As an educator and general technology enthusiast, I am always interested in what skills are in demand in the tech market. I have always seen them as a barometer of where technology is now and, perhaps more importantly, where it might possibly be headed. So when I saw that Computerworld’s tweet on the “Hottest IT Skills for 2015,” I had to stop what I was doing and give it a read.
Overall, there wasn’t much in the article that I saw as particularly surprising. Application development was tops on the list and the usual suspects of business intelligence/analytics, security, and mobile were all represented. However, while the composition of the list was uneventful (for the most part), the movement of the skills on the list did cause an eyebrow raise or two. For example, project management skills moved from #5 on the list to #2. The lead researcher for SIM’s Tech Trends study (just released at their conference in Denver) seems to believe that this is attributable to the fact that many organizations are “catching up” after IT spending hiatuses. I partially agree that this is the case, but I believe that other factors are coming into play as well.
If you look at the Computerworld ranking as a whole, you can see that networking skills took the biggest plunge falling 6 spots from the #3 position on the list to #9, mobile development fell 4 spots from #4 to #8, and web development was the biggest jumper moving from not being on the list to the #5 spot. It was also noteworthy to see that database, BI, and Big Data remained relatively unchanged. To me, the drop in demand for infrastructure or device specific skills is indicative of companies moving away from developing for devices (mobile or otherwise) and in-house infrastructure and towards using the cloud as a delivery platform for applications.
In fact, I see the movement to the cloud as almost inevitable for most companies where computing is not their core competency. In my opinion, this will have a profound impact on what the front line “IT” worker will look like in the next 5-10 years and the skills that will be required. No longer will deep applied technical knowledge be the skills that are needed, but rather an ability to leverage cloud based resources that are maintained by other organizations to create innovative solutions to complex business problems. In other words, the front line IT worker will look a lot like a systems analyst, someone that knows enough about the organization to diagnose what the problems are and enough about the technology to provide a solution.
I’m curious to know what you think the skills of the front line IT worker will be in the next 5-10 years. Feel free to leave me a comment and share your thoughts!