5 In-Demand Skills for Landing a Dream IT Job

There is no denying it — the technology sector is on the rise and jobs are ripe for the taking. Demand has shifted from the mainframes of 30 years ago to virtualization, opening up ample opportunity in the field. Today, it’s all about optimization and collaboration, and IT decision makers are investing heavily in these new infrastructures.

We flew through 2012 on the wings of cloud computing, enterprise technology and big data. These days it seems like everywhere we turn we run into “as-a-service” this or “productivity” that. The business landscape has evolved, and information technology is the engine keeping the wheels turning.

As the economy limps along, we may continue to see organizations make cuts, but IT budgets are booming. Computerworld’s annual forecast of IT hiring managers reveals that over 33 percent plan to hire new personnel in 2013, up from 29 percent in 2012.

If that isn’t enough to grasp your attention, jobs are expected to grow by 22 percent through 2020, according to CompTIA’s IT Industry Outlook 2013. Employers are looking for cloud-savvy, cross-dimensional IT professionals who can manage the demands of an evolving market.

What does this mean for us? With the rise of low-cost online learning portals just for IT professionals, there is no time better than the present to learn a valuable new skill and make plans for that next career move. If working in the field, or considering making a career change to IT, now is the time to do it.

Here are the top skills needed to up your game in 2013:

Security Infrastructure

If President Obama’s executive order to increase infrastructure for cybersecurity didn’t give enough indication, security is a top priority for 2013. The Pentagon alone plans to add 4,000 jobs to defend against cyberattacks. The private sector is taking similar precautions, especially in terms of mobile devices, to protect against malware, spam and unauthorized attempts to penetrate systems.

Opportunities in security will continue to be in high demand as hackers adapt and find new avenues for attack. Employers are looking for cross-functional professionals who are well versed in business infrastructure in addition to deploying firewalls, threat detection and encryption technology.

Skill up with: CompTIA Security+, Certified Ethical Hacker, CISSP

Cloud, SaaS

As companies move beyond physical data centers and into the cloud, expertise in cloud and SaaS infrastructure will become a must for IT resumes. SaaS and cloud-based solutions are the future of business, empowering collaboration and reducing localization.

This new phase in business technology offers plenty of room for optimization and development, making SaaS and cloud expertise sought-after skills for employers. As businesses continue to embrace the flexibility and cost-saving benefits of the cloud, demand will increase for IT pros experienced in supporting these systems.

Skill up with: System Center 2012, VMware vCloud Director


Companies are consolidating data centers and moving to virtual servers, creating a shift from physical to more logical connections. Virtualization allows for businesses to reduce cost, improve agility and increase efficiency, making virtualization core to business operations of the future.

In-demand skills for virtualization may vary depending on the type of storage implementation, but in general most decision makers are looking for IT administrators and technicians who understand the complexities and interdependencies among applications and operating systems that affect storage requirements. If you’ve worked at an organization that has migrated to virtualization or a cloud-based environment, this will make you all the more desirable.

Skill up with: VMware vSphere 5 Administration, Hyper-V v3, System Center 2012

Big Data

Big data is one of the top priorities for many companies in 2013. According to a Gartner study, big data is estimated to reach 4.4 million jobs by 2015, but only one-third of those positions will be filled. There is a demand that is not being met, making it the perfect time for IT pros to capitalize on this market.

If you’re looking for a job in big data, you’ll want to brush up on both your technical and business acumen for analyzing data and turning it into business intelligence. Organizations are looking for professionals whose data expertise can drive innovation.

Skill up with: SQL Server 2012 Business Intelligence, Microsoft PowerView, Microsoft Excel


The opportunities are boundless for IT pros going into 2013, and it doesn’t look like this light will burn out anytime soon. Demand is perpetual for network management and has been for years. However, now that we’ve seen a definite uptick in virtualization and cloud computing, networking skills won’t be taken off the must-have list any time soon.

Skill up with: CompTIA Network+, Cisco CCNA, Microsoft Network Monitoring

Make the most of 2013 and polish up your repertoire of skills. The most in-demand IT skills focus largely on development, deployment and management of new technologies, so make sure you remain competitive in this quickly transforming market.

Unlike years past, there is ample opportunity to make some aggressive career decisions. Take charge of your future today.

Scott Skinger is the CEO and founder of TrainSignal.

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