Hot Skills, Cold Skills

The IT worker of 2010 won't be a technology guru but rather a 'versatilist.'

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By 2010, applications will become commodities delivered by external service providers. Internal development won't be dead, though -- it will just be done differently in 2010, Foote says. The challenge will be selecting packages and tailoring them to what you need. "Code-writing disappears in this world, unless it's code-writing in customer-facing applications that offer strategic advantage," he adds.


  • Customer-facing Web application systems
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Data mining
  • Data warehousing

In the online banking industry, businesses want to manage all of their customers' money -- from mortgages to school loans to retirement accounts. To be successful in 2010, they must create Web sites that are user-friendly, with artificial intelligence, data mining and data warehousing capabilities, Foote says.

The technology is part of those companies' highly competitive marketing approach. "If you want to work in IT, you want to work in Web application systems. But you'd better also really know the customer, because chances are your competitors have that type of talent," Foote explains. This kind of talent allows IT staffs to do more than simply build things; they can also communicate with co-workers who spend a lot of time with customers or connect with the customers themselves to quickly make changes to process.

"This shaves a lot of time off of build cycles," which usually take three to six months, Foote says. "Rapid applications development and extreme programming are very high-paying skills. But it really fosters agility and flexibility. What's more biz-enabling than reducing a product cycle?"

Business Intelligence

  • Business intelligence
  • Data warehousing
  • Data mining

Foote's mantra for the coming decade: If you think the marketplace is competitive now, wait until 2010. A leveled global playing field, innovation and the availability of technology to make business execution easy will make hot skills must-haves for competitive companies.

Where Will the Jobs Be?

Which area of IT do you expect will experience the most growth in jobs in the next five years?


Web services




Business intelligence


Service-oriented architecture


Identity management


Disaster recovery/
continuity planning


Data management/
business analytics






Antivirus protection
Ready to Adapt
Would you be willing to learn a new technical skill to help ensure prolonged employment?

Would you be willing to learn a new technical skill to help ensure prolonged employment?

If you answered no or not sure*, what's holding you back from acquiring new technical skills?

Business skills would be more useful in ensuring prolonged employment than more technical skills.


Not enough time in my schedule.


I'm concerned that a new skill wouldn't pay off financially or professionally.


Company has limited funds for skills development.


My company doesn't support skills development outside current job functions.


I have no money to put toward training classes.


I'm concerned that a new skill would require a geographic move to another job.


* Base was 99 respondents.

SOURCE: Exclusive Computerworld survey of 1,137 IT professionals, May 2006. Respondents could choose all answers that applied.

Collett is a Computerworld contributing writer. Contact her at

See the complete IT Profession 2010 special report.

Special Report

What's Hot, What's Not: IT Skills You'll Need in 2010

Stories in this report:

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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