Although some reports say overall growth projections for IT budgets will decrease in 2016, there’s still a demand for IT managers who specialize in areas such as data breach prevention and Web programming.
In a survey of 500 IT leaders, 2 in 5 expect to make additions to their teams in 2016, according to an October 2015 poll by IT talent management firm TEKsystems.
We spoke with experts in the field to identify the hottest skills CIOs are looking for in new hires.
1. Application development
Software developers are the most challenging roles to hire and retain, mostly because the demand is so high, according to Dice, an IT careers website.
“The best software professionals want to be leading creative and innovative projects,” said Bob Melk, president of Dice. “Hiring managers as well as ongoing managers will need to ensure that these opportunities are available to developers.”
Programmers and developers were also the IT roles most critical to setting an organization up for success, according to TEKsystems.
“Everyone is looking at ways to make their website more easy to use with better user experience, and that’s not only for external clients but internal facing as well,” said John Reed, senior executive director of IT staffing company Robert Half Technology.
As a result, web developers need to be proficient in Java API for XML Web Services (JAX-WS), ColdFusion and HTML, Reed said.
Java professionals came in second on Dice’s list of the “most challenging talent to hire.” Java is still considered among the most popular programming languages and is particularly used for mobile application development on Android, but developers are learning other languages first for their personal projects, such as Python and C++, making Java professionals hard to find.
However, more IT professionals will need to learn Java to connect sensors to the Internet as part of the Internet of Things.
Meanwhile, freelance job-posting site Upwork listed proficiency in PHP, a server-side scripting language, as a most in-demand skill for Web developers.
“Development is always going to be a hot skill set,” noted Lynnsey Wimmer, ?sales manager of IT at Addison Group, a human resource consulting firm based in Houston. “We’re seeing increasing demands for people with scripting tools.”
In addition to mobile and Web development, there’s also a need for a blend of user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) skills, Reed said.
“UX developers are enhancing or beautifying the user experience to make a company’s website or mobile application stand out,” added Jayson Hayman, research manager for TEKsystems.
With retail Web sales increasing sales by more than double that of physical stores this past holiday season, e-commerce is one area in which mobile and Web development skills are in demand.
In online shopping, “I think the focus is on enhancing their web presence and their ability to capture more clients’ search and the ability to serve up products and services to define what you need,” Reed said.
As companies fight off hackers and data breaches, cybersecurity experts are more in demand than ever.
“There’s not enough individuals on the market place to fill all the security needs, Wimmer said. “There always seems to be new things to keep up with from a compliance point but also an intrusion protection point. That’s not where companies want to save money.”
Security compliance knowledge is in high demand in the health care industry, in which compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is essential. In finance, security professionals must have knowledge of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, passed in 2002 to protect shareholders and the public from accounting errors and fraud.
Security ranked third on Dice’s list of the most difficult roles to fill. In the company’s job postings, listings for security engineer positions have increased by 22 percent, and network security postings have increased by 19 percent.
For people in the network security and cybersecurity space, a certificate in security is preferred. Also important for security are authentication, firewall administration and encryption technology, Reed said.
Given the number of students using tablets and laptops, there’s a greater need for schools to secure mobile devices. Schools will need to hire personnel that can implement a mobile device management strategy to accommodate the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend.
IT managers need to be able to push out applications onto mobile devices to students to keep devices as secure as possible, Reed said.
Different organizations have different needs when it comes to security. For example, in Houston, where there are a large number of oil and gas companies, there’s a demand for IT workers who specialize in intrusion detection and prevention. There are lots of different access points for managing data on drilling wells and locations for oil pipelines, Wimmer said.
3. Big data analytics
Big data analytics continues to be a hot area in IT for hiring, and data scientists are in demand.
“As more businesses look to build out their tech infrastructures, employers need solutions to securely store, manage and process large sets of data,” Melk said.
“Especially in the BI [business intelligence] space, we’re looking for people who have a strong background in technology, a computer degree, a lot of background in database queries, procedure writing, what you’d typically find in those analytical roles,” Reed said.
BI involves using data to find potential value for a business.
“It’s one thing to capture the data and put it together, but it’s something else to interpret it and create solutions or recommendations that solve a business need or identify a potential opportunity for the business,” Hayman said. “And that’s where the data scientist comes in and has the ability to extrapolate all the value for all this data the business collects.”
One area in particular with demand for big data analytics skills is the financial industry as companies adopt predictive analytics to determine financial risk.
4. Cloud computing
Spending on public cloud services will increase to more than $127 billion by 2018, according to IDC.
“Two or three years ago everybody was talking about cloud like it was much more hype than reality,” Reed said. “It’s much more the mainstream now, and companies are looking at ways to leverage the benefit of cloud computing.”
For cloud computing, companies need Java and .NET framework skills as well as experience with virtualization, Reed said.
“People are looking for individuals who can build a road map of what applications you can move to the cloud to understand what applications will be used,” Reed said.
One cloud application that will be important is enterprise resource planning (ERP) efficiency, as needed by utility companies, Wimmer said.
Utility companies have plant maintenance modules to track which products are going in and going out, she said.
5. Network engineering
Network engineering is one skill that is a foundation for others, such as cloud integration and security.
In fact, salaries for wireless networking engineers have increased by almost 10 percent, according to Hayman.
In addition, networking engineers must be proficient in software-defined networking controllers and OpenFlow, a protocol that enables network controllers to map the path of network packets across a network of switches.
“Network engineers is a big one,” Hayman said. “It’s not always the sexiest or the fanciest, but we’ve seen a huge demand for those types of skill sets to provide the backbone on which a lot of the other technologies are built.”
Hiring key tech personnel in areas such as network engineering, cloud and big data are a top priority for companies.
Tech professionals “who understand business goals and strategic priorities are more than employees,” Melk said. “They’re partners in achieving success.”
Source: Power More Business