Forecast 2010: 6 hottest skills for 2010

By Mary Brandel, Computerworld |  IT Management

Cooke says the network will be a big area of focus in the coming year. Energy Northwest is making increasing use of video and voice over its IP network, so it will need network, voice and radio engineers to handle upgrades and ensure compliance with new federal mandates. One of those mandates requires the company to move from wideband to narrowband radio frequencies.

Patterson sees Scottrade dabbling with a converged infrastructure in the next 12 months, driving a need for people with a mix of server, software and networking skills to support networked storage and server devices contained in a single chassis. "This will change the market for the type of people we need," he says. "It won't be just a guy who knows EMC and Hitachi storage, but [one] who knows server, storage and networking all in one device. We'll need a guy who says, 'The network has a problem here,' but when he traces it down, the problem is due to a lock on a table in the storage device."

4. Project Management

Silver sees project management as an area that is growing in importance and a good avenue for technology professionals interested in building up their careers. "Professionals who understand technology and how it fits in the overall business strategy are the ones who add the most value, get paid more and have the most fulfilling careers," he says.

5. Security

Willmer sees a relationship between demand for security skills and the still-shaky economy. "The biggest threat to companies is breaches by their own staff," he says. "When you throw in changes to the staff and disgruntled employees losing their benefits or facing the threat of being laid off, you increase the chances of network fraud or security infringement."

Meanwhile, Cooke is concentrating on hiring people with cybersecurity skills. "Ten years ago, we didn't worry -- as leaders in our companies -- about things like passwords," he says. "Now we're making sure we support complex passwords. That's just a new reality."

Energy Northwest is looking for recent graduates who studied computer engineering and digital controls to help upgrade its manufacturing systems from analog to digital. "They need to understand how those systems should be protected, given the security world we're operating in," Cooke says, citing new federal regulations and threat warnings emanating from the Department of Homeland Security.

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