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Which Skills are Hot in IT Today? (Part I)

Which Skills are Hot in IT Today? (Part I)

Jose Fermoso/InsideTech

September 16, 2009

The length and breadth of the current economic recession has laid waste to the idea of the fully recession-proof career. IT companies have not been spared – just check out any list of the top crop from Silicon Valley and it’s easy to cringe at the job bloodletting. But IT careers have still been more resilient than most. In the last quarter for example, only 1,800 fewer IT jobs were available than the last, the best rate out of any job sector.

It’s not hard to see why IT skills are doing well. As the Foote Partners Research Group recently found, these skills are stable because they’re often “tied to specific jobs and job requirements that are still in demand.” Employers, they found, “depend on IT’s leadership and ability to run operations efficiently and in delivering quality products that keep them competitive across the market.”

According to Foote, personnel HR directors use “pay for skills” job differentiators more in IT jobs than in other careers. These include specific charts based on the type, number, and concentration of skills an applicant has and then use them to define compensation levels. It turns out the recession has least impacted jobs in the security, e-commerce, and ERP and infrastructure industries that include specific IT skills. So there are jobs out there, which can be heartwarming to IT workers if the specter of unemployment wasn’t still so prevalent due to the rise of all job-loss rates.

There’s no question the psyche of the average American worker is recession-weary. A recent summary on the U.S. “employment situation” by the government revealed that the number of people that have given up on looking for a job has nearly doubled to 758,000. These people see the difficult economic situation and have decided that no jobs are available to them. It’s sad.

The power brokers that bend the IT jobs marketplace now see encouraging signs of economic recovery but note that job losses in all sectors, including IT, will continue. Positive economic output (+ 3%) results for the GDP in the last quarter shows many industries on the way up, with IT companies leading the way. Neal Ross, Chief Economist of the Credit Suisse Group AG, recently noted the small growth as a sign the recession is over but thinks a “jobless recovery” is underway. In a speech at the Brookings Institution yesterday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke agreed: “It’s still going to feel like a very weak economy for some time, as many people will still find that their job security and their employment status is not what they wish it was.”

Most non-certified IT skills are just as needed (or more) than those for IT jobs that need certification. Why? Some say it’s because there are many people that are certified that don’t have “real-world” experience. Others say certifications are just “pieces of paper” that are just an indication base-level of an IT worker’s professional skills.

Can you improve your odds of getting a job if you know these skills? Of course. In the following pages, we’re taking Foote’s list and noting a few of the skills and the types of jobs that include each skill-set, since some skills translate to different types of jobs.

Here are the top ten non-certified IT skills in the job market today:

1. Java EE, SE, ME
2. Linux
3. Virtualization (all)
4. Microsoft .NET
5. NetWeaver (SAP)
6. Flex
7. Business Process Management/Modeling/Improvement
8. SAP SM (Service Management)
9. Security (IDS/IPS, forensics, identity/access management), data loss prevention.
10.SAN (storage area networking)

Let’s start with the top four.


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