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Demand for information technology professionals is expected to climb in 2014. According to a Computerworld survey, 32 percent of companies anticipate hiring additional IT staff. Much of this growth is driven by interconnected workplaces, electronic marketing strategies and a renewed focus on security in corporate and retail environments.
Based on predictions from a number of industry experts, here are some of the most in-demand IT jobs—and the skills required to get them.
Software developers and engineers
Programmers and application developers will be in high demand, both at information technology companies and in other industries, like small businesses. Software development is one of the fastest-growing occupations, according to Mashable, as more organizations want custom content or programs for their brand or employees. In addition to technical know-how, employers value agility, speed and diversity of ideas in their developers, the source noted.
As a subcategory, the rise of mobile for e-commerce and the workplace has created a high demand for mobile app developers. Businesses want to offer branded mobile apps to engage customers, and corporations are exploring ways to increase productivity by offering company apps for employees to use on their mobile devices. Knowledge of HTML5 and multiple operating systems is a great asset for IT job seekers.
IT help desk and technical support services
As companies expand their IT infrastructure in more complex and pervasive ways, they need IT professionals to maintain the system, assist with problems and train employees to use the resources correctly. U.S. organizations are beginning to shift away from outsourcing their IT help, Computerworld explained. IT help desk professionals will also need to be able to assist with an increasing variety of devices and customized programs.
IT network services and security
Along similar lines, organizations need network administrators and database managers to help facilitate cloud-based services and wireless networks. Professionals who have knowledge of local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), Internet, intranet, and designing as well as setting up networks from scratch will find plenty of IT career opportunities, Mashable noted. The health industry, for example, is expanding its use of wireless medical technology as it continues to implement electronic health record software, Computerworld said.
Security will form an essential component of network administration. Retailers are especially interested in securing customer data in the wake of the Target breach, and bring-your-own-device policies in the corporate world call for a number of well-designed security policies and measures. As businesses deal with an increasingly connected work environment, enterprise architecture skills will be in high demand, CIO.com reported.
Business intelligence and Big Data analytics
According to Computerworld, business intelligence analysts are rising to the top of the IT job list. Companies that want a competitive edge are turning to business intelligence to make better inventory decisions and to market more effectively. However, across industries, despite the availability of Big Data, corporate leaders are struggling to turn numbers into actionable insights. Therefore, they need professional analysts to develop reports and assess data.
According to Villanova University, companies are expected to spend twice as much on business intelligence as software by 2016, though they will probably struggle to find people with the skills they require. To be competitive for business analyst jobs, IT professionals can develop skills in relational databases, SQL, basic programming, reporting software and analysis, the university advised.
Additional skills useful across IT careers
For many IT positions, organizations want experts who are good communicators, collaborators and time-managers. Industry-specific knowledge, such as sales or healthcare expertise, can also give IT candidates an advantage, as they are better able to understand the company's needs and communicate with other roles. Villanova also noted that having a macro-perspective, or a broader, team-oriented mindset, helps IT professionals focus on how their work impacts the entire enterprise.