For this year's breakdown of the most sought-after skill sets in the IT workforce, we're once again drawing data from ComputerWorld's annual hiring forecast. In addition, we'll analyze a range of trusted sources (see links at the end) and provide expert commentary to prognosticate about the hottest technology skills through 2016 and beyond.
For its latest forecast, ComputerWorld surveyed 182 IT managers and decision makers. With over one-third (37%) of respondents planning to grow their rosters in 2016 - up from 24% in last year's survey - the technology job market is certainly heating up. This spells good news for existing tech pros looking for a new career path, as well as job seekers new to the IT space. Of course, capitalizing on this growth is contingent on possessing the right expertise, so without further ado, here are the top ten IT skills in demand for 2016:
Senior Technical Writer and Software Trainer, Keith Johnson, explores the key requirements of becoming a technical writer, and the steps you can take now to practice and achieve them.
Technical writing is a great field. As a Technical Writer, you will be making contributions to companies, schools, and organizations in profound ways that most people cannot comprehend. It is this truth and experience that has motivated me throughout my twenty-five year career in technical writing.
What is the best way to prepare for or enter the technical writing field? Whether you choose to approach technical writing through a formal education, such as a college degree program with a technical writing or related major, or through a non-traditional path like technology books, online courses, internships, entrepreneurship, and/or self-publishing, here are the “tech writing cement blocks” you can use to establish your career foundation to both becoming a technical writer and enduring its daily challenges as you go into the office armed with your pen, notepad, and laptop.
IT pros and executives break down the most sought-after technology skills for 2015.
As technology continues to become an increasingly vital part of how we do business, the race is on to secure top-notch talent in IT skill positions that will not only keep the organization running through 2015, but lay the groundwork for secure and successful expansion in the coming year and beyond.
In its annual IT Forecast report, Computerworld surveyed 194 technology executives about the technical job roles they’ll be looking to fill in 2015 – here we present their findings, identify the hottest IT skill sets in each domain, and explore some of the key trends driving workforce demand.
Now is the time for IT practitioners to hone big data skills, as CIOs, CTOs and even CMOs are paying top dollar for professionals who can help in the administration and analysis of huge stores of data.
As big data matures beyond buzzword status, companies are now building teams to help them get a handle on the huge caches of business data they produce every day. According to Gartner, 73 percent of organizations plan on investing in big data in the next 24 months. However, with so many of the skill sets in big data still so new, more than a few enterprises are running into snags when it comes to hiring the right people for the job. A recent IDG survey found that 40 percent of their respondents are having a tough time finding employees with the big data skills they need. Clearly, this is a great time to hone those sought-after skills, get some training and prepare to take advantage of what’s likely to be a long-term trend.
Here are five of the key big data skill sets that recruiters are looking for:
It's hard to deny the fact that "big data" is a ubiquitous buzzword today, and every now and again someone suggests that it's just a passing fad. The fact of the matter is that, while this trend may b...
Help desks are changing as technology evolves and users grow more familiar with choosing and supporting their own systems. Use these insider tips to maximize your help desk's productivity and make sure it remains an essential part of your business.
As technology and business continue to evolve, the IT landscape looks far different than it did 10 or even 5 years ago. The traditional on-site help desk – which handled all device rollouts, support questions, break-fix emergencies and other urgent needs – is changing too. Many organizations cut costs to preserve or promote revenue-generating personnel, and the growing trend to outsource what are deemed low-level processes can hand many a help desk over to an external provider.
Furthermore, new trends and challenges such as remote access, cloud services, mobility and global interconnection can produce additional pressures on the in-house help desk. This is exacerbated by today’s instant gratification society, as well as the mindset by some in the business world that the help desk is an impediment to their productivity – something they need to make an end run around rather than working with to achieve their goals (a mindset quite likely produced by help desks that don’t keep up with the changes or which are hamstrung by inefficient operations).
A relevant help desk capable of meeting the current challenges of technology can more than earn its keep by helping employees to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. There is a misconception that help desks don’t generate revenue (the best case scenario is that they are viewed as a negative revenue preventer – in other words, helping to combat lost productivity and wages by keeping systems running), but that’s not necessarily the case. A successful help desk ensures that staff can work as effectively as possible by keeping them informed of new developments, helping them find shortcuts to work efficiently and formulating best practices for the organization to standardize – for instance, developing a PowerPoint template for employees to use in creating presentations which comes with logos and links to reference sites or file shares. These tactics will in turn help build out the careers & capabilities of help desk technicians.
Outsourced help desk services will be quick to tell you they can cut costs and improve service by offering a 24x7x365 infrastructure that will be more efficient and responsive. This may be quite true, and many issues can be resolved remotely through externally managed systems. However, nothing beats hands-on technicians who can respond to situations face-to-face. A dead laptop, for instance, is a lot easier for a technician to support if they can troubleshoot, diagnose and/or replace it immediately, rather than subjecting employees to phone calls, wait times and shipped systems. With this in mind, perhaps the ideal help desk going forward will be a hybrid of on-site and off-site personnel.
Whether on premises, outsourced or hybrid, these 10 operational methods can help keep your help desk relevant and aligned with business priorities:
Veteran technician and project manager, Scott Matteson, shares tips and insights from his 2+ decades in the IT field.
Working in the field of Information Technology means more than fixing computers or troubleshooting email issues. Thriving in this career requires you to sort out an intricate tangle of problems, priorities and people on a daily basis. Keeping your technical skills relevant and up-to-date is always a challenge, but one that’s well within reach if you train on the job, enjoy learning new things, and keep your thumb on the pulse of the tech community.
However, it’s harder to figure out how to deal with “back end” tasks like juggling priorities, managing stress and developing positive working relationships with peers, customers and managers. In fact, handling interpersonal relationships can be more challenging (and rewarding) than managing the tech itself – and it’s essential since the technology goes hand in hand with the people who use it.
IT roles are changing; support may be located remotely, systems might be off site, and some jobs will disappear entirely. However, there will always be pain points, pressure and personalities in the field. I've worked in the IT space since 1994, primarily in the realm of support and implementation. Along the way I've made a few observations with accompanying advice which I want to share with you. Many of these apply to my role as the “go-to” guy who can get things running, but I think they are universally relevant to any role where you're seen as a resource or a decision-maker on which other people depend to do their jobs.
So without further ado, here are 20 things I've learned in my 20 years in IT:
The Internet of Things is one of the most revolutionary technology trends of our lifetime -- and it’s poised to explode. These skill sets will maximize your salary and marketability in the proliferating Internet of Things.
Simply put, the Internet of Things (IoT) is the merger of the physical world with the digital. In the IoT, everyday objects are embedded with technology – such as Wi-Fi and sensors – to acquire a unique online identity and gain the ability to interact with their external environment. This infinite network of “smart” devices promises a range of benefits for businesses, individuals and society at large, including reduced waste, increased safety, greater convenience and improved quality of life.
The vanguard of the IoT revolution is here: Smart objects ranging from fitness wearables and home appliances to connected factories and even whole smart cities are coming online daily, but this is only the beginning. As broadband and hardware costs continue to fall, innovations in mobile and cloud abound, and society continues to embrace an increasingly connected culture, the Internet of Things will explode -- Gartner (conservatively†) predicts 26 billion devices on the Internet of Things by 2020, when by IoT product and services will be generating $300+ billion per year.
Big business is all-in: Tech-giants like Cisco, IBM and SAP are launching internal business units and spending billions to grow the infrastructure of the Internet of Things, while major consumer and industrial manufacturers like Ford, General Electric, Bosch and Philips are working overtime to develop the next generation of intelligent devices. And it's a feeding frenzy on IoT startups; myriad VC firms alongside IT trend-setters like Google and Intel are rapidly acquiring promising hardware and software suppliers in the Internet of Things ecosystem.
As the Internet of Things continues to expand, forward-thinking IT professionals will enjoy a variety of challenging and lucrative job opportunities. These IT skill sets will be especially sought-after in the age of IoT: