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Up-and-coming tech jobs (and how to land one)

Ready for your new job as an augmented reality specialist, a VP of virtualization or a customer sleuth? Here's what you need to know.

May 21, 2012 06:00 AM ET

Computerworld - Any study of the IT labor market is likely to find that project managers and business analysts are in demand, but what about cloud transformation officers?

With big data, mobile computing, social media, cloud computing and the consumerization of IT all converging on IT, some new -- and intriguing -- job titles are beginning to emerge.

Computerworld went digging and unearthed a handful of positions you can expect to see popping up more and more -- along with details on what you'll need to land one of them. If current trends prevail, your career could include a stint as a data scientist, an augmented reality specialist or a chief agile officer.

Director of Cloud Transformation

As companies move from the client/server world to one where systems reside in the cloud, they're hiring professionals to oversee the entire strategy, says Al Delattre, global industry lead for technology at Los Angeles recruiting firm Korn/Ferry International.

Whether the position's called director of cloud transformation, vice president of virtualization or cloud transformation officer -- all of those titles are floating out there in enterprise IT -- the job description remains roughly the same: Oversee all the moving parts required to migrate to the cloud, Delattre says.

"This position is like being a conductor of an orchestra. It's a series of 500 projects over seven years. You have to make sure it works and it's sequenced," he says. "No one person is an expert on all of it," which means multiple specialists are often involved -- and that, in turn, spurs some companies to seek out an overseeing director.

Skills required: Delattre likens the move to the cloud to the big ERP projects of past decades. Now, as then, companies are looking to hire people who can show that they're able to plan, control and deliver complex, high-risk projects involving technology that's evolving even as the project is under way. "You've got to have that track record. You want someone who has landed on the moon and returned before," Delattre says.

They're also looking for deep knowledge of the organization's applications. "You have to understand the parts you're working with. You need to understand what's in there now," he says. "You need to know that [someone] might have put in a patch 10 years ago and never documented it."

Finally, they're looking for folks skilled in negotiating with and managing vendors. "There is absolutely a skill requirement around procurement, because so much of this is about procuring services," says Delattre.

Once an organization successfully moves to the cloud, does the job go away? Given the complexity of the task, Delattre says, cloud transition managers can expect to stay busy for at least the next several years, before transitions are complete and the job morphs into one focused on maintenance.

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