The IT job market, while brighter than most others, remains stagnant overall. The InformationWeek 2012 IT Salary Survey revealed that median total compensation crept up 1% to 2%. The bright spots are in rising new specialties such as mobility and big data, as well as information security and several other areas.
Even though IT unemployment stands at about half the general unemployment rate of more than 8%, every IT pro needs to build the right skills to become more productive and valuable to employers or prospective employers. Below I define both the primary skills that are in demand as well as some time-tested complementary skills, drawing from my more than 20 years improving the staffs and engineering capabilities of multiple large organizations.
Before I dive in, it's worth noting that it has been more difficult to get additional skills and training in the past few years as budgets and discretionary project funding have dried up. Yet the pace of technology introduction, from smartphones to tablets to big data to appliances to cloud computing to consumerization, has accelerated. Keep in mind that an IT engineer or manager who not only understands these new technologies but also can deliver solutions in complex business settings is far more valuable than an expert focused on one aspect of the technology portfolio.
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