While IT professionals are consistently in high demand, staying at the top of their field sometimes feels like aiming at a moving target. The “best of the best” are perpetual learners who constantly hone their craft, while maintaining a deep understanding of the constants. So, what are the most in-demand IT skills for 2015? We’re glad you asked!
The use of smartphones, tablets and even wearables continues to rise and companies need to deliver their services to the devices their consumers are using. From a technical standpoint, the mobile classification is an umbrella for a rather broad set of skills. Native iOS and Android development continue to grow, though some companies are having success with cross-platform tools such as Titanium, Phonegap and Xamarin. For many, the answer is having a website optimized for mobile platforms through concepts such as responsive design. Responsive websites and cross-platform tools allow companies to leverage their existing workforce as they embrace mobility.
In each of these platforms for mobile development, one item remains of utmost importance: user experience. Designing an application for mobile is all about meeting your user where they live, and making an application that is both easy to use and engaging.
2. Big Data
These days, every move we make online is tracked by someone, somewhere, as is easily evidenced by digital ads. Education, Government, Healthcare and major corporations have been collecting huge amounts of data, but how are they managing all of this information? Big data is essentially finding clever ways of mining data and discovering business intelligence you didn’t know before. Big Data is predicted to grow by 40 percent per year into the next decade, reaching over 40 zettabytes (a zettabyte is a billion terabytes) by the year 2020.
Professionals who can process enormous amounts of data in real time are in particular demand, with Hadoop staying at the top of the tool list. Using sophisticated analytics to transform large volumes of data into actionable insights on a timely basis will allow for proactive and insightful business decisions.
We’ve all seen the fallout from highly publicized (and expensive) security attacks, which has companies large and small seeking out security experts. High profile security failures in the last year have led companies to bring their security function in-house for better control and oversight. Security is a broad term in IT, with a key role in many areas such as software development and networking.
As many companies begin to adopt bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies, there is an increased need for mobile security, which is an even more demanding skill set. Understanding the risks in an ever-evolving and complex environment that spans a multitude of platforms and users presents a great challenge. It takes highly skilled engineers to proactively detect and deflect threats.
Demand for cloud computing has grown more than 30 percent in the past year, making it a highly coveted skill that is expected to continue to grow. Businesses are seeking Cloud Solution Architects and Cloud Integration Engineers as they build out and utilize new environments.
What’s the key experience being sought? Migration, integration and developer knowledge of different APIs. Rarely will a person’s job be focused solely on the cloud. More likely, everyone in your IT department will interact with it in some way. Professionals who have familiarity with one of the major stacks (Azure, OpenStack), are able to work with web services and APIs, are knowledgeable in virtualization or have touched on Disaster Recovery essentials are well suited to embark on this frontier.
While having strong interpersonal skills is in no way unique to IT, they will undoubtedly help you stand out from your peers. At the top of the list, we see interpersonal communication. It is imperative that IT professionals possess the ability to speak using terms that are familiar to the various business domains (such as sales, marketing, healthcare and manufacturing). This effective communication also allows the business to better understand how IT can help them be even more efficient, in turn helping the business more easily recognize the value of IT.