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10 hottest IT skills for 2015

Mary K. Pratt | Nov. 19, 2014
Programmers and project managers rejoice: Your skills are bankable assets.

10. Big data

"20% of respondents said they plan to hire for this skill in the next 12 months.

"Last year's ranking: No. 11

In its September 2014 report titled "Fastest-Growing Tech Skills,"Dice reported that the number of postings related to big data on its IT jobs site grew 56% year over year. Moreover, the company noted that demand for big data expertise cuts across a number of industries, helping to boost not only demand for people with the right skills, but pay as well. "Data balloons every day, and therefore the amount of information we need to sift through to get at the real nuggets of value is exponentially bigger than it was a year ago," says HMS's Nustad. "And the executive team's awareness that the data brings value has created this surge in demand."

IT hiring: The tables have turned

The unemployment rate for IT professionals was just under 3% in September, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And given that figure, many CIOs say they realize that finding talent will be a tough and time-consuming endeavor.

As enterprise vice president and CIO at HMS, Nustad is trying to fill a number of positions -- from a project manager to enterprise architects. She says she has expanded the search nationwide, but it's still taking months to find people for some positions.

At the same time, demand for experienced IT professionals is so high that she has had to redouble her efforts to retain her talent, too.

"Our access to free-agent talent, it just doesn't exist," she says. "You're gently poaching from others, and protecting your turf."

According to Robert Half Technology's Hiring Index survey, 61% of CIOs believe it's very or somewhat challenging to find skilled IT professionals. The CIOs also reported that they expect to encounter the most difficulty filling positions in application development, networking and security. "There is certainly a supply-demand imbalance in some IT specialties," says RHT executive director John Reed.

On the other hand, when asked about business priorities for the coming 12 months, only 20% of the respondents to Computerworld's 2015 Forecast survey said that they consider attracting new talent a business priority. It ranked 10th on a list of 11 priorities for the upcoming year.

Some recruiters suggest that many hiring managers may be stuck in a recession-era mindset, thinking that experienced talent is easier to come by than it really is.

"Many hiring managers are very selective and only interested in applicants who possess all the skills and attributes they're seeking, which can make it more challenging to fill a position," Reed says. "The leaders who realize that IT talent trumps technology put hiring at the top of their priority list and create the urgency and enforce the message that bringing on top talent is of the utmost importance."


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