Careers: The Hot Jobs for 2011

As a new list of “Promising Jobs” proves, some IT skills never go out of style.

Just in time for the New Year staffing specialist Robert Half has published its list of “Promising Jobs” for 2011. As Robert Half’s list proves, some skills never go out of style.

Take ERP technical developers. IT pros with ERP skills have been in-demand – and commanding large salaries – for 15 years now.

That won’t change, according to Robert Half, which says that ERP technical developers – i.e., folks who specialize in customizing ERP software suites to suit the needs of specific organizations – should earn between $79,000 and $110,000 this year. That translates into a 5.2 percent bump over 2010.

Not bad in a time of essentially zero inflation.

Robert Half has ERP pros fourth in its overall tally of “Promising Jobs.” That makes them first among IT pros. Coming in at No. 1, overall, is another familiar job category: that of “senior business systems analyst.”

These pros should see their starting salaries increase by a robust 5 percent, with an average salary range of $67,000 to $86,000.

Business-oriented positions flesh out the second and third positions in Robert Half’s tally, too: financial analysts (at No. 2) and staff accountants (at No. 3) should be in demand (and compensated accordingly) in 2011.

The next IT-oriented position on Robert Half’s list – after that of ERP technical developer – is “business intelligence analyst.” These pros – many of whom already command six-digit salaries – should see an average increase of about 5 percent, such that starting pay for BI analysts ranges from $83,000 to $116,000.

At No. 5 is another BI-oriented job skill: data modeling. Starting pay for data modelers should increase by 4.5 percent; average compensation should range between $81,000 on the low-end to $111,000 for top-tier talent.

Programmers with skills tailored for mobile application development should be in-demand (and compensated accordingly) in 2011, too.

Average starting salary for mobile developers should range between $73,000 and $103,000. Here Robert Half hints at a tipping point of sorts: smartphones and tablet computers aren’t just popular among consumers, it notes; in 2011, enterprise shops will look to more effectively target mobile users, too.

Another new entry is that of “user experience” (or “UX”) designer. “As firms continue to seek greater revenue opportunities through digital initiatives, they require professionals with proven expertise in developing innovative and impactful online experiences for customers,” note Robert Half researchers, in a prepared release. IT pros with UX design skills will benefit from a list-leading spike in average starting salary (almost 8 percent) and should expect to command salaries of between $68,000 and $98,000.

While Robert Half’s list of “Promising Jobs” runs a wide gamut, researchers say there’s nonetheless a common theme.

"The common thread among the jobs highlighted in our research is that they help businesses improve efficiency and profits, and foster a more positive customer experience," said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International, in a statement. "The most successful job candidates bring multiple skill sets, a track record of success and a strong sense of accountability to their roles."