Careers: What IT Skills are in Greatest Demand

What's it take to get hired in IT these days? Skills, for starters.

What's it take to get hired in IT these days? Skills, for starters.

In IT, as in other professional sectors, some skill sets are more valuable than others. Increasingly, expertise in specific skill areas -- such as mobile-media or mobile application development, financial services or healthcare security, and business intelligence or data warehousing -- is commanding a premium.

According to IT staffing specialist Robert Half Technology, skill sets in these four technology areas are particularly in demand, with the need for mobile expertise outpacing all other skills.

"The demand for professionals who can help companies take advantage of new technologies, such as mobile media or popular collaboration tools, is outpacing the supply in some cases," said John Reed, executive director of Robert Half Technology, in a prepared release. "This has resulted in higher starting salaries within certain specialty areas."

As a result, demand for IT pros with mobile-media or mobile application development skills continues to outstrip the available supply.

One upshot of this is that starting salaries for IT pros with mobile app-dev skills are expected to increase by almost 10 percent next year, to a range of between $85,000 and $122,500. Fueling this demand is an almost insatiable appetite for mobile gadgetry. "Continued growth of smartphones and tablets is heightening the demand for individuals with experience creating and organizing content for the small screen," according to the Robert Half release.

IT pros with business intelligence (BI) or analytic expertise are likewise in-demand, thanks chiefly to exploding data volumes. According to Robert Half, BI analysts should benefit from an average 6.3 percent increase in starting salaries, boosting pay to between $87,750 and $123,500. Thanks to an ever-evolving IT security threat landscape, IT pros with security skills continue to be in-demand, too. As a result, starting salaries for data security analysts -- particularly in key industries such as banking or health-care -- are projected to increase by 6 percent, which should boost pay to between $89,000 and $121,000, according to the Robert Half release.

Finally, the social media boom should result in a net boom -- in terms of increased starting salaries -- for IT pros with the requisite skills. "As firms increase their use of internal social media to facilitate collaboration and online learning, there's an increasing need for software developers, especially those with SharePoint and .NET experience," the Robert Half release points out.

Base compensation for social media-savvy developers should increase by 6.5 percent in 2012, boosting pay to between $70,000 and $111,000.

About the Author

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