Careers: In-Demand IT Skills for 2006

Mainframe professionals need not despair: disaster recovery, system auditing, and enterprise application integration skills or experience are eagerly sought

What’s hot for 2006? According to salary researcher and management consultancy Foote Partners LLC, data management (DM) is a sizzling technology sector. DM skills are in high demand, with data warehousing and business intelligence (BI) specialists, ERP and CRM professionals, and database administrators (DBA) and database developers among the hottest of the hot.

Foote’s tracks 50,000 private and public sector IT workers and 1,800 North American employers in a variety of geographic locales, vertical markets, and market segments. Small and medium-sized enterprises are amply represented, as are Global 2000 and Fortune 500 organizations. All told, 43 percent of the companies Foote surveys post more than $500 million in annual sales, while 25 percent are $1 billion-and-over entities, and 12 percent produce over $3 billion in revenue.

DM skills are most highly sought by companies looking to fill customer-facing positions, but opportunities abound for other IT pros, too. For example, application development is a red-hot technology sector, according to Foote researchers. In fact, over the next 12 months, the skills of programmers with EAI, .NET, Web application, ERP, or CRM development skills should be highly sought.

Help desk specialists should also fare fairly well over the next 12 months. This is good news for two technology sectors that, in the past, have been among the first to go offshore.

"This … [is] where the action will be in IT for the next twelve months, and also where our compensation surveys are indicating the best pay opportunities for IT professionals. Demand will be elevated for many reasons, plus many of these jobs and skills will be only selectively outsourced or offshored, according to our latest research,” said co-founder and president David Foote, in a statement.

Elsewhere, the infrastructure roles companies are most anxious to fill shouldn’t surprise anyone. Security skills—particularly with respect to forensic security, security analyst, and senior security management skills—are in demand, along with data modeling skills, network management and engineering, wireless administration and engineering, and software engineering.

Of interest to mainframe pros: disaster recovery, system auditing, and enterprise application integration skills or experience should also be in demand.

Demand for visionary IT roles is expected to increase, with enterprise and business architects, business technologists and business analysts, process modelers—particularly those versed in business performance management, business process management, and business activity monitoring—in short supply.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.