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8 hot IT skills for 2014

September 23, 2013 06:00 AM ET

"Demand is high for skilled developers with three to five years' experience and a service delivery orientation," says Mayer, who is particularly interested in people with object-oriented development experience. Also important is finding people from diverse backgrounds, with diverse ideas and perspectives, she says.

Hospitality giant Hyatt is transitioning from a reliance on third-party service providers and aims to bring more development talent in-house. "We're looking to hire people who embrace agility and speed to move ideas to prototype and production quickly," says Alex Zoghlin, Hyatt's global head of technology.

2. Help desk/technical support


37% of respondents said that they plan to hire for this skill in the next 12 months.
Last year's ranking: No. 3

Help desk/tech support remained near the top of the list, moving up from No. 3 last year. Melland says that's an encouraging sign for the economy and the overall hiring outlook. "Organizations mainly add help desk and tech support when they're adding workers and expanding their technology infrastructure," he says. Also contributing to demand for support technicians is the fact that many companies are bringing the help desk back in-house after outsourcing that function; that's partly a response to the proliferation of mobile devices and company-provided Web services. Because of the complexity of such setups, "it's important for support staff to really understand what the company is doing, which argues for having this function closer to home," Melland says.

After several years of running a lean support function, Wolverine Advanced Materials in Dearborn, Mich., plans to hire a few help desk staffers in response to business growth and a decision to provide ITIL-based service management, says James Bland, network manager at the automotive materials supplier. "There is growth in the company, so we're more confident in hiring," he says.

3. Networking


31% of respondents said that they plan to hire for this skill in the next 12 months.
Last year's ranking: No. 8

Demand for networking skills jumped to No. 3 from eighth place last year. This correlates with the results of a recent survey by IT hiring firm Robert Half Technology, in which 55% of the respondents named network administration as the skill set most in demand, along with database management.

If you expect your IT employee head count to increase, for which types of skills will you be hiring in the next 12 months?
Programming/application development 49%
Help desk/technical support 37%
Networking 31%
Mobile applications and device management 27%
Project management 25%
Database administration 24%
Security 21%
Business intelligence/analytics 18%
Source: Computerworld Forecast survey; base: 221 IT executive respondents; June 2013

The need for wireless connectivity is probably behind the interest in networking professionals, Melland says. "Demand for people with wireless networking experience is up 9% year over year," he says, and the unemployment rate for network and systems administrators is 1.1%.

Charles Whitby, lead network analyst at the Medical Center of Central Georgia, says growing use of wireless medical devices is definitely fueling his workload. In addition to the increased network traffic they produce, those devices require a lot of troubleshooting -- as is the case when, for example, their firmware needs upgrading but it hasn't been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, he says.

Meanwhile, at Wolverine, Bland is looking to offload some networking responsibilities so he can concentrate on more strategic issues.



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