What skills should you invest in if you want to stay relevant and ahead of the competition?
IT is evolving rapidly, creating fresh unmet demand for those with the right skills. So where should you focus your ambitions? Here are five IT skills you’ll want on your resume.
Put simply, CyberCoders listed Java as the most in-demand software skill in 2014. Its popularity is attributed to rising interest in mobile development and generally, Java’s wide application.
Java was also the most frequently searched skill on Stack Overflow in 2013, representing 22 per cent of 14,000 queries and Java/J2EE developers were also top hiring priority for employers in a 2013 survey by career site Dice. More than one in five of the 77,000 jobs posted mentioned some need for Java.
As the ‘small screen’ continues to grow in importance, so too does the huge demand for mobile developers – second only to Java developers in the Dice survey. LinkedIn also shows mobile developers topping the charts among in-demand tech skills.
Yet a survey by Computerworld identified mobile expertise as the third most difficult skill to find, after development and business intelligence analytics skills. Within this field there will be particular demand for UX engineers, as applications require usable but sophisticated interfaces.
BI skills are escalating in demand but are also among the hardest to find according to Computerworld. Business process expertise tops the table for skills required, followed by knowledge of BI tools.
Specialist technology recruiter and blogger, Patrick Crompton, who focuses on the UK and European IT market, describes the increase in demand for skills around business intelligence as “astronomical” and notes several recent high-profile acquisitions of BI companies. He estimates the highest value skill will be business objects designers/developers, commanding daily rates of up to £550, followed by microstrategy designers and Microsoft BI developers.
The huge growth in data is driving demand for data analysis skills as companies seek to crunch the numbers to maintain a competitive edge. This includes skills related to data processing such as NoSQL, Apache Hadoop and Python, demand for which is hitting all-time highs.
Research firm IDC predicts the volume of global data will expand by a factor of 44 from 2009 to 2020, reading 35.2 zettabytes. Expect to see big data analysis remain a hot hiring area in the future.
IT security skills are perennially in demand, with the continued increase in malware and cyberattacks. New vulnerabilities and threats are arising from the increase in mobile computing and communications.
But there’s a shift from networking security to application security, which requires high-level coding skills. Mobile security skills, as a newer technology, are also in short supply.
Pure technology skills aren’t the only factor when filling IT positions. Interpersonal skills are also considered important. In the Computerworld survey, 66 per cent of respondents identified the ability to collaborate as critical; and 62 per cent cited the ability to communicate with business users.
Can you remain relevant without upskilling in one of these key emerging areas?