Academic journal article Information Technology and Libraries

What Technology Skills Do Developers Need? A Text Analysis of Job Listings Library and Information Science (LIS) from Jobs.Code4lib.Org

Academic journal article Information Technology and Libraries

What Technology Skills Do Developers Need? A Text Analysis of Job Listings Library and Information Science (LIS) from Jobs.Code4lib.Org

Article excerpt


For those seeking employment in a technology-intensive position within library and information science (LIS), the number and variation of technology skills required can be daunting. The need to understand common technology job requirements is relevant to current students positioning themselves to begin a career within LIS, those currently in the field that wish to enhance their technology skills, and LIS educators. The aim of this short paper is to highlight the skills and combinations of skills currently sought by LIS employers in North America through textual analysis of job listings. Previous research in this area explored job listings through various perspectives, from categorizing titles to interviewing employers; (1,2) the approach taken in this study contributes a new perspective to this ongoing and highly necessary work. This research report seeks a further understanding of the following research questions:

* What are the most common job titles and skills sought in technology-focused LIS positions?

* What technology skills are sought in combination?

* What implications do these findings have for aspiring and current LIS practitioners interested in developer positions?

As detailed in the following research method section, this study addresses these questions through textual analysis of relevant job listings from a novel dataset--the job listings from the Code41ib jobs website f Code4bb began more than a decade ago as an electronic discussion list for topics around the intersection of libraries and technology. (3) Over time, the Code4bb organization expanded to an annual conference in the United States, the Code4Lib Journal, and most relevant to this work, an associated jobs website that highlights jobs culled from both the discussion list and other job-related sources. Figure 1 illustrates the home page of the Code41ib jobs website; the page presents job listings and associated tags, with the tags facilitating navigation and viewing of other related positions. Users may also view positions geographically or by employer.

In addition to the visible user interface for job exploration, the website consists of software to gather the job listings from a variety of sources. The website incorporates jobs posted to the Code41ib discussion list, American Library Association, Canadian Library Association, Australian Library and Information Association, HigherEd Jobs, Digital Koans, Idealist, and ArchivesGig. This broad incoming set of jobs provides a wide look into new technology-related postings.

New job listings are automatically added to a queue to be assessed and tagged by human curators before posting. This allows manual intervention where a curator assesses whether the job is relevant to technology in the library domain and to validate the job listing information and metadata (see figure 2). Curating is done on a volunteer basis, and curators are asked to assess whether the position is relevant to the Code41ib community, if it is unique, and to ensure that it has an associated employer, set of tags, and descriptive text. Combining both software processes and human intervention in the job assessment results in the ability to gather a large number of jobs of high relevance to the Code41ib community. As mentioned earlier, Code41ib's origins are in the area of software development and design as applied in LIS contexts. These foci mean that most jobs identified as relevant for inclusion in the Code41ib jobs dataset are oriented toward developer activities. The Code41ib jobs website therefore provides a useful and novel dataset within which to understand current employment opportunities relating to the intersection between technology--particularly developer work--and the LIS field.


To analyze the job listing data in greater depth, a textual analysis was conducted using the R statistical package, exploring job titles and descriptions. …

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