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Top Ten Skills in Demand in 2010…

Top Ten Skills in Demand in 2010…

By Linda Leung.

In the Global Knowledge/TechRepublic 2010 Salary Survey, conducted at the end of last year, one of the questions put to respondents was “What skill set will your company be looking to add in 2010?” The skills listed by respondents  include perennial favourites: security, network administration & Windows administration. Also included are virtualization/cloud computing & Web development. Meanwhile, an old favourite, business analysis, makes a comeback. Here’s the complete list, with the No. 1 skill listed being in the highest demand.

1) PROJECT MANAGEMENT:

As we emerge from the recession, organizations aren’t likely to go back to the go-go days of throwing money at IT initiatives or taking risks & deploying without careful thought & planning. Organizations are putting pressure on IT to only implement projects that can show real return-on-investment. The first step to achieving a good ROI is professional project planning & implementation.

Project management skills often appear in top ten skills lists, perhaps because some organizations got their fingers burnt in the 1990s through poor implementation of IT projects such as enterprise resource planning initiatives. But even though the profession is mature (in IT terms), project managers still have work to do to advance their status within organizations. According to an article on the Project Management Institute Website, project managers still have to develop their people skills, organizational leadership & individual professionalism.

2) SECURITY:

It’s a never-ending game of cat & mouse for security professionals & 2009 proved to be another fun filled year. According to Symnatec’s Security & Storage Trends To Watch report, the number of spam messages containing malware increased nine-fold to represent more than 2% of e-mails, while other criminals manipulated people’s love of social networking sites to launch attacks. Twitter, for example, spent much of 2009 battling DDoS & other attacks. Meanwhile, top headlines, such as the H1N1 flu & the death of Michael Jackson were used by criminals to lure people to download malware.

Symnatec predicts more of the same in 2010, warning that attackers will continue to use social engineering to get to consumers’ sensitive data & criminals will take Windows 7 as a challenge for seeking & exploiting vulnerabilities in the new platform. Mac & smartphones will also be targeted more by malware authors, Symnatec says.

Despite the economic challenges of ’09, organizations continued to hire security pros. The most sought-after security skills were information risk management, operations security, certification & accreditation, security management practices and security architecture & models according to a survey last year of 1,500 U.S. based security pros by security certification provider ISC2. 2010 is expected to be another busy year from security professionals.

3) NETWORK ADMINISTRATION:

Networking Administration skills never lose their luster. It’s the second most sought after skill in the Global Knowledge survey & it will be the top skill sought by CIOs in the first quarter of 2010, according to a survey of IT chiefs by Robert Half Technology. In 2010, organizations are expected to upgrade to Windows Server 2008 R2 & the Windows 7 client & perhaps install Exchange Server 2010 & SharePoint 2010. Enterprises are going to need network administrators to ensure network traffic continues to move without a hitch.

Meanwhile, Cisco hopes to push more data-intensive traffic onto corporate networks. Video is a key focus for Cisco in 2010 as it works to finalize its control of video conferencing maker Tandberg & through its 2009 purchase of Pure Digital, developer of the Flip video camera. At the end of last year, Cisco introduced two TelePresence certifications: the Cisco TelePresence Solutions Specialist for midcareer voice or networking engineers seeking to specialize in the planning, design & implementation of Cisco TelePresence & TelePresence Installation Specialist aimed at installation technicians.

4) VIRTUALIZATION – CLOUD:

The projected cost savings & efficiencies are no-brainers for organizations seeking to implement virtualization & cloud computing. With the cloud computing space now taking shape, it’s difficult for enterprises to find pros with substantial relevant experience. Instead, companies are drawing expertise from a range of IT skill sets, including storage, networks & desktop, according to a Network World article. Initially, companies will set up cross-functional teams to buy & develop virtualization but eventually cloud computing will be an expected skill of systems administrators. In a few years, it could even be a standard skill set of all IT pros because it touches different aspects of IT.

For details about virtualization certifications from leading virtualization software vendors VMware, Citrix & Microsoft, see Global Knowledge’s Top IT Certifications in Demand Today newsletter of June 2009.

5) BUSINESS ANALYSIS:

Business analysis roles were commonplace in many organizations in the 1990s when big projects such as enterprise resource planning initiatives, required the critical thinking that business analysts could provide. But as businesses began moving at a faster pace, business analysis fell by the wayside. Factors such as the economic downturn & regulatory compliance have forced companies to take a step back & to think through business problems & their solutions & business analysis is making a comeback, as a result. Kathleen Barret, President of the International Institute of Business Analysts says the discipline is a phoenix rising.

The IIBA describes the job of a BA as a “liaison  among stakeholders in order to elicit, analyze, communicate & validate requirements for changes to business processes, policies & information systems.” IT pros are good candidates for BA jobs because they have a broad perspective of a company’s business, says Barret. There are three types of BAs:

  1. Enterprise BAs who identify opportunities for business change & defines the work to be done;
  2. Transition BAs who fine-tunes the plans &
  3. Project BAs who work on project teams that implement the changes.

Annual salaries average around $ 75,000 with enterprise & transition analysts earning more, Barret says.

6) BUSINESS PROCESS IMPROVEMENT:

With project management & business analysis skills appearing in the skills list, it’s no surprise that business process improvement skill is also here. Business process improvement & business analysis identify areas for improvements to business processes while business process improvement or management pros use BPM techniques & technologies to help companies optimize their business processes.

A recent BPM survey by IT researchers, the Aberdeen Group says the top reasons business are driving BPM activity are the need to reduce operating costs & to improve cash flow. However, the top barrier to adoption was the lack of knowledge about BPM. According to Gartner, among the competencies required for successful BPM initiatives include process skills, tools & process assets and transformation skills.

To learn more about BPM, go to the Website of the Business Process Management Initiative (BPMI.org), which promotes the standadization of common business processes & the BPMinstitute.org, which describes itself as a peer-to-peer exchange for business process management professionals.

7) WEB DEVELOPMENT:

If you are — or know friends who are — addicted to the Farmville game on Facebook, you’ll know the power of Web development. In just a few short months, Farmville’s popularity has spread across the globe as Facebook fans tend to their farms & purchase virtual goods. The game, including other by Farmville developer Zynga, has netted the start-up more than 200 million monthly unique users for its online apps. One financial analyst reckons Zynga could be valued at $ 1 billion if it were to go IPO in mid-2010.

Developing Facebook games is just one extreme of the vast Web development spectrum. Building iPhone could also be very profitable, writes Web developer & blogger Glen Stansberry. As moderator of the Freelance Switch job board, Stansberry listed other popular Web development skills including Framework knowledge, widget development, content management system customizations (for small businesses looking to create a unique look to their standard WordPress & Drupal blogs) & Javascript Plugin creation.

8) DATABASE MANAGEMENT:

Databases are the hearts of key business systems that drive payroll, manufacturing, sales, transaction processing & more. Programmers must be able to build programs that quickly & efficiently interface with the database management system (DBMS), while database administrators “must be able to bring the full power of databse features to bear on business problems”, writes Oracle & IBM certified DBA Howard Fosdick in his whitepaper Database Skills Availability: Critical to Your Selection of Database. “DBA expertise can be the Achilles’ heel of databse projects – many IT projects have failed due to the inability to secure DBA talent or successfully address DBA issues,” he adds.

The major database vendors are Oracle, IBM & Sybase. Oracle runs three main certification programs for database professionals. Oracle Certified Associate is the first rung of the Oracle certification ladder. Next is the flagship Oracle Certified Professional (OCP) credential which certifies an individual’s ability to manage, develop or implement enterprise-wide databases & other software. Oracle Certified Master (OCM) is Oracle’s most advanced accreditation. IBM offers a dizzying array of certifications surrounding its DB2 product series. The main credentials are IBM Certified Database Associate, Database Administrator, Application Developer & Advanced Database Administrator. Sybase has two sets of certifications for its Adaptive Server Enterprise Product: ASE Administrator Associate & ASE Administrator Professional and ASE Developer Associate and ASE Developer Professional.

9) WINDOWS ADMINISTRATION:

As previously mentioned, Microsoft shops are expected in 2010 to upgrade to Windows Server 2008 R2 & the Windows 7 client and perhaps install Exchange Server 2010 & SharePoint 2010 as well. Windows administration skills is going to be key for many enterprises implementing & maintaining existing & upgraded systems.

Microsoft Windows Server 2008 certifications at the MCTS level cover configurations for Active Directory, networking & applications. Certifications available for the MCITP level are Server 2008 Server Administration & Enterprise Administration. In a November blog posting in Microsoft’s Born to Learn blog, the company wrote that the first of its Windows 2008 virtualization exams would be entering beta soon. The exams will cover virtualization, desktop virtualization & virtualization administration. Windows 7 pros can certify as MCTS: Windows 7 Configuration & MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator 7.

10) DESKTOP SUPPORT:

Our recent article “Top Certifications in Demand Today” listed desktop support as a hot skill. In Global Knowledge’s 2010 salary survey, it was named as the 10th most sought-after skill this year. In the June article, we quoted Robert Half Technology Executive Director Dave Willmer saying that businesses will need desktop support personnel to support new workers as organizations begin hiring as the economy improves. The introduction of Windows 7 is also expected to generate additional interest.

Microsoft currently provides the MCITP: Customer Support Technician & MCITP: Enterprise Support Technician certifications. but they are based on Windows Vista. Microsoft, in its Born to Learn blog, in November said it is working on a MCITP: Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Support Technician certification. Prospective candidates are advised to prepare for 680: Win 7, Configuring & 685: Win 7, EDST.

Source: BDPA Detroit TAC: Top Ten Skills in Demand in 2010…