oConomy
May 24, 2011 by Julia Camenisch

According to a recent Monster.com report (and our own oConomy), available IT jobs are on the rise.  Here in the US, IT market growth is forecast at 8% this year and 10.3% next year. And this growth isn't limited to the United States. Forrester Research is predicting a 7.1% increase in IT spending at companies worldwide. Will you get hired? It all depends on whether your skill set is in line with current tech sector needs. Gauge your hireability by taking a look at this list of some of the fastest growing areas in the IT world:

  1. Network Administration
    65% of CIOs say that networking professionals tops their "most wanted employees" list. Conversely, they also report that these job roles are the hardest to fill.  To excel in this field, you've got to be comfortable interacting with a wide range of technologies  from servers, routers, and wiring to the network management, security and various OS software packages that will be integrated into your LAN. Also, the ability to deal with server virtualization is extremely important. You must be able to understand the current infrastructure and then develop and work with a virtual version, while maintaining stability and efficiency.
  2. Database Management
    Current average yearly salaries for IT professionals involved in database management are high, ranging from $80,000 to $100, 000. Salaries for workers familiar with Informatica, ETL (Extract, Transform & Load) and data warehousing topped the list, according to an eWeek.com report. ETL, in particular, is a bit surprising in its resurgence. Finding its past in mainframe history, ETL is now benefiting from speedy network infrastructure, cheap, reliable SAN and FOSS (free and open source software) structures that are gaining new traction among IT professionals, says John Hoffler at Tech Alliant.
  3. Desktop Support
    A ComputerWorld survey found that technical support skills are extremely important for 42%  of potential employers. New OS version rollouts, plus federal health care legislation and its technological requirements are some of the reasons that companies are recognizing the need for more help desk job positions. When users are frustrated with technology, they either refuse to make use of it or don't use the software correctly. Both options cost a company time and money (not to mention lots of headaches).
  4. Mobile App Development
    More and more small to medium sized companies are wanting a smart phone presence. The challenge? There's not enough app developers with the skills needed to take those mobile longings and transform them into reality. Mark Feffer over at Dice.com points to software engineers that can function as "developers, security experts and business analysts" as one of the hot items in today's tech job market.
  5. Security Professionals
    Now's the time to brush up on your security credentials. In the ComputerWorld article referenced earlier, there was a quote from David Foote, CEO and chief research officer at Foote Partners LLC that basically stated that IT security experts haven't suffered any industry instability or loss throughout these last few recession leaning years. Skills you should have include a general understanding of IT security, then a more in depth knowledge of enterprise firewalls, VPNs, IDS/IPS, as well as mobile security.
  6. Cloud Computing
    On oDesk, the number of cloud related tech job opening has doubled over the last year. It's easy to see how big the world of the cloud is becoming. Microsoft, Amazon, Google - all are making major bets on the future of cloud computing, and both businesses and consumers are signing on. But as offerings continue to grow, there will be a need for appliances and management tools that allow users to easily and securely migrate and work in the cloud environment. Are you comfortable in this field? Now's a good time to become so. Check out this great article on Mashable.com about the importance of becoming well versed in data mining, web analytics and business intelligence as a part of your "cloud experience" skillset.

If you're in the tech field, opportunities abound for upward mobility, both in salary and position. But you've got to be willing to adapt and transform your skill set as needed. And remember, just because a skill was hot 5 years ago doesn't mean it's what you need on your resume today. As one of my computer science teachers used to say on a weekly basis, "Evolve or evaporate." Good advice then, great advice now.

What tech skills are you wanting to learn this year? In the comments section, share your thoughts, as well as any valuable training resources you've discovered to help achieve that goal.


 

Julia Camenisch

Contributing Author

Julia Camenisch is a freelance technology and business journalist. She also works as an editor and copywriter for a wide range of clients, including national magazines, small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Julia brings to oDesk a passion for empowering small businesses through the innovative use of technology.