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Demand Up for Some IT Skills

Architecture, security command higher pay

A number of information technology management skills are still in demand, despite the faltering economy. In its quarterly survey of 22,550 IT professionals in the US and Canada, Foote Partners’ found a 0.5 percent overall decline in the market value for 179 noncertified IT skills in the last three months of 2008. Application developers, e-commerce experts, and operating systems gurus might find themselves less popular these days, but according to the survey, demand remains strong for individuals with management, methodology, or process skills, as well as those with expertise in databases and messaging and communications.

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David Foote, the firm’s founder, CEO, and chief research officer, attributed the gains to employers learning from their mistakes during the last downturn and retaining experienced IT managers that are critical to helping rebuild businesses. Instead of cutting IT budgets across the board, companies are becoming more selective.

"Employers are obviously now aware that continuing to invest strategically in IT skills and labor is the smartest thing they can possibly do to make it to the other side of this recession as stronger, undiminished enterprises,” he stated.

Pay Increases for Noncertified Skills

NetWeaver Portals 28.6%
PHP
16.7
Apple OSX/Tiger/Leopard
16.7
ITIL 12.5
Java/J2EE, SE, ME
11.1
NetWeaver PI 11.1
Master data management
10.0
Unified comm./messaging
10.0
Database management
10.0
Microsoft SQL Server
10.0
Oracle Developer Suite
9.1
SAP Solution Manager
8.3
NetWeaver BI 8.3

Increasing process efficiency through the adoption of software automation and workflow tools is a popular money-saving strategy. And Foote pointed out that skills such as ITIL and CoBIT are useful over the long-term as well as for short-term cost reduction initiatives.

A similar dynamic was at work with certified IT skills. Average pay for the 175 certifications that Foote tracks dropped by 1 percent in the last quarter and 5 percent for the entire year. However, significant gains were reported in the areas of architecture and project management, IT security, and networking.

Architects and project managers are in more demand than ever. And that demand is likely to continue increasing as mergers and acquisitions spur on a burst of integration-related activity. Developing talent in this area doesn’t come cheap, however.
“Nothing has been hotter than architecture jobs and skills in the last few years, according to our trends research,” Foote noted. “This includes system, network, application, data, information, infrastructure, security, solutions, and of course, enterprise architects.”

In terms of particular certifications, the market value increased more than 46 percent for CompTIA Security+ and the GIAC Security Essentials Certification. The Brocade Certified SAN(Fabric) Designer commanded 43 percent higher pay, while the Certified Ethical Hacker designation, the Planet3 Certified Wireless Network Administrator, and the Cisco Certified Design Associate experienced a 40 percent gain in market value.

During the same period, the Prosoft Master CIW Designer, the Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician, and the SAS Certified Base Programmer designations all experienced a 40 percent drop in market value. CW (4 March, 2009)

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