11 hot skills for 2011

IT hiring will pick up slightly next year, and talented programmers and project managers will be at the starting line.

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2

5. Security

"Security is the only area of certified IT skills that has never had a negative quarter throughout this entire recession," Foote says. "We've never had a three-month period with a loss or decline in premiums for these people." Demand is being driven by regulatory compliance needs and by customer demand for tools with built-in security features.

Valuable security skills include expertise in identity and access management, threat and vulnerability assessment, encryption, data loss prevention, incident analysis, governance, compliance and auditing, biometrics, Web content filtering, safeguards for voice-over-IP systems and e-discovery support for litigation.

6. Data Center

Of the Computerworld survey respondents who will be hiring in the next year, some 21% said that data center skills, including storage experience, will be in top demand.

"Storage is becoming more important as we go to network-attached storage [and storage-area networks]," says Suzanne Gordon, CIO at SAS Institute Inc. in Cary, N.C. Finding people with expertise in particular storage areas is important, she says, "but they should also be able to step back and look at it strategically: Are we putting the right things in the right places, and spending the right amount of money for safety and backup of the different types of data?"

7. Web 2.0

IT workers with next-generation Web skills will also be sought-after in 2011, according to 17% of Computerworld's respondents who plan to add new staffers in the next year. Hot Web 2.0 skills include expertise in Adobe Flex, JavaScript, Adobe Flash, AJAX and JavaScript Object Notation.

In the financial services industry, for example, "Web and mobile products are huge," says Comerica's Kay. "We have several projects ongoing that are geared around proving further Web and mobile functionality."

8. Telecommunications

At Palmetto Health in Columbia, S.C., Michelle Edwards wants to hire staff with skills in unified communications. The health care provider is seeking people who can design an infrastructure and integrate various communications tools, including instant messaging, IP phones and remote access.

"In a hospital, you have urgent needs for patient care, on-call needs and remote needs. We want to make sure we understand all those needs," as well as the security issues around those communications devices, says Edwards, senior vice president and CIO.

Some 16% of Computerworld's survey-takers who plan to hire will be looking for telecommunications skills into 2011.

9. Business Intelligence

As data proliferates and IT departments look for ways to contribute to the company's profitability, business intelligence skills will be highly sought-after in 2011, according to 13% of survey respondents.

Palmetto Health is using an EHR system and staffers have been "very good about putting information in, but we haven't done as well taking that data and making it usable," Edwards says. "We're being forced to do a better job with presenting the information that we're capturing" and sharing it through statewide health information exchange networks, she adds.

10. Collaboration Architecture

Collaboration architecture expertise is high on Campbell Soup Co.'s list of hot skills, says Donna Braunschweig, senior director of IT, enterprise portfolio and strategy. The company constantly looks at "how we can help the end-user experience be better by understanding how things like portals, Web and audio can integrate, and what does that need to look like to be able to have better collaboration across the company?" she says.

While most of Campbell's collaboration tools are hosted offerings from service providers, Braunschweig says she still needs employees who can manage those vendors and understand the technology.

11. Business Acumen and Communication Skills

You won't find this in any IT job titles, but most companies in 2011 will seek IT employees who understand the business and can communicate technical concepts to business units and customers.

Campbell requires IT employees to have four types of competencies: business and financial acumen, functional depth, leadership skills and a global mind-set. "Sometimes people think of IT as just technical skills, and it's not," Braunschweig says.

At HealthAlliance, Thompson recruits IT staffers who can communicate well both orally and in writing. "I also want to have a reference of someone who knows how you speak about IT issues to people who are not computer-savvy," she adds.

Overall, the outlook for 2011 remains volatile, and IT groups will need workers whose skills can help them adapt to rapidly changing market conditions. But as IT units move from a support role to a profitability model, "now they are able to move more quickly," Foote says. "I don't think the [IT] world is ever going to return to what it was in 2008, but it's a very positive thing."

Collett is a Computerworld contributing writer. You can contact her at stcollett@aol.com.

Next: Opinion: Your marching orders for the next decade

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2
7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon