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10 hot IT skills for 2013

September 24, 2012 06:00 AM ET

4. Security

27% plan hire for this skill in the next 12 months.

Security has long been a concern of IT leaders, and demand for specialized security professionals is growing as the task of safeguarding systems and data becomes increasingly complex.

Consider the case of Netherlands-based Royal Philips Electronics, which has U.S. headquarters in Andover, Mass.

Cynthia Burkhardt, vice president of talent acquisition, says the company is building its IT security department internationally. It hired a chief information security officer, who is based in the Netherlands, and it's adding four more IT security executives -- two of whom will be based in the U.S. She says the company expects to continue building its IT security team from the top down.

Burkhardt says Royal Philips wants experienced IT security professionals who have business acumen in addition to expertise in deploying firewalls, threat detection tools, encryption technology and other security systems.

5. Business Intelligence/Analytics

26% plan to hire for this skill in the next 12 months.

Big data is one of the top priorities for many companies, but getting the right people to analyze all that information is challenging, says Jerry Luftman, managing director at the Global Institute for IT Management and a leader in the Society for Information Management.

The best candidates have technical know-how, business knowledge and strong statistical and mathematical backgrounds -- an uncommon mix of skills, Luftman says. In fact, some companies are hiring statisticians and teaching them about technology and business.

Joe Fuller, CIO at Dominion Enterprises, a marketing services company in Norfolk, Va., says he anticipates hiring data scientists or data analysts in the future but acknowledges that it will be a challenge.

"We're missing that person who thinks outside the box, who understands the link between this behavior now and this behavior later," Fuller says. "I don't know who to look for there, so I think it's [going to be] a team. I can't imagine finding that in one person."

6. Cloud/SaaS

25% plan to hire for this skill in the next 12 months.

Fuller's staffing plan at Dominion Enterprises is also a case study for skill No. 6, which didn't even crack the top 10 in the 2011 survey: He says the company will need cloud computing experts as it moves beyond its two existing data centers.

"We're going to need a cloud architect who knows how to leverage and how to architect without breaking the bank," he says. "We're going to need to know where we should host it, how to configure it, how to negotiate the [service-level agreements], and to make sure we're backed up properly."

7. Virtualization

24% plan to hire for this skill in the next 12 months.

Jon A. Biskner, assistant vice president of IT at Nicolet National Bank in Green Bay, Wis., says he wants to create a virtualization administrator position.

"It's hard to find someone who is fully skilled in virtualization," Biskner says. "They have to understand the storage and clusters behind the virtual server because before the connection was more physical; now it's more logical." IT professionals talk about virtualization, he adds, but often they don't have a breadth of experience with it.



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