The hot technology skills for 2007


FRAMINGHAM – IT professionals touting project management, security and architecture talents might find themselves in demand as hiring managers look to round out their staffs.

According to a Forrester Research report released this week, hiring managers are seeking candidates with experience in areas such as project management, security and architecture. Also enterprise IT managers will be looking to get their staff trained in change management, service management and vendor management.

Forrester’s November 2006 survey of about 280 IT decision-makers revealed that project management is a “missing skill set” in some 55 percent of respondents’ IT organizations. This should turn around in 2007, Forrester says, because “IT’s reputation and value to the business is largely influenced by its ability to deliver projects meeting business requirements on time and on budget.”

IT managers will also be looking to increase their information security skills. According to survey results, nearly one-third of IT leaders plan to hire security staff in 2007. And about one-quarter of IT hiring managers will be looking for “professionals who can apply architecture frameworks to secure, design and operate IT infrastructure.” The driving factor there is a need to “stitch together processes” and “leverage multiplatform expertise and business knowledge to articulate IT strategy.”

On the training front, Forrester’s research found that more IT managers will be looking to adopt the best practices in the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework. For instance, 60 percent of those surveyed said they would be devoting resources to training business analysts, relationship managers and other IT staff to develop this skill area.

“The rigor of change management disciplines underpin the push for greater automation of IT operations and the adoption of organic IT,” which is Forrester’s term for an automated, intelligent data center. Other ITIL processes will garner attention in 2007 as well. Some 50 percent of respondents told Forrester they would train their staff in service management. Another management area, vendor and sourcing management, will also gain ground in enterprise training budgets. According to Forrester, nearly half of the respondents already have centralized vendor management functions to manage 28 percent of work that is performed by outsourcers and contractors. The need for training in such disciplines will increase this year.

“The demand for training in vendor and sourcing management is palpable, with 56 percent of IT leaders planning to train their staff this year to better manage third-party relationships, negotiate contracts, assess vendor risk and monitor service-level agreements,” the report reads.

The survey also found that interpersonal skills, long seen as a “soft” skill, will also be in high demand this year.

“We found that 75 percent of IT decision-makers described ‘communications skills’ as very important to their hiring decisions in 2007,” the report reads. “Teamwork was a close second, with 69 percent rating it as very important.”

Other interpersonal skills also ranked high among survey respondents. Specifically, 50 percent indicated systematic problem solving as important; 48 percent said planning, prioritizing and goal setting mattered; and 41 percent want candidates with decision-making skills.

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