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10 hottest tech skills for 2017

Mary K. Pratt | Dec. 8, 2016
Are your assets bankable in 2017? Hiring managers say they'll seek out these skills most in the New Year.

Computerworld - Tech Forecast 2017 - Fact and Figures for the Year Ahead [slide-07] 

Database administration

25% of respondents with hiring plans said they will be seeking people with this skill in the next 12 months.

Database administration "is a skill set that is not going away," says Kitty Brandtner, who connects Chicago-area companies with IT talent through her role at recruiting firm LaSalle Network. Case in point: Brandtner says there's not a month where her firm doesn't see demand for SQL programmers and other skills related to database administration.

According to the most recent statistics from the BLS, it's a good time to be -- or become -- a database administrator (DBA). The agency has pegged the rate of growth in employment opportunities for these professionals at 11% from 2014 to 2024 -- a pace that would add an additional 13,400 jobs.

Employers expect top DBAs to have a range of skills. Proficiency in data modeling and database design rank high, as does the ability to ensure database performance and data integrity, recruiters say.

DBAs also need to understand the user experience to ensure that data is of good quality from the time it is input, says Michelle Beveridge, CIO at Intrepid Group, an adventure travel company. Beveridge has one database administrator on staff and may hire another in a year or so. She says based on the market for this position, she's already expecting a challenge.

"It's hard to find DBAs who can put themselves in the shoes of the user as a means to improving data quality," Beveridge says. "Many DBAs think in terms of data rules, mandatory input requirements and data structures rather than close examination of the business processes behind the data collection."

Project management

25% of respondents with hiring plans said they will be seeking people with this skill in the next 12 months.

Over the past 18 months, BCU's Zulpo set up a project management office with a half-dozen professionals to shepherd the credit union's growing number of projects. He says he's now looking to add one more professional to his staff to keep up with the volume of work.

His expectations for this candidate are high: He's looking for someone with a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, a master's degree and a track record of successfully managing projects, as well as the ability to collaborate with various business partners and juggle multiple projects.

"This is a highly visible person," Zulpo says, and given his lengthy list of desired qualities, he knows he might need three to six months to fill the position. But a lengthy search is worth the trouble because hiring that wrong person would be costly -- a situation that "that applies to all our positions across IT."


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