The 9 hottest skills for '09

Old notion: Certain skills, such as programming, are prime for outsourcing. New order: Firms want developers and other talented staffers in-house.

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6. Security

When it comes to demand for certain types of security professionals, those with SAP security experience "are probably the hottest of the hot right now," says Herrin.

But interest in security professionals remains strong across the board. "Companies can't ignore security requirements, even in tough economic times," says Stephen Pickett, CIO at Penske Corp. and past president of the Society for Information Management.

There's also strong interest in people with network and wireless security skills, as well as those with Certified Information Systems Security Professional accreditation.

7. Web 2.0

While many companies are just starting to noodle with corporate implementations of social networking applications such as MySpace and Facebook, "more and more companies are trying to reach their customers via the Web," says Pickett.

Demand for Web 2.0 skills is also driven by the continuing expansion of business-to-business connections. For instance, Children's Hospital and Health System in Milwaukee recently created a portal for roughly half of its physicians who work remotely. The system provides them with access to summary medical data on patients, says Mike Jones, vice president and CIO.

8. Data center

Most of the glass-house buzz is about server and storage virtualization projects that help organizations lower their energy costs and shrink their data center footprints.

But few companies are recruiting specifically for data center skills. Instead, they're retraining existing staff in VMware and other virtualization technologies. For instance, Aspen Skiing is considering virtualizing up to 40% of its servers in 2009, says Major. To achieve that, Aspen Skiing plans to rely on VMware and EMC to provide staff with the necessary training.

9. Telecommunications

VoIP and projects involving unified communications continue to drive demand for blended telecommunications and networking skills, particularly among small to midsize businesses that are just beginning to deploy these systems, says Spencer Lee. Interest in Wi-Fi, WiMax, Bluetooth and related skills is also growing, says Koeppel, "particularly as cities look to WiMax as a feature to attract businesses."

Next: The newest, coolest products you'll be using in '09 to increase your productivity

Hoffman is a former Computerworld writer. Contact him at


Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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