September 24, 2012, 11:43 AM — The number of companies planning to hire tech professionals continues to grow, with 33% of the 334 IT executives who responded to Computerworld's 2013 Forecast survey saying they plan to increase head count in the next 12 months.
This is the third year in a row that the percentage of respondents with hiring plans has risen -- up from 29% last year, 23% in 2010 and 20% in 2009.
"When you look at just about any research or market trend, IT is one of the top two or three always mentioned as a bright spot in the job market, and it's pretty simple why," says John Reed, senior executive director at staffing firm Robert Half Technology. "When you look at technology, it drives so much of what business does, from productivity to communication to improving speed to making better business decisions. So companies are investing in that, and you have to have the people experienced in doing that."
Of course, IT leaders aren't hiring technologists indiscriminately. They're seeking specific skills to deliver what the business needs to compete today. Here's a look at the top 10 skills for 2013.
1. Programming and Application Development
" 60% plan to hire for this skill in the next 12 months.
Companies put off projects during the recession, but now they're playing catch-up and looking for staff to keep up, according to Reed.
"Technology and software are great ways for companies to improve productivity, lower costs and create better Web presence," he says, adding that companies will need staffers to create new and better technology to do those things.
That's the case at San Francisco-based Wells Fargo, says Jason Griffin, vice president and technology talent acquisition manager. "Our top needs are in programming and application development," he says. "We're just looking for more to meet the business need. The business [units] are investing in new products, they're looking for ways to provide products and services to meet customer needs."
Griffin, like others, says he's specifically looking for people with experience in Java, J2EE and .Net.
2. Project Management
" 40% plan to hire for this skill in the next 12 months.
The ongoing need for project management skills tracks with the continuing need for programmers: Both are responses to the demand for new applications that businesses need to compete.
"More projects mean more project managers," Reed says, noting that companies want experience as well as credentials, such as the Project Management Professional designation.