Career Watch: In-demand skills for 2014

Q&A: Rona Borre

The CEO and founder of Instant Technology talks about the skills most in demand in 2014.

What IT skills do you see as being most in demand in 2014? The IT market is constantly evolving, as it's driven by innovation. The talent pool is always striving to keep ahead of the curve as new technologies are adopted by organizations. With more and more applications moving to the Web and mobile, user-experience developers and security engineers are in growing demand. Systems and applications have to be remapped and redesigned for these new platforms, and new security measures have to be put in place to deal with the higher connectivity of the applications.

We're also seeing a change in how we store and analyze data. As a direct result of new forms of data capture, big data is becoming important for more and more companies. Systems like Hadoop make it easier for companies to store data such as images, videos, audio and even geocaching. The analysis of this data opens up new avenues for how companies interact with their customers, and as a result big data professionals will certainly be in increasingly high demand through 2014.

Why are some needed skills in short supply? Technology is playing a bigger role in every organization as more systems and functionalities move to the cloud. As more companies realize that they need these types of professionals, they all have to fish in the same, already-small pool of talent. Several of these technologists have learned that there is a great deal of money to be made as a contractor, which shrinks the pool of available full-time talent even further.

Top-tier, full-time technology talent has always been in high demand, and even through the recession, unemployment numbers stayed well below 1%. As more companies invest more money in bringing A-players in technology into their organization, we can expect that number to continue to dwindle.

What related skills are good building blocks for acquiring these most-wanted skills, and what's the best way to go about acquiring the more in-demand skills? It is critical that technologists continue to expand their skills into the Web arena. Applications and services are making the move to not only the Web space, but also to mobile. Any increase in marketable knowledge in these areas will prove valuable to a professional in technology. Asking to be a part of projects that utilize new technology or even joining professional organizations that work with more up-to-date or cutting-edge technology could help in bolstering a candidate's marketability.

— Jamie Eckle

Forrester Expects a Big Rise in Tech Spending This Year

But the forecast 6.2% uptick won't match the double-digit growth of years gone by.

Forrester Research is forecasting that global technology spending will rise 6.2% in 2014 from 2013, to reach $2.2 trillion. The U.S. share of that total will come to 40%, it said.

If the prediction bears out, it will be an improvement: IT spending grew 1.6% during 2013, according to Forrester analyst Andrew Bartels. Growth will quicken in 2015, rising 8.1%, but will remain "well below the double-digit growth rates of the late 1990s and 2000 era," Bartels said in a a blog post in late December.

Software will account for the largest share of tech spending in 2014, at $568 billion, followed by IT outsourcing at $442 billion, IT consulting and integration services at $421 billion, computer equipment at $416 billion and communications equipment at $373 billion, according to Forrester's report.

Chris Kanaracus, IDG News Service

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