Our advice: The IT skills perpetually in high demand are typically the softer, interpersonal ones, rather than hard, technical skills. But the technical skills in demand right now look strong for the next several months.
In a study of 40,000 IT workers that's updated quarterly by Foote Partners (a TAC affiliate), the following skills have grown the most in value in the past 12 months and will continue to be in demand in 2004. They are, in order of value: Linux, WebSphere, voice over IP, Gigabit Ethernet, and XML.
As for certified skills, these have been on a hot streak lately in value growth and employer demand:
This also is true for certified skills. Add to the list of high-paying certifications popular with employers the following:
Among "soft" skills and qualities perpetually in high demand, six appear regularly in the IT hiring plans across a broad spectrum of employers:
Moreover, in 2004, employers will be keen to hire and develop the following skills instead of simply "renting" them via contractors and consultants: negotiation; marketing; collaboration; business process; risk analysis; project management; conflict resolution; customer satisfaction; facilitation; problem solving; evaluation; prototyping and modeling; relationship and team building; interpersonal skills; and coaching/mentoring.
Finally, as frozen budgets begin to thaw, expect to see hiring for workers skilled in: storage; Web-enabled analytics; and security-related areas including identity management, intrusion detection and prevention, security event and information monitoring, vulnerability assessment and security monitoring, and hard-factor authentication.
-- David Foote
Peter Taglia, TAC Expert, has more than 20 years of IT experience from the vendor perspective, focused on process automation for eBusiness, eCRM, contact centers, telecomm operations support systems, E911, wireless and wireline networks via n-tier applications, integration, middleware, and portals. His experience includes complex planning, project management, financial justification, ROI, metrics and strategies for growth via opportunity assessment, product management, value innovation, benchmarking, and industry structure research for alliances, mergers, and competitive analysis.
Beth Cohen, TAC Thought Leader, has more than 20 years of experience building strong IT delivery organizations from both user and vendor perspectives. Having worked as a technologist for BBN, the company that literally invented the Internet, she not only knows where technology is today but where it's heading in the future.
David Foote, TAC Thought Leader, has more than 20 years of experience in technology including 13 years as an analyst and consultant at Gartner, Meta Group, and Foote Partners, where he is co-founder, president, and chief research officer. His specialties include a range of private and public-sector IT management practices and workforce trends and issues; offshore sourcing and strategic resource management; enterprise project delivery; organizational transition and transformation; and IT compensation. His editorial opinion columns, articles, and contributions appear regularly in a variety of business, IT, and HR publications, and in appearances on radio, television, and global Web casts.