Tech executives identify the hottest IT skill sets for 2013 in a new Computerworld survey.
IT executives share their hiring plans for 2013 in Computerworld's annual IT Forecast. Over 33% of the 334 IT decision-makers surveyed plan to take on new talent in 2013 - up from 29% in last year's survey and 23% in 2010. 2013 heralds an exciting time in IT employment, as the skill sets in the greatest demand are those that focus on the development, integration and management of new technologies and innovations to grow the business.
Here are this year's most sought-after IT skill sets:
Programming & Application Development
60% of the IT executives plan to hire developers in 2013. Companies are playing catch-up on systems, applications and website upgrades they postponed during the recession, driving demand for skilled and talented web developers, computer programmers and software engineers to create these new solutions.
Large-scale technology upgrades, plus increased project complexity due to the connectivity of modern applications, is bolstering demand for experienced project managers. 40% of the tech execs plan to bring on new project managers in 2013.
Deploying new systems means more help desk technicians will be needed to handle increased service call volume. Technical support demand will get an added boost in 2013 as companies convert to Windows 7 before the Windows XP support cycle ends in 2014.
Hot Help Desk Skills: Mobile Device Support | Windows 7 Deployment | Interpersonal Communication Skills
Demand for IT security specialists climbs 10 points from last year's survey to 27%. Cyber attacks continue to increase in scope and complexity; add to this the inherent risk associated with new technology deployments and it's no wonder IT security will remain a top concern for managers in 2013.
Hot Security Skills: Enterprise & Military Enclave Security | Cloud & Virtual Security | Risk Management
The proliferation of cost-effective cloud-based storage solutions means organizations can capture and retain more data than ever before. IT professionals with the skills to analyze and transform this data into actionable intelligence for smarter decision-making and increased performance will be in high-demand at medium to large companies and public sector organizations in 2013 and well beyond.
Hot BI Skills:Big Data Analytics | Aptitude for Math & Statistics | Combination of Technical & Business Acumen
Cloud & SaaS
A newcomer to the top IT skills list, cloud-computing and SaaS (software as a service) experts will enjoy record demand in 2013, as businesses continue to establish and expand cloud-computing solutions to reduce operating expenses. 25% of the tech executives plan to take on new talent in this fast growing domain.
Improved ROI, efficiency and availability of IT resources make virtualization a critical component of modern IT strategy. 24% of the IT executives plan to hire virtualization specialists in 2013, earning this red-hot skill set its first Top 10 Skills appearance.
Networking skills dropped from the 4th hottest IT skill in 2012 to #8 in this year's ranking (due in part to its separation from the cloud and virtualization), however there will always be demand for skilled and experienced network administrators and engineers, regardless of the economy and other external conditions.
Hot Networking Skills: Cisco Network Administration | VOIP Admin. | Non-Virtual to Virtual Network Conversion
Mobile Apps & Device Management
Innovation and rapid technological advancements in mobile device capabilities have led to increased use by businesses and consumers. Companies and government agencies of all sizes are seeking talented IT pros and developers who can handle the demands born from the pervasiveness of smartphones and tablets.
Despite it's position as the 10th most demanded skill, job outlook for data center specialists is among the best, as numerous IT organizations and staffing firms (including CompTIA & Robert Half Technology) report a significant skills gap in this area, meaning there are more job openings than qualified data center professionals to fill them.
Hot Data Center Skills: Server/Data Center Operations | Systems Integration | Database Management
Bonus - Soft Skills
Soft skills - a.k.a. business skills - weren't part of the IT forecast survey, but are nonetheless critical for IT professionals seeking serious career advancement and upward mobility. While IT retains some of the brightest employees (in my humble opinion) there's a shortage of technicians with the business acumen & communication skills to facilitate smooth interdepartmental collaboration, and ascend to the highest levels within the organization.
Hot Soft Skills: Verbal & Written Communication | Business Email Writing | Leadership | Communicating IT Topics to Non-Technical Employees
Daniel Greenspan is an enterprise training consultant and the founder of ITCareerFinder. Over a decade of collaboration with IT professionals, world-class trainers and technology executives has afforded him a unique perspective into the IT job market and the skills and credentials that modern computing specialists need to succeed.