Thursday, July 19, 2007

12 IT skills that employers can't say no to

Have you spoken with a high-tech recruiter or professor of computer science lately? According to observers across the country, the technology skills shortage that pundits were talking about a year ago is real (see "Workforce crisis: Preparing for the coming IT crunch").

"Everything I see in Silicon Valley is completely contrary to the assumption that programmers are a dying breed and being offshored," says Kevin Scott, senior engineering manager at Google and a founding member of the professions and education boards at the Association for Computing Machinery. "From big companies to start-ups, companies are hiring as aggressively as possible."

Many recruiters say there are more open positions than they can fill, and according to Kate Kaiser, associate professor of IT at Marquette University in Milwaukee, students are getting snapped up before they graduate. In January, Kaiser asked the 34 students in the systems analysis and design class she was teaching how many had already accepted offers to begin work after graduating in May. Twenty-four students raised their hands. "I feel sure the other 10 who didn't have offers at that time have all been given an offer by now," she says.

Suffice it to say, the market for IT talent is hot, but only if you have the right skills. If you want to be part of the wave, take a look at what eight experts -- including recruiters, curriculum developers, computer science professors and other industry observers -- say are the hottest skills of the near future.