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Which Certs and Skills are Hot?

Which Certs and Skills are Hot?

R. Marc Phillips

June 24, 2009

Whether you’re just starting your IT career or figuring out the next direction yours should take, it’s important to get a read on where the industry is headed so you’ll know which skills and certifications are hot and which ones aren’t worth your time.

But tracking tech news and job posting trends will only get you so far. For the full scoop on exactly which certifications and skills are in demand, detailed salary surveys like Foote Partners’ IT Skills and Certifications Pay Survey are invaluable. Here are a few trends I spotted in their latest IT skills and certifications hot list:

Process and automation skills are hot. While IT managers and system architects are often in demand, anyone with automation, process, or workflow skills – particularly ITIL or CoBIT – has become particularly sought after in today’s economic climate. ITIL checks in at #24 on Foote’s April Hot List, and that’s a strong indication of its growing importance in IT. If you can help get your company ahead of the curve by volunteering to ramp up on ITIL, CoBIT, or whatever architectural frameworks your firm uses, you’ll improve your employment prospects.

SAP is still in demand. Check out Foote’s April Hot List and you’ll find a block of six SAP skills in spots 11 – 17. Big IT shops turn to exactly one application to plot out how to deploy the resources in their enterprise: SAP. And in a time of scarce resources, what’s more important than efficiently planning how to use the resources your organization has?

Security certs are your a good bet. It’s no secret that talented IT security specialists rarely need to look for a job, but Foote confirms that security-related certifications are a good way to boost pay. Both Cisco’s Cisco Certified Security Professional and GIAC’s Certified Intrusion Analyst.

Communications and money-saving tech are going strong. Small-to-medium businesses and other companies looking to save on communications costs are turning to VoIP to cut down on corporate phone bills. And all those new VoIP deployments are creating plenty of work in setup and support roles. Many companies are going farther and opting for unified communications setups that use software to integrate phone, chat, e-mail, voicemail, and presence technologies into one addressable system.

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