The 10 best IT jobs right now

IT professionals looking to find new employment or upgrade their current positions should investigate job opportunities that address growing demand for technologies such as virtualization, cloud, network security and social computing skills.

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Industry watchers report that while an economic recovery won't guarantee that IT jobs return to pre-recession levels, increased interest in emerging and existing technologies will drive internal training and external hiring decisions.

"IT staffing got hit in 2009, but it didn't get decimated they way it did back in 2002. Companies were renegotiating contracts, freezing salaries and delaying projects, so this year we won't see a flood of IT employment back," says Mark McDonald, group vice president and head of research, Gartner Executive Programs. "But we will see a skills shift from IT personnel that operates only in the old, slow expensive ways to IT pros that can adopt agile methods. There will continue to be opportunities in analytics, for people who understand lean IT, Six Sigma, business processes and improvements -- it's going to be about information, connectivity and collaboration."

Here we examine 10 IT job titles that could gain traction in 2010 as new technology demands require evolving IT skills.  

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1. Security specialist/ethical hacker

Disturbing new facts and figures appear almost daily about companies falling victim to hackers and experiencing security and/or data breaches. That won't change in 2010, and IT training and employment industry specialists report that interest in acquiring new security skills continues to grow among IT pros and hiring managers who seek the latest skill sets to better secure their environments.

"If you know how to keep your company's data secure, you were in demand yesterday, are in demand today and will be in demand tomorrow," Tom Silver, senior vice president with Dice.com, said in a recent interview with Network World.  

The Computing Technology Industry Association, or CompTIA, in late 2009 polled some 1,537 high-tech workers and found that 37% intend to pursue a security certification over the next five years. Separately, nearly 20% indicated that they would seek ethical hacking certification over the same time period. And another 13% pinpointed forensics as the next certification goal in their career development.

"When you add the results, you will see that about two-thirds of IT workers intend to add some type of security certification to their portfolio," said Terry Erdle, senior vice president of skills certifications at CompTIA, in an earlier Network World,/i> interview. "This trend is driven by two factors: one, security issues are pervasive, and two, more and more people are moving to managed services and software-as-a-service models, which involves more complex networking. That level of non-enterprise data center computing has people looking more closely at their security infrastructure."

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