), and even by location (virtual/remote or geographically-based). The key is structuring IT roles and responsibilities to fit a business's mission, goals, resources, and timelines.

Prioritizing Roles in IT Team Building

Most companies have a finite amount of time and resources to devote to building tech and IT teams. Prioritize which IT roles to hire first and continue developing as you go. That sometimes means postponing hiring a new position until meeting more pressing needs. Still, the result will be a strategically aligned team that keeps critical operations running at every growth phase.

Chief Information Officer

Without exemplary leadership, IT teams will likely struggle to provide much value. The chief information officer (CIO) is one of the most critical IT manager roles. They're responsible for developing an IT team's vision and mission. They also must find new ways to drive tech-centric value throughout the IT lifecycle, making them an indispensable asset for any team.

However, the role of the CIO has changed significantly over the years. Once thought to be such a dead end that the running joke was that it actually stood for "career is over," CIOs are now highly influential within an organization, but you'll often find them in the trenches with the rest of the team.

Rather than purely delegating responsibility, CIOs in some organizations actively participate in project meetings and collaborate with other IT management roles. They are also responsible for overseeing the direction of a project and the technology team's broader vision and mission, so they must have excellent project management skills, too. From a soft skills standpoint, that includes possessing solid interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence.

Directors

While CIOs are responsible for pioneering a technical team's long-term mission and vision, IT directors have a more hands-on and technology-specific role. Often second in command to the CIO, the IT director must oversee their team's technological infrastructure to ensure it can satisfy the goals and requirements of the organization as a whole. If it doesn't, they must find a way to make it measure up. That may entail:

  • Creating and evaluating reasonable metrics to assess the performance of their stack
  • Improving their organization's security posture by spotting security vulnerabilities and mitigating the likelihood of an attack
  • Identifying a need for new technologies, best practices, and methodologies before overseeing their implementation
  • Performing project management oversight, as well as administrative tasks such as IT budgeting, scheduling, and planning out IT department agendas
  • Strategizing to create practical IT short-term and long-term goals

While they play a similar role as CIOs, IT director roles are more technically inclined and pertain to the IT team's technical operations.

Managers

Journeying further down the leadership funnel, IT managers take an even more granular leadership role within their technology teams. While IT directors oversee the organization's large-scale technical infrastructure components, IT managers supervise the day-to-day operations within the IT director's frameworks. Some of the duties comprised by the IT manager role are:

  • Scheduling and supervising specific IT projects such as launches, releases, and sprints
  • Recommending and writing best practices for given workflows before facilitating their implementation
  • Conveying the policies and vision statements from the CIO and IT director
  • Overseeing day-to-day IT team processes
  • Ensuring all team members are on the same page

It's important to note that some of an IT manager's duties closely resemble the IT director's. That's because the two work closely together to bring about the technical advancements that will realize the vision laid forth by the CIO. IT directors, however, conduct their duties on a macro-scale, while IT managers focus more on the specifics.

Engineers

Once IT leaders are in place, engineers with technical expertise are needed to convert digital infrastructure from vision into reality.

Engineers within the tech industry have many titles and play several roles depending on organizational structure. Their fundamental job description entails using their knowledge of computer programming to develop and maintain the components of an IT environment. They may do this at the software, network, or database level. Whatever their exact niche may be, some typical duties of the average tech engineer include:

  • Designing new systems that possess innovative, high-performing software functionalities
  • Creating documentation to educate internal and external users on the products they help build
  • Maintaining and troubleshooting existing system components
  • Implementing new system components (computer systems, networks, databases, operating systems, etc.)
  • Overseeing network administration, automation, data center, and cloud computing operations to make sure they're running effectively
  • Assisting IT managers as they streamline their existing tech stack

Because engineers have diverse skill sets, it's important to find one whose specialties align with an organization's needs. Using a skills assessment goes a long way toward that end, as does consulting a talent-sourcing marketplace to assist organizations with their search.

Security Experts

Engineers help create the infrastructure behind an IT environment, but that won't matter if the components of a stack are vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Today's threat landscape is evolving faster than ever. With so many assets at stake, cybersecurity experts have become essential to any IT team.

Cybersecurity professionals are responsible for keeping the IT environment safe from attack. That may entail:

  • Identifying vulnerabilities
  • Following and implementing industry standards and best practices
  • Remediating current security incidents
  • Reporting the incident to the necessary stakeholders
  • Preparing for future attacks

However, Not all organizations can hire an in-house cybersecurity team, so it may be necessary to consult a third-party provider. Talent marketplaces such as Revelo match companies with developers with cybersecurity industry skills, helping them grow their internal teams.

Analysts

Unlike IT manager roles, which possess a general level of expertise on multiple topics, analysts tend to be more specialized and are more likely to have a more nuanced role. Like engineers, many different types of analysts exist, so the choice depends on an organization's needs. Some common analyst sub-disciplines are:

  • Financial analysts
  • Business analysts
  • Data analysts
  • Quality assurance analysts
  • Predictive analysts
  • Behavioral analysts
  • Quantitative analysts

An analyst’s role within an IT team is less concerned with generating the components powering the infrastructure and more with leveraging their tools to dig into raw data and find actionable insights.

Developers

Developers also play a critical role within an IT team, but their functionality lies between an engineer and an analyst. On the one hand, they resemble engineers in that they may be responsible for creating the components within an IT environment, making them an integral part of the IT infrastructure team. On the other hand, they are often more specialized, like analysts, working primarily with specific tools or programming languages.

Some common developer types are:

  • Front-end developers: Often familiar with web-development languages such as CSS and HTML, these specialists work with forward-facing components of a stack, such as websites and apps.
  • Back-end developers: Typically handling the internal components that power websites and apps, back-end developers dedicate their time to optimizing the components of a stack that users never see.
  • Full-stack developers: Proficient with both front-end and back-end software development, these end-to-end specialists address the full development workflow.

Organizations may also group developers according to the tool type or programming language they're most comfortable with. Be sure to hire developers who work on the side of the stack that’s needed and are proficient with established team tools.

Which IT Roles Should You Hire for First?

Knowing which IT roles to prioritize is often challenging with so many organizational business needs. Businesses lacking infinite resources must triage their IT needs and strategically consider which positions should be brought on board first.

The exact order of priorities will vary based on the needs, mission, resources, and operations of a business, but some general guidelines are:

  • Leadership first: An IT team won't succeed without the right leaders, so prioritize filling leadership vacancies first. A top priority should be having a CIO who vision-casts and drives value through IT operations. After that, prioritize hiring IT directors and managers who can execute the CIO's vision.
  • Structure second: Software engineers of all niches are responsible for creating the frameworks and infrastructures an organization relies on. Since nothing happens without them, engineers should be a high priority.
  • Security third (or second): An inadequate security posture may disable an entire organization, so having some cybersecurity structure in place is vital. In an era of SecDevOps in which security is shifted left and baked into each layer of development, it may be prioritized at the same level as structure.
  • Specialties last: Analysts and developers drive value and create the insights and tools a company needs to profit. That makes them essential for their IT services, but their specialized niche means that you may need to fill more foundational vacancies first.

As with other teams within a business, leadership must often build from the ground up. That means putting suitable leadership structures in place, finding engineers to build the infrastructure for an environment to function while prioritizing security, and then bringing in specialists to work from those platforms and drive business value. 

Factors To Consider When Hiring IT Teams

With these considerations in place, building an IT team may seem straightforward — though there are several other components to address. Companies must analyze a wide variety of factors when growing their IT teams, including:

  • Skillset: Organizations must evaluate their IT candidates based on their proficiency with certain tools, systems, or languages through certifications or skill training.
  • Development method: Certain teams have different development methods — Agile, Scrum, standard, or other — so their new hires must be able to function within those environments.
  • Location: Virtual, hybrid, or in-office are all commonplace working environments nowadays, so leaders must choose candidates based on their location as well as their skills.
  • Scale: The company's current and future workload may dictate which positions they hire for now to complete their day-to-day operations.
  • Urgency: If a company has a glaring IT hole, that may dictate their current hiring decisions.

Another critical factor for many organizations to consider is cost. With limited resources available, companies naturally look to hire the top tech talent available as quickly as possible, all while reducing hiring costs. Talent marketplaces such as Revelo are excellent places to find premium tech talent at a reasonable rate, satisfying their need for acquisition at an affordable price.

Grow Your IT Team With Revelo

Growing your IT team takes careful thought and planning, but you don't have to go it alone. Revelo's talent marketplace exists to help you build an IT team that aligns with the rest of your business so we can match you with a wide array of IT professionals to form the team you need.

Whether it's specialists like engineers, developers, analysts, or generalists, such as managers and directors, our talent pool is drawn from the leading tech talent across Central and South America. They've been rigorously vetted to possess the hard and soft skills your IT team requires, including English proficiency, and we also offer end-to-end administrative assistance to maximize your new employee's engagement. 

We provide payroll, benefits administration, and other HR-related services, including ensuring local compliance, so hire top talent today to form the IT team your company needs.

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