Skip to comments.What Tech Skills are Hot for 2006 ?
Posted on 01/03/2006 8:53:46 AM PST by SirLinksalot
What Tech Skills Are Hot for 2006?
Developers, security experts and project managers will be in demand
News Analysis by Thomas Hoffman
DECEMBER 27, 2005 (COMPUTERWORLD) - Whether you're looking for a job or looking to fill one, expect hiring to heat up this year, driven by small but consistent gains in IT budgets. And if you're a job seeker with the right skills, 2006 could be your big year. Despite the notion that hordes of U.S. IT jobs are being sent offshore, in reality, less than 5% of the 10 million people who make up the U.S. IT job market had been displaced by foreign workers through 2004, says Scot Melland, president and CEO of Dice Inc., a New York-based online jobs service. The numbers of jobs posted on Dice.com from January through September for developers, project managers and help desk technicians rose 40%, 47% and 45%, respectively, compared with the same period in 2004, says Melland.
In fact, an exclusive Computerworld survey revealed that two of the top four skills IT executives will hire for in the coming year are perennially linked with outsourcing, namely, application development (ranked first) and IT help desk skills (ranked fourth). Information security skills ranked second, and project management came in third.
Here's what staffing experts have to say about the demand in these hot skills areas.
1. Desperate For Developers
There's a lot of talk about developer jobs being sent overseas, but "most of the stuff that's going offshore is low-level coding jobs," says Craig Symons, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc. in Cambridge, Mass. Over the past year, companies have started working through their backlog of IT projects. As a result, says Symons, demand for developers with .Net and Java skills has increased, as has the need for business analysts and IT relationship managers who work with business managers to understand their divisions' requirements.
Case in point: An employer that was working with Talenthire.com, a job placement service in Atlanta, was recently negotiating salary terms with an entry-level C++ and .Net developer. The technician, who had graduated from college in 2004 and probably started his career making $40,000-plus per year, quickly moved up in salary by about $10,000, says Mike Veronesi, a managing partner at Talenthire.com. After Talenthire.com's customer offered the candidate $60,000, he demanded $62,500. "In this marketplace, those people are just tough to get," says Veronesi.
"Customer requirements [for developers] are getting much more specific," says Jim Lanzalotto, vice president of strategy and marketing at Yoh Services LLC in Philadelphia. "The requirement used to be 'Give me a good CRM developer,' " says Lanzalotto. "Now, the requirement is 'Give me a good CRM developer with specific experience in the pharmaceutical industry.' "
NStar, a Boston-based energy utility, is hunting for developers with the power-industry experience needed to support its supervisory control and data acquisition environment, says Eugene Zimon, senior vice president and CIO at the company.
"I would see the need for application developers as much more specialized in terms of developing integration components, user interfaces and reusable components," says Zimon. "It's application development, but it's much more specialized and targeted to make use of your existing infrastructure."
2. Seeking Security Mavens
There's continued demand for people with information security skills, say Symons and others. And even though long-term demand is expected to remain strong, the growing ranks of people who have obtained IT security certifications has had a short-term dampening effect on compensation.
David Foote, principal and chief research officer at Foote Partners LLC in New Canaan, Conn., says there has been strong demand for people with Cisco security skills as well as those with IT auditing certifications. Still, he says, compensation for security skills has tapered off in recent months as many unemployed and underemployed IT workers have obtained security skills to become more marketable. The resulting increase in security specialists has helped to deflate wages, at least in the short term, says Foote.
Dice's Melland says he's starting to see skills shortages in different geographies, including a need for network security experience and government security clearances.
To meet its own changing business requirements, NStar is adjusting its skill mix of full-time IT workers and contractors through attrition, new hires and retraining, says Zimon. High on its list are security analysts because NStar is in the final throes of a four-year effort to create a team of security and risk management specialists.
3. In Pursuit of Project Managers
As the economy continues to improve, companies are beginning to attack their backlog of projects, which is helping to fuel the demand for project developers. As a result, project managers with specific expertise -- like those who have worked on projects related to Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act compliance -- are becoming harder to find, says Frank Enfanto, vice president of health care services systems delivery at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts Inc. in Boston.
"There are a lot of security- and compliance-related requirements that are driving a lot of the spending in projects these days," says Enfanto.
Location is another issue. "It's really frustrating trying to find project managers in this geography," says Mark Uihlein, vice president of information systems at Mohegan Sun, a gaming and resort company in Uncasville, Conn. Aside from the casino, Uncasville, which is in the southeastern corner of Connecticut, is rural, says Uihlein, and most employers in the greater Hartford area are in insurance and financial services.
Many big companies are working on multiple projects simultaneously, which is fueling a "critical need" for project managers, says Andy Baker, senior recruiting manager at Allstate Insurance Corp. in Northbrook, Ill. In addition to finding the right people in an ever-tightening labor market, Allstate is also wrestling with determining whether the business units in need of project managers have funds they can set aside for possible relocation costs, he adds.
For me the big ones will be Engineers in the IT and EE fields, as well as Project Manegement Engineers. A PME can practically write his own ticket. But, all must be US citizens.
Put it this way. Isn't it nice that you don't have to send your car back to the plant in order to get an oil change? The best tech jobs in the US are the ones where your physical presence is required.
Well all I can say is, after 11 years dedicated to distributed large scale enterprise type systems... I can't seem to find anyone willing to pay for that experience... I am making more money being a low level coder at this point than truly utilizing my skills and assets... but what can ya do?
My advice is do as I did: learn to use a keypunch machine. You're set for life.
I don't know if this counts as a "tech skill," but someone who has skills as a technical writer can probably do very well in almost any economic climate.
Application development is going to be the largest growth sector in my opinion.
These are the developers who build customized solutions for small and medium sized companies. At the moment the offshore companies have a huge price advantage because a lot of the coding for these specialized solutions had to be done from the ground up for each customer.
The advantage should shift back to domestic professionals as the lengthy, labor intensive stages are cut short by rapid development tools that are slowly reaching their maturity. Open Source software such as MySQL, Apache, and the middleware languages like PHP and Perl have also reached, at the latter half of 2005, the required feature sets to really challenge companies like Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft for the smaller enterprise markets. At least, insofar, as development friendliness by a large number of competing professionals, which will drive down the cost, increase the number of solutions, and in two years will put the United States at the undisputed front of the pack for our strength in the small and medium sized business capabilities.
Hot for elsewhere. I'm "in" the industry and have been for over 20 years. What's hot? None of the above.
Developers (Dime a Dozen)
Security (most "security experts" can't secure their own PC's)
Project Managers (dime a dozen)
Where's it at. Well were it's always been the boring, slog work performed by your friendly Administrators everyday. You too can have a unglamorous career doing:
Storage Resource Management
Network Systems Management
Network Load and Bandwidth analysis
Server implementation for the 200th crappy application your CTO has purchased.
The grunt work of the IT industry can be yours. Bore your friends with exciting explanations of storage trending, Service Level agreements and network card thresholds. Explain to your wife for the one thousand time what you do for a living and get that confused blank look. Get excited when your parents ask for the "final" time when you are going to get that real job (a lawyer I think)
Honestly I love my career but I've seen these "HOT" fields come and go so often. I've never been umemployed and don't plan on starting now.
Why is there a need for project managers? It seems like all these people do is go to meetings. They produce nothing of value. An on the ball designer/engineer can handle the job themselves.
Without a good project manager, the boss will invite "on the ball designer/engineer" to the meeting so no work will be done. A bad project manager will not only go to the meeting, but will bring the engineer along so everyone's time can be wasted.
Hopefully SAP development will be a hot commodity in Spring 06...
Got the word a few months backt that my current development job will be going to India.
There are a lot of unfilled openings in the US. Good people are hard to find. Right now my little department has four openings, out of a staff of eight.
The idea of doing corporate development in India has not worked out as well as expected. They're out of the loop, and quick turnaround is not possible. I spent my morning helping some guy in India deploy his application on a server in the UK for the use of US-based testers. He can't even access the application he wrote because of security issues. SOX makes it difficult to get access for offshore developers.
It's important when you have a large project and 5+ developers and DBAs. A good PM can let the developers concentrate on code and forget the client exists apart from the requirements that come their way. A bad PM can just make matters worse.
Where I work, there are scores of project managers(middle management) that do nothing but attend meetings. They have no clue what's going on and usually send their workers off on a tangent.
The best designers/engineers get promoted into project managers and they get caught up in attending meetings. They lose the best workers that way. The only ones left are incompetent brownnosers.
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