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April 15, 2011

Today's Most Desired Information Technology Skills

In today’s economy, many companies seeking information technology professionals have raised the bar for what they expect out of their IT department. As information technology has ventured far away from the conventional personal computer and single programmer and entered the realm of technology integration, those in the IT field have been forced to follow suit with these expectations.

Employers are now in search of business prospects specializing in both information and communications technologies – professionals who not only possess technical expertise, but can also offer basic business skills including management, graphic design and communications. As the health of the economy improves, businesses are investing in an onslaught of applications, technical projects and infrastructures that necessitate highly skilled and qualified IT programmers and project managers.

Unfortunately, IT professionals are not only up against a competitive market, but are also faced with an increasing number of companies cutting down on IT staff and introducing new technologies that will automate operations and decrease costs, according to Computerworld.com. Therefore, it is best for IT professionals out on the job market to possess skills in the following:

1. Technical Support: The ability to migrate a company to the most up-to-date software and maintain a thorough understanding of how it works for any troubleshooting that may arise.

2. Application Development and Programming: In an ever-changing environment, it is necessary for IT professionals to possess applications expertise for the introduction of new products and innovations.

3. Security and Risk Management: Regulatory compliance needs and an increasing demand for tools with implemented security features are driving demand for valuable security skills. It is expected IT staff should be experts in encryption, data loss prevention, compliance and auditing, Web content filtering, e-discovery support, and threat and vulnerability evaluation.

4. Network Administration: With an increased usage in video and VoIP, companies will require network, voice and radio experts to manage upgrades and oversee compliance with federal mandates. IT professionals should be familiar with server, storage and networking in order to efficiently solve issues.

5. Project Management: This comes into play for the oversight of Web and mobile initiatives and rollouts of newer products. Therefore, IT professionals must stay up to date on emerging technologies and applications so the company they work for can benefit, as well. According to a poll by Monster.com, more than half of those planning to make new hires this year will seek out candidates with project management skills.

6. Business Intelligence: Technology experts should be able to take knowledge of computer-based technologies and apply them to the identification, extraction and analysis of business data for contribution to a company’s profitability.

7. Unified Communications (News - Alert): With several areas of the enterprise integrating with unified communications solutions, it’s important for IT staff to understand these technologies as a value to the company and recommend new ways of doing business that provide a competitive advantage to the company. IT professionals should be familiar with today’s integrations with e-mail, instant messaging and conferencing capabilities.

8. Mobile Devices/Applications: IT professionals should have basic knowledge of the tools used to migrate applications, data and configuration settings to mobile devices and smartphones. With much of Internet searching and daily communications moving to smartphones, and companies requiring employees to use a separate phone for business purposes, this opens up a whole new arena for opportunities in the IT market.

9. Data Center: Storage experience, as well as data center expertise, is in high demand in today’s IT world, according to Computerworld.com. Individuals should have analytical skills for choosing the most cost-friendly and appropriate storage-area network for the company.

10. Social Media: This isn’t completely necessary, but it may appeal largely to organizations looking to effectively get its message and news out to the world, as well as connect with other partners and companies in the industry.


Tammy Wolf is a TMCnet copy editor. She also writes articles for TMCnet on a wide range of topics, including IP communications and information technology. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Janice McDuffee

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