As IT jobs Increase, Necessary Skill Sets Evolve

December 18, 2012

During a period when the U.S. economy has remained stagnant, the tech sector has received mostly good news. For example, a recent survey by Robert Half Technology found that companies will likely be hiring IT workers at increased rates in the first quarter of 2013.

"CIOs report higher demand for IT professionals in the first quarter, especially for those with skills in hot areas such as applications development and IT security," said John Reed, senior executive director at Robert Half Technology.

More than 90 percent of CIOs said they expect to maintain or expand their IT departments in the next three months. At the same time, the required skill sets for IT jobs are constantly evolving.

In addition to cybersecurity specialists, 48 percent of respondents listed database management as their company's biggest need, 47 percent cited network administration and nearly one-third said website development and design.

Unique skills in demand
The evolving skill sets of IT professionals likely have a direct correlation to the flurry of innovative technology that has been introduced to the corporate world in recent years.

"Salaries are rising for candidates who can help organizations leverage new technologies to increase efficiencies, gain business insights and produce superior customer experiences," Reed said. "In some cases, there's a shortage of individuals available to fill these highly specialized positions, which is driving up starting compensation levels."

According to a separate report by Robert Half Technology, the six highest-paid IT jobs are in line to see major bumps in average salary in the coming years. For instance, network architects are projected to see a 7 percent increase in annual income, with starting salaries ranging from $102,520 to $146,500. Salaries for interactive creative directors, interaction designers and user experience designers are all expected to jump nearly 5 percent.

Meanwhile, as business intelligence (BI) solutions rapidly gain popularity, the need for BI specialists will likely grow as well. Business intelligence analysts are projected to see the biggest spike in average salary, jumping 7.3 percent. Big data analytics alone will produce an estimated 4.4 million IT jobs worldwide, according to Gartner.

Cloud computing has also played a significant role in changing the high-tech sector. As a report CIO Magazine report pointed out, companies have a growing need for cloud architects as they continue to implement cloud-based solutions. IT professionals who specialize in cloud security and cloud implementation are becoming more important, too.