The IT industry in the United States is growing quickly, and along with that growth are some challenges and skills that will continue to become more popular among job recruiters. According to a new survey by Computerworld, these are the top 5 most sought after IT skillsets:
1. IT Architecture
Number one on the list is IT Architects. The term itself refers to a wide range of specialists, including enterprise architects to cloud architects, and recruiters are saying that IT architecture expertise is increasingly in demand as companies continue to move forward with a variety of technology-driven projects — in fact, according to Computerworld, “42% of respondents with hiring plans said they will be seeking people with this skill in the next 12 months.”
So what skills and abilities do IT Architects need? Given the variety in the field, it depends on the specific role, but there are several key skills you need to have if you are looking for a position in this field: data modeling, understanding of frameworks, ability to use a variety of design tools, knowledge of UML, requirements analysis and management, the ability to visualize complex issues, the ability to communicate across communities, the ability to understand boundaries, analytic problem solving, and creative problem solving. For more details on these necessary foundational skills, check out this post at Dice.
2. Programming/App Development
Coming in at number 2 is programming and app development. 40% of respondents with hiring plans to the Computerworld survey have stated that they will be seeking people with this skill in the next 12 months. It should be no surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention that thanks to the rise of mobile and the increasing importance of the Internet of Things, demand for programmers and developers has been springing up in new areas as well. For example: some cars now come off the assembly line with a million lines of code. Programming is everywhere.
3. Project Management
The third most in demand skillset in IT is Project Management. 39% of respondents to the survey with hiring plans said they will be seeking people with this skill in the next 12 months, and with 46% of Forecast survey respondents expecting their technology spending to increase this year, it makes sense that project management is one of the most in-demand skills in the industry. More spending means more projects, and more projects mean that more project managers will be needed to stay on top of the tasks. Ken Grady, CIO at IDEXX Laboratories, a Maine based, pet healthcare diagnostics company, is one of the companies planning to hire at least three more project managers this year, and is looking for people who can help teams work within an agile and DevOps environment. As he explains, “It’s not a new skill, but the difference now is the way we iterate. The execution is much faster. So it takes a bit more finesse in expectation management and bringing people together. I’m looking for people who have the comfort with that pace and that approach. It’s as much fit as it is a particular skill set.”
So what does that mean in terms of skillsets you need to develop? The most important skills you need to build are organization and multitasking, taking charge and knowing how to lead, excellent communication skills, negotiation skills, being extremely detail oriented, recognizing and solving problems quickly, and finally, having a solid foundation in the necessary technical skills your team will be working with. Even if you yourself won’t be directly working with the platform and software your team members will, it’s important for you to have enough technical knowledge about the subject to be able to assign yourself to some of the tasks if necessary. If you’re able to show your team that you are also capable of taking on project tasks and completing them on time, you’ll earn their respect. For more details on the most essential project management skills, check out this post from CIO.
4. Big Data
Coming in at #4 is the ever ubiquitous Big Data. According to the survey, 36% of respondents with hiring plans said they will be seeking people with this skill in the next 12 months. When it comes to big data initiatives, “companies are typically looking for someone who can help them manage data and package that data,” says Reed, of Robert Half Technology. “[They want] people who can interpret and then help bring that data to life visually — building dashboards and things of that nature, so the executive suite can push through techspeak and understand what the data is telling them.”
For those who are looking to build a career in Big Data, that translates to building skills in Apache Hadoop, Apache Spark, NoSQL, Machine Learning and Data Mining, Statistical and Quantitative Analysis, SQL, Data Visualization, General Purpose Programming Languages (such as those the programmers will need, like Java and Python, or even Scala), and of course, Creativity and Problem Solving. For more info on top skills to land an awesome job in Big Data, take a look at this post from datanami.
5. Business Intelligence/Analytics
Rounding out the top 5 in most sought after IT skillsets in 2016 is Business Intelligence and Analytics. 34% of survey respondents with hiring plans indicated that they will be seeking people with this skill in the next 12 months. In general, hiring managers are in search of recruits who have technical expertise, but they also want to find BI specialists who understand both the business and the industry. If you’re a candidate who fits both these profiles, you might be able land a great position in the IT industry.
What are the main skills required for people with a business and analytics background who want to get into tech? Most importantly — and unsurprisingly — is the ability to communicate. As a business professional, it is extremely important for you to be articulate and interactive and to make sure that you can communicate highly technical information to a completely non-technical audience. In addition to communication, it’s essential that you work on your analytical skills, problem solving skills, decision-making skills, your ability to be flexible, and also how to negotiate and persuade. You should also understand the current IT applications that are being used. For a more detailed look at what business professionals need to do to succeed in the world of tech, check out this Udemy blog post.
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