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The 11 must-have IT skills for 2011

Get the edge over other candidates

IT hiring will pick up slightly next year, and talented programmers and project managers will be at the starting line. We look at the skills you need to ensure you have the edge over other candidates.

3. Help desk/technical support

Only 20 percent of Microsoft customers had converted to Windows 7 as of July 2010.

"That leaves 80 percent. They have to move over. It's not a matter of choice," Willmer says. That may be one reason why help desk and technical support skills will be high-priority in 2011 for those that are hiring staff.

What's more, major conversions require a lot of help desk support for users. "These aren't just people doing password resets. They're probably technically savvy as well as having that health care background," Willmer adds.

4. Networking

Networking skills are in demand among 38 percent of Computerworld survey respondents who said they're hiring. And those jobs were identified as the most challenging to fill in a Robert Half Technology survey of 1,400 CIOs.

"Networking is closely tied to virtualisation," says Willmer.

"Finding somebody with that virtualisation experience and the ability to convert non-virtual environments into virtual environments is one of the biggest problems."

5. Security

"Security is the only area of certified IT skills that has never had a negative quarter throughout this entire recession," Foote says.

"We've never had a three-month period with a loss or decline in premiums for these people."

Demand is being driven by regulatory compliance needs and by customer demand for tools with built-in security features.

Valuable security skills include expertise in identity and access management, threat and vulnerability assessment, encryption, data loss prevention, incident analysis, governance, compliance and auditing, biometrics, web content filtering, safeguards for voice-over-IP systems and e-discovery support for litigation.

6. Data Center

More than two in five of the firm that will be hiring in the next year said that data center skills, including storage experience, will be in top demand.

"Storage is becoming more important as we go to network-attached storage [and storage-area networks]," says Suzanne Gordon, CIO at SAS Institute Inc.

Finding people with expertise in particular storage areas is important, she says, "but they should also be able to step back and look at it strategically: Are we putting the right things in the right places, and spending the right amount of money for safety and backup of the different types of data?"

7. Web 2.0

IT workers with next-generation web skills will also be sought-after in 2011, according to 17 percent of those intending to hire in the coming year. Hot Web 2.0 skills include expertise in Adobe Flex, JavaScript, Adobe Flash, AJAX and JavaScript Object Notation.

In the financial services industry, for example, "Web and mobile products are huge," says Comerica's Kay.

"We have several projects ongoing that are geared around proving further web and mobile functionality."

NEXT PAGE: Telecommunications

  1. Get the edge over other candidates
  2. Helpdesk/technical support
  3. Telecommunications

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