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8 Hot IT Jobs For 2014

What IT skills and roles will be in demand this year? Recruiters share the scoop.

10 Jobs Destined For Robots
10 Jobs Destined For Robots
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Sorry, IT job-hunters: If you're hoping for surprising predictions about what 2014 has in store, you're probably going to come away dissatisfied. That's because it's unlikely there will be any seismic shifts that completely upend the technology skills, roles, and titles that employers want.

"There's nothing that I would say is the new 'hottest thing ever' " coming in 2014, said Jack Cullen, president of IT staffing firm Modis, in an interview.

Indeed, much of what follows should sound familiar. This could be a good thing. Earth-shattering predictions have a knack for missing the mark. (Apocalypse 2012, anyone?) So the job-market calls that Cullen and other industry experts shared with InformationWeek are more realistic and more useful if you're looking for a new position in 2014. Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Big data experts. Yesterday's buzzword is tomorrow's hot job market. While the hype around big data isn't new, Cullen thinks actual hiring in the category will start to gain tangible ground in 2014. "The area where I think we'll see some pickup, that people are still trying to figure out, is this whole world around big data -- whether it's products like Hadoop or big data analytics" or other relevant skills, Cullen told us.

2. Business intelligence (BI) designers. Tom Hart, CMO of staffing firm Eliassen, offered another specific example within the big data universe: the ability to turn all of that information into stuff the executive suite, marketing, and other non-technical business units can actually understand and use. (PowerPoint achieved popularity for a reason, people.) Enter BI designers.

[Are you aiming for the corner office? Read IT Millennials: CEO Or Bust.]

"There are plenty of companies that can help you to store data, build redundancy into storage, and normalize the data for efficient storage and access," Hart said via email. "But there's clearly a shortfall of talented developers that can help you to interpret and present the data in a meaningful way, in the form of executive-level or business-level dashboards, guiding the decision-making process through the intelligent discerning and representation of that stored data."

3. DevOps experts with cloud and mobility skills. We're cheating a bit here. IT pros with serious DevOps chops are in high demand right now, according to Kevin Gorham, recruiting manager at Hollister. That's going to continue in 2014; DevOps experts who build and maintain cloud infrastructure and mobile apps are sitting pretty in the labor market.

"If I have people with this skill set, I can call my clients and easily get several interviews set up for these candidates. They really are a walking placement," Gorham told us in an email. "They can command higher salaries, and I'll often get into a bidding war with my clients over these potential hires. Developers who are more of an engineer and can program and script in Linux -- not your just your run-of-mill admins -- are highly marketable, too."

4. Linux pros. Indeed, while "Linux" and "hot" don't often appear in the same breath, IT pros with Linux expertise will remain in demand in the coming year. In 2013, the "Linux Jobs Report" -- produced by and the Linux Foundation -- found that three out of four Linux pros had received calls from headhunters in the previous six months. Meanwhile, 90% of hiring managers reported difficulties filling Linux positions.

Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, expects even more favorable conditions for Linux job seekers in 2014.

"Demand for Linux professionals continues to go up and represents a multi-year trend that is the result of Linux becoming more and more ubiquitous. It is the software that runs our lives, and we need more systems administrators and developers to keep up with the growth," Zemlin said via email. He attributes much of the demand to wider business adoption of open-source technologies in general, and added that the Linux Foundation will ramp up online learning and advanced training opportunities in the coming year to help meet demand. "If you're an IT professional looking for long-term career growth, there is no better place to be than working with open-source."

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User Rank: Guru
1/4/2014 | 10:19:46 AM
Re: DevOps+ cloud and mobile skills
"Just last week someone told me that there are no more server administrators, now that everything is virtualized."

That's pretty funny, in a Dilbert sort of way. Hope your statement is satirical. 

It's not always. We actually had a meeting with IT in which we were discussing our request for a new Linux server. They insisted that it had to be a virtual server, not a physical one, until we pointed out that the isolated network on which it was to be installed didn't *have* any physical servers yet!

*Every* server can't be virtual. And even virtual servers require administration! :-)
User Rank: Ninja
1/3/2014 | 6:18:51 PM
Re: DevOps+ cloud and mobile skills
Susan - I am a fan of the old series Le Femme Nikita. The world of the show was very shadowy, super deep spy stuff, at a place called simply "Section". Nikita was told that she had been put on "Active Status". Later, she asked her only confidant what exactly that meant. She was told:

"It means whatever they want it to mean. Until they decide it means something else."

"Devops" really seems to mean different things to different people. Strictly speaking, I suspect that most have a misunderstanding of the 'correct' and intended meaning. But in a practical sense, does it matter? If everyone starts calling it blue when they see the color red, before long, blue *is* red.

I think in this case, Section had it right.
Susan Fogarty
Susan Fogarty,
User Rank: Author
1/3/2014 | 4:09:33 PM
Re: DevOps+ cloud and mobile skills
TerryB, thanks for checking into that. You are right that many of these are not necessarily jobs but specific processes or functions. Linux is especially interesting, now that you bring it up. Just last week someone told me that there are no more server administrators, now that everything is virtualized. Hopefully those Linux pros are keeping up with the times.
User Rank: Ninja
1/3/2014 | 1:48:25 PM
Re: DevOps+ cloud and mobile skills
Good question. I had to look it up. According to Wikipedia, it's more of a methodology/process than a job. Seems like it is trying to increase the scope of what Agile is trying to do in development, bringing the management of release cycles and application capacity into the mix.

That seems to be where it ties into the cloud/mobile thing, because those are a big deal as opposed to developing applications for your inhouse business.

Many of these "jobs" listed strike me as funny in the same way as DevOps.  BI for example. Isn't every developer's task to create information out of raw data? I'm not sure because you now have terabytes instead of megabytes the function has fundamentally changed, just a different toolset to get it done at that scale. Some developers have always been more gifted than others at making that happen.

I loved the Linux one also. Linux is an o/s, not a programming language. You don't create anything directly with Linux. And if you need an o/s admin for Linux itself, seems like a step back to the old days where IBM mainframes had System Programmers who had nothing to do with application development. And the comment about "open source being hot", I think about the Indiana Jones movie where the old knight says "Choose wisely, one chalice will give you immortality, others will kill you". If you know the winners and losers (long term) in the open source world, you are far more gifted than me.
User Rank: Author
1/3/2014 | 11:55:22 AM
Program Managers?
One job category not listed, but is likely to be in high demand within the federal government in 2014, especailly after the fiasco: IT Program Managers who know how to manage large scale projects.
D. Henschen
D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
1/3/2014 | 11:15:04 AM
Cloud takes a bite out of SAP/Oracle Jobs?
I find Cullen's observation about flat demand for Oracle and SAP skills very interesting. Is it a matter of the "expensive, cyclical, and sometimes slow-moving nature of large enterprise software deployments," or is it the start of a long-term move to cloud-based apps? Workday, NetSuite, Kenandy, QAD, Plex System and other cloud players are taking market share from somewhere.
Susan Fogarty
Susan Fogarty,
User Rank: Author
1/3/2014 | 10:30:03 AM
Re: DevOps+ cloud and mobile skills
Laurie, I noticed the exact same thing, and it definitely coincides with the pressure readers say they are facing to learn new skills. I have found, however, quite a bit of disagreement over the term DevOps and what people think it means. Who can set the record straight?
User Rank: Author
1/3/2014 | 10:11:14 AM
DevOps+ cloud and mobile skills
Interesting that the term "bidding war" comes up for this skill set. Does this match with what you're seeing, IT pros?
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