The 6 Hottest New Jobs in IT
Hot IT job No. 4: Mobile technology expert
"Mobile is the biggest factor changing IT right now," says Stewart Tan, vice president of information risk management and security at Accretive Solutions. "Building mobile apps, architecting mobile strategies, and securing those devices" are the top concerns facing the enterprise today.
Based on the listings showing up on IT employment sites, Tan's words sound almost like an understatement. One of the most common new titles we've run across on IT job sites sounds more like a general cry for help than an actual job listing. In response to the flood of new mobile devices, companies are desperately seeking "mobile technology experts" to bring order to the chaos.
If you have serious IT experience deploying and managing fleets of BlackBerry, Android, and iOS devices, there's ample work ahead. The listings we've reviewed consistently seek people evaluate mobile platforms for enterprise use, research and draft device specifications, and support users and developers within the enterprise.
Hot IT job No. 5: Enterprise mobile developer
While mobile application development has been a fast-growing tech arena for years, IT job sites are seeing a rise in listings for creators of enterprise mobile apps. "Companies are looking for ways to make sense of mobile data, develop apps, and ensure security compliance," says Alice Hill, managing director of IT job site Dice.com.
In some organizations, the programming skills required depend on what's native to the platform: Objective-C for the iPhone, or Java for Android or BlackBerry. But thanks to HTML5, there's also a movement toward mobile Web development that crosses mobile platforms. If you're not already schooled in Objective-C or Java, acquiring deep HTML5 expertise has the dual benefit of a shorter learning curve and greater versatility, though you may still need to learn the quirks of individual mobile platforms.
What distinguishes enterprise dev positions from general mobile dev jobs is their focus on compliance and security, according to Stewart Tan of Accretive Solutions, an executive search firm and consultancy. "Building mobile apps, architecting mobile strategies, and securing those devices" are the top concerns facing the enterprise today.
Hill points to the overflowing demand for mobile app developers on Dice.com, noting that postings for Android developers have now surpassed those for iPhone developers. Nonetheless, listings for BlackBerry developers still abound, reflecting RIM's tenacious ability to hang on to enterprise customers.
Hot IT job No. 6: Cloud architect
Ask IT managers whether they're "in the cloud," and they'll tell you they always have been. To them, "cloud" is just a trendy way of saying "data center." But with business executives and investors now tuned into the cloud concept, demand is growing for IT pros who can lead the charge to deliver on the increased efficiency and agility promised by the private cloud.
"There's so much positive momentum toward cloud integration," says Ron Gula, CEO of Tenable Network Security. "People who can really identify the architecture from a simplicity point of view are going to be in demand."
In our searches of tech job listings, we turned up dozens of calls for cloud architects, with the majority originating from enterprise IT organizations. Most of these listings call for familiar skills and certs associated with networking, virtualization, and SAN design. Without question, the more advanced your understanding of virtualization networking and management, the better your chances. The ability to explain how your private cloud will increase visibility into IT costs is a big plus.
In addition to establishing and managing a private cloud infrastructure, Gula says cloud architects will increasingly need to be experts in choosing public cloud services. "When you get into the nuances of SLAs, you become less of an IT person and more of a lawyer," says Gula. The ultimate goal is the hybrid cloud, where cloud architects and business management decide which cloud services make the most sense to run internally and which should be farmed out on a pay-per-use basis.
Gula says any business depending on outside companies for significant chunks of cloud infrastructure needs a cloud expert capable of taking on the odious challenge of deciphering the terms of a license agreement to assess the veracity of any service provider's guarantee. These skills will prove critical in risk management, which, according to both Hill of Dice.com and Ripaldi of Modis, is another rapidly growing IT field.
More changes to IT jobs on the horizon
Naturally, these six emerging roles represent just a sampling of what IT pros can expect to see in the coming months. One big trend to watch for is the increasing specificity of IT job functions.
"What we're seeing with these emerging job positions is a splintering of monolithic tech functions into more granular definitions. Enterprise skills used to be all-encompassing, just like an MD was once enough in the medical world. Today tech roles are being sliced more finely," says Dice.com's Hill. "We see it happening already in even relatively new areas like mobile. For tech professionals, it's clear that in order to be recognized for your skills, a solid base is a good start, but specificity is key."
So if you have a broad background and are looking to make a change, a resume tailored to the job you want to pursue -- plus a little supplemental training and experience if you can swing it -- can pay off. Another piece of advice: Get cracking now. Surges in IT hiring like this one don't happen that often.