The Hottest Skills for 2007

With fewer openings this year, expect these five premium skills to win the jobs

Golf balls run amok and ping around a warehouse in an amusing new DHL commercial. A distraught warehouse manager phones the shipping giant to reroute correspondence and packages, while a booming voice pledges that DHL has adopted a renewed focus on customer service — a promise that will extend clear down to IT personnel manning help desks and scrambling to provide technical support.

IT hiring figures are expected to dip slightly in the coming year, so you’ll be getting a flood of résumés for every job opening you have. From those, hiring executives will pluck people with the strongest combination of technical and business skills. For instance, knowing how to help a call center agent navigate malfunctioning pop-up screens will no longer be enough. Instead, DHL and other big companies want tech support staffs to prioritize and understand why jumping on a problem quickly is a mission-critical must.

NEW HIRING STALLS

Compared with this time last year, fewer IT executives expect to increase their overall staffing levels.

2007

 
gold.gif
 Head count will increase
orange.gif
 Head count will remain the same
red.gif
 Head count will decrease
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2006

 
gold.gif
 Head count will increase
orange.gif
 Head count will remain the same
red.gif
 Head count will decrease
forecast_pie4.gif
 

Sources: 252 respondents to Computerworld's first-quarter Vital Signs survey 2007; and 338 respondents to first-quarter Vital Signs survey 2006.

forecast2007-logo_sm.gif

Essentially, CIOs are looking for the “Renaissance” IT professional — for instance, the individual with sharp skills in the Cobit (Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology) framework for governing IT and evaluating internal system controls, and a good feel for internal business processes. Proof that a potential hire is well-rounded might include five in-demand skills recently identified in Computerworld’s latest quarterly Vital Signs survey of IT trends: programming acumen, project management experience, IT-business analysis know-how, security savvy and technical support skills.

HOT SKILLS

Top skills IT executives say they will hire for in 2007:

1. Programming/application development

2. Project management

3. IT/business analysis

4. Security

5. Help desk/technical support

Source: Computerworld's quarterly Vital Signs survey, 252 respondents

“For us, 2007 will be a year of focusing on what is really important to our company as a whole and what will bring us the most value,” says Jim Niemann, vice president of DHL Express IT in San Francisco. “In past years, we’ve tried to solve every problem in the book. Now we are working those projects that show true bottom-line value.”

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