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.
Here are the top 10 IT skills in demand for 2015:
Programming & Application Development
48% of the IT executives surveyed plan to bring on new programming talent in 2015. Software is the heart of modern IT; from internal systems that control key business functions like payroll and marketing, to front-end apps that facilitate sales and order tracking – better software means better business. This year, companies will hire programmers for everything from upgrades to squeeze maximum ROI from existing computer systems, to the design and development of new applications that will take the business into the future. Those with skills in the powerful and versatile Java programming language – a perennial favorite in the development of enterprise systems, hardware controllers, web and mobile applications – will be in the greatest demand through 2015.
Hot Coding Skills: Java | Java EE (Enterprise Edition) | JavaFX | .NET | C | Objective-C | UI/UX Design
As organizations strive to capitalize on hot technology trends in areas like mobile, cloud and big data, the scope and complexity of IT projects will continue to rise, driving record demand for project managers with the business and technical know-how to complete projects on-time, under budget and to specifications. The rapidly growing number of software development projects will also spike workforce demand for skills and certifications in today’s leading software-centric PM methodologies, notably Agile and Waterfall. PMI's Project Management Professional (PMP) will remain the premier credential for general PMs. 35% of survey respondents plan to bolster their project management staff in 2015.
Hot Project Management Skills: Agile | Waterfall | Software Development Project Mgmt. | PMP Certification
A mainstay in just about every top IT skills list for the last decade, the ubiquitous demand for IT support professionals is a byproduct of technology’s ever-increasing role in business, i.e., as we create and deploy new computer systems, we need a larger number of IT help desk and support technicians to keep them running smoothly. Widespread adoption of BYOD (bring-your-own-device) and other company-run mobile initiatives is driving especially high demand for technical support staff with mobile expertise. Soft skills like effective verbal/written communication, time management and customer support are also key to success in this space. 30% of survey participants have plans to bring on new tech support specialists in 2015.
Hot Skills in IT Support: Mobile Device Management | Windows Desktop Support | Linux Administration | Effective Communication | Time Management | Customer Support
As cyber attacks continue to grow in scope, frequency and sophistication, security will remain a major concern for IT decision-makers in 2015 and beyond. The continued mass migration from physical to virtual/cloud-based computing environments, and emerging wireless trends like the Internet of Things (which will flood networks with millions of "connected" devices in coming years) are drastically increasing the complexity – and with it the potential vulnerabilities – of wireless networks and the Internet at large. InfoSec pros who can assess, detect and prevent the myriad security threats to modern networks will enjoy buku job offers and top-tier salaries in 2015. 28% of those surveyed plan to hire cyber security personnel this year.
Look no further than your spam-packed inbox this holiday season to appreciate the rising demand for web developers. I’m not just referring to the emails themselves (which are in fact created using the same skills needed to develop websites - notably HTML and CSS) but rather the online retailers they represent. The e-commerce industry will continue to explode as new businesses launch with a compulsory web presence and existing companies optimize their online offerings to compete. Need more proof? The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that web developer unemployment dropped to .7% in 2014, well below the 2.7% rate for all IT jobs, and a fraction of the 6.7% national average. 28% of respondents plan to hire web developers in 2015.
As businesses continue to amass record amounts of information, workforce demand for talented database administrators who can effectively process and manage this data will continue to flourish. For the best chance of landing a DBA position in the business world, you’ll need experience in one or more of the leading database management systems (DBMS), i.e., Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server and IBM DB2. Demand for database administrators with skills in niche open source platforms like MySQL and PostgreSQL are also red-hot and trending upwards as we enter 2015. 26% of the tech executives surveyed plan to bring on new database specialists this year.
Hot DBA Skills: Oracle | Microsoft SQL Server | IBM DB2 | MySQL | PostgreSQL
One of the best ways to utilize today’s mounting business data is to analyze it for actionable trends that will help the company make smarter decisions, a.k.a. business intelligence. Development skills in SQL (the leading programming language for data manipulation) will remain in huge demand. Organizations will also seek out individuals with experience in the top BI platforms, such as IBM Cognos, Oracle BI, Tableau and SAS. Soft skills like creative problem solving and effective presentation will be vital too, as analysts must often think outside-the-box to uncover hidden gems within the data, then succinctly relay their findings to execs in order to be acted upon. 24% of survey respondents plan to hire business intelligence professionals in 2015.
Hot BI Skills: SQL Development | IBM Cognos | Tableau | Oracle BI | SAS BI | SAP Business Objects | Soft Skills in Presentation, Critical Thinking and Creative Problem Solving
Mobile Development & Device Management
As smartphones and tablets (and soon wearables too) continue to revolutionize the way work, play and communicate, demand for mobile skills will continue to skyrocket. Unchecked hiring of mobile application developers has spurred one of the largest skills gaps we've ever seen, i.e., there are simply more mobile development job openings than qualified professionals to fill them. The need is greatest for Android and iOS developers, as these two platforms power over 90% of America’s devices. Beyond the booming application market, the proliferation of mobile devices in business – assisted by policies like BYOD – has companies scrambling to train and hire staffers to manage, secure and support the growing number of disparate devices. 24% of the IT execs plan to hire mobile specialists in 2015.
Hot Skills in Mobile: iOS App Development | Android App Development | BYOD Support | Mobile Security
Computer networking in all its forms will always be a major concern for IT decision-makers, however the current blindingly bright job outlook for network professionals can be summed up in one word: wireless. The widespread adoption of mobile devices in the enterprise, rapid growth of hot fourth-generation (4G) wireless network technologies like LTE, and the advent of new and emerging wireless protocols such as Bluetooth Low Energy, have public and private sector organizations alike pursuing talented network professionals with the skills to design, implement and secure all things wireless. 22% of the technology leaders surveyed have IT networking expertise on their hiring wish list for 2015.
Hot Networking Skills: Wireless Network Design & Administration | WiFi | LTE | RFID | Network Security
It’s no longer just a buzzword; big data is a big deal. In an effort to transform exponentially growing information stores into actionable intelligence, organizations in every industry from health care and defense to social media and retail will ramp up big data hiring in 2015. Standard database and BI suites (see numbers 6 and 7 above) can't handle the size, structure and processing needs of these massive data sets, so administration and development skills in scalable big data platforms like Hadoop, MapReduce and NoSQL will be in top demand. Beyond experience in these hot frameworks, big data analysts need strong business acumen, critical thinking skills and mathematical prowess to ferret out the insights that will spark a true competitive advantage. 20% of the tech execs surveyed plan to hire big data specialists this year.
Hot Skills in Big Data: Hadoop | MapReduce | NoSQL | Data Visualization Development | Statistical Analysis
Daniel Greenspan is an enterprise training consultant, web designer and entrepreneur living in New York City. Over a decade of close collaboration with IT professionals, world-class instructors and technology executives has afforded him a unique perspective into the IT job market and the skills and credentials that modern IT professionals need to succeed.