According to most surveys, two key skills are the abilities to collaborate and communicate with business users. These skills are essential to empower end users to know how IT can help them be more efficient. That requires IT staff to be able to translate systems' capabilities into terms an end user can apply to their work.
One of the most important communication skills is the ability to speak using the terms familiar to the various business domains, such as sales, marketing, finance and manufacturing. Technical skills are in high demand, though those with some knowledge or experience in areas such as supply chains and financial derivatives will get the first job offers.
Organizations are moving strongly toward bring your own device (BYOD) access, bringing outsourced activities back in-house, and finding ways to make use of the growing amounts of data flowing in from many new sources such as social media. These factors create an increasing shift in required and desired skills showing up in IT departments. Hiring and salary surveys, such as the 2014 IT Skills and Salary Survey from Global Knowledge and Windows IP Pro, TEKsystems' 2014 Annual IT Forecast, Foote Research Group's 2014 IT Skills and Certifications Pay Index, Computerworld's annual Forecast survey, Robert Half Technology Survey, and information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Futurestep, Mondo, GovLoop, and Dice have presented a developing picture of the IT skills that will be in demand in 2014.
More than half of the surveyed HR managers report they have open positions that may stay that way, as qualified candidates are rare. Nearly half of them say they expect things to remain this way through the first quarter of 2014 or perhaps longer.
Instead of waiting for a perfect applicant, about half of the employers surveyed are planning to train those who are short on the IT skills but have experience in the organization's field, up 10 percent from 2013. About 25 percent are sending employees back to school.
More than 25 percent of hiring managers plan to present their organizations to high school students or even younger. The plan is to begin luring future applicants to help them prepare.
All of this activity is an encouraging sign for the economy as a whole, as it indicates that there is a continuing place for those who are willing to reinforce their business skills by adding IT skills to their resume or vice versa.
Here, in survey order, are the top 10 major skills and why they made the list.