Tech Trends 2010: Predictions for the Year Ahead

Slow to Staff Up

IT hiring will not pick up noticeably until late next year, and more likely 2011, despite GDP upturns and recovering stock prices in our nation's third straight year of economic instability. Expect the length of the tail on this staffing lag to be much longer than previous recoveries, with volatility punctuating IT pay levels and specialty skills demand as employers struggle to recalibrate their IT workforces by striking the right balance between costs, agility and intense competitive market pressures -- which is a moving target.

-- David Foote, CEO and chief research officer, Foote Partners LLC

Socially Savvy

While the concept of a social networking guru might seem quaint by 2013 (do you have a photocopier guru in your office?), there is an opportunity in 2010 for people who really understand how to make social networking happen within the enterprise. While there are still a lot of carpetbaggers and "gee-whiz" cheerleaders playing in this market, I still find that there are a lot of people who don't have a basic understanding of social networking and are reluctant to ask for help.

-- Mike Dover

Seeing Into the Future

Superman's X-ray vision will become a reality. Well, not quite, but close. The University of Utah has developed a way to look through building walls using a network of inexpensive radios. Fire departments will use these to find people inside burning buildings. Police will use them to track down criminals. Shopping malls, subways, sports arenas and other public places will use these systems to determine how individuals move around public spaces.

-- Bart Perkins, Computerworld columnist and managing partner at Leverage Partners Inc.

The Winners of 2010

IT Workers Who Breathe Social Networking

Social media may have started out as a fad, but it's quickly winning serious corporate converts. The search will intensify in 2010 for IT specialists who can engage audiences in their company's messages, products and services. The skills sets in demand will be technical but also heavily business- and consumer-focused, with many industry- and situationally specific flavors.

-- David Foote

Amazon Outpeddles eBay

Amazon.com's stock hit an all-time high in October, and yes, that includes the company's highs during the dot-com bubble. It's successful because of the clear attention paid to the corporate mission (acquiring customer service darling Zappos will only help here) and tremendous management science -- its collaborative filtering engine gets better and better. And finally, its superior vendor platform that requires sellers to provide more information and a higher-level of quality than eBay. As a result of this, Amazon offers much more security for the buyer.

-- Mike Dover

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