Developers and programmers continue to be leading players in the IT world, with hiring managers citing programing and application development as the top skills they will be seeking in the upcoming year.
"Companies are still developing software and applications," says Jack Cullen, president of IT staffing firm Modis. Companies need tech pros who can customize off-the-shelf applications, work on APIs and integration points, and even develop proprietary software -- yes, that's still happening, even in the age of software as a service (SaaS). Systems need to be maintained and updated, which further sustains the need for developers and programmers.
Because of the strong demand for these specialists, organizations have to pay top dollar to attract talent. In fact, Cullen says he sees employers trying to entice top candidates to leave their current positions by making them offers that exceed their current salaries by upwards of 15%.
Help desk/technical support
35% of respondents with hiring plans said they will be seeking people with this skill in the next 12 months.
BCU's Zulpo is looking for a new service desk manager to replace someone who recently left. He says he knows he's competing with many other employers as he tries to recruit help desk talent, but he still has high standards for this hire.
"We're looking for someone who not only can handle tickets coming in but can help us bring in best practices, policies and procedures," Zulpo says.
Help desk staff remains in high demand because technology is so pervasive, says Rafi Khan, the former CIO at Riverside Community Care and now a senior consultant at Open Minds, a health and human services management consultancy.
That's also why it's critical to find the right people for these jobs. Even though support technician is sometimes seen as an entry-level position, Khan says companies often require candidates to have broad knowledge about different hardware and software systems so they can handle requests from all over the organization.
IT staffing firm Robert Half Technology lists help desk and desktop support professionals (especially Tier 2 and Tier 3 personnel) among the most in-demand tech workers for 2017. It says annual salaries range from $36,000 to $51,750 for Tier 1 workers, and from $60,000 to $80,500 for Tier 3 professionals.
26% of respondents with hiring plans said they will be seeking people with this skill in the next 12 months.
As manager of information management systems at the Central Pension Fund, Gregory Drauch oversees nine people who support 70 employees at the Washington, D.C., nonprofit organization. He says he's now assessing what skills he needs for the upcoming year but already expects to add security competencies to the mix.
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