In order to answer these questions, job offers in a German online job portal have been analyzed for 2009, 2012 and 2015. In 2015, freelancer positions were also analyzed and compared. The results of 2009 and 2012 have been published at the REFSQ Conference 2013 . Now, the study has been repeated with data from 2015 and enhanced by the freelancer data.
Definitions of terms used: person, position, role, task
In this study, we define a person to be a natural person with an individual name. When a person is employed in an organization, (s)he is integrated into the hierarchical system which is modeled by the organization´s organigram. The organigram´s leaves are positions which have hierarchical relations with each other. Each position is identified by a job title, and usually specific expectations in terms of responsibilities, tasks and authority (and salary) within the organization are linked to each job title. A position´s definition usually is organization-specific and is described in a job description. It can be used as the basis for a job offer and in the work contract. We have grouped position job titles into position categories which are similar, because a large variety of job titles can be found.
The concept of role describes a set of tasks and responsibilities within a project or business process and skills needed for them, but is usually not identical with the position. While the position is attributed to a person permanently until change of position (e.g. promotion), project roles are attributed to persons dynamically, according to the current need. Several roles can be assigned to one person at the same time, but one person has only one position at a time. Figure 1 describes the metamodel.
In the present study, we analyze job offers which are an official model of how practitioners integrate RE in their organizations and which qualifications they believe to be critical for this task. Ideally, these job advertisements also reflect previous experience, i.e. they demand such qualifications which in the past had been shown to be critical.
The questions listed in the abstract were answered based on such job offers in 2009, and again in 2012 and 2015.
These questions were:
- Q1: What is the job title of the position doing RE?
- Q2a: Which further tasks does this position include?
- Q2b: How many further tasks does this position include?
- Q3: Which qualifications are demanded?
A job advertisement typically has the following parts:
- Job title (used here to answer Q1, classified into categories like “consultant” and “developer”)
- Company presentation (used here to find out the company´s size and the application domain)
- List of tasks (We coded them according the software engineering phases and then counted their number per position, see below at Q2)
- Competencies demanded (also coded according to categories, see at Q3)
- We offer (further information not analyzed here)
- Application process and contact address (not analyzed, but sometimes necessary to find out the company name, size and domain)
The job offers to be analyzed were chosen like this: On the German job portal stepstone.de, within the categories of IT jobs, all offers were read, starting with the newest. The jobs were searched under category “IT”. The sub-categories which the portal offers were changed between the searches. In 2009, the four sub-categories considered were software engineering, application analysis, IT consulting and IT systems analyst. In 2012, the sub-category considered was “Consulting, Engineering”. It seemed that the four sub-categories from 2009 were merged into this one. In 2015, the category was “IT”, without selecting sub-categories.
The search included the countries Germany, Switzerland and Austria, all application domains, and all types of jobs (permanent job, temporary appointment, etc.; only internships were excluded). Those offers, which in the task description contained activities related to RE, were included in the further analysis. We defined RE to include the activities of “elicitation, documentation, validation/negotiation plus the management of requirements” . However, RE is rarely called RE in all job offers, but can have many names.
The most frequent keywords that were found to be an indicator of RE tasks were: customer requirements, process modeling, problem analysis, functional specification, clarification of requirements with customers, analysis of business processes, communication of requirements to the development team. However, the following activities were considered not to be part of RE: making decisions about requirements, technical specification, solution design (e.g. security concepts, database designs), solution development, software customizing, consulting in the meaning of selling the company´s specific product, process improvement.
Table 1 lists how many job offers were analyzed in each year to find out those which contain RE tasks. In the second row, it describes how many of these contained RE tasks and in the third row which percentage of all job offers analyzed this is. Only those offers containing RE tasks have been included in the following analysis.
|Number of job offers analyzed||1378||589||800||500|
|Number of job offers related to RE||141||67||149||46|
|Job offers related to RE||10.2 %||11.4 %||19.6 %||9.2 %|