Wireless knowledge becoming hot skill

The demand for wireless skills is rising as companies in an improving economy look to expand and catch up on postponed IT projects, according to a recent study by Robert Half Technology, a division of the global staffing and placement firm.

“Businesses are saying ‘We have the money to invest in these new technologies,’” said Jeff Markham, branch manager for the division’s San Francisco office.

“Every job [request] we take from a company has some kind of revenue or profit justification,” he said. “They say they’re using IT as a strategic asset, or to increase revenues and profits, or to reduce costs. The [job] growth is gradual, but it’s super steady.” This trend is especially clear in wireless-related jobs.

Robert Half Technology’s June report on the third-quarter IT hiring expectations of enterprise CIOs found that management skills in wireless networks were in demand by 57 per cent of the respondents. Markham said it’s becoming common to see wireless experience added to the requirements for such familiar jobs as network security analyst and network architect.

Wireless skill sets are becoming more precise and differentiated. Foote Partners about nine months ago began tracking the broad category of wireless network management.

It covers everything from satellite GPS to wireless IP telephony, to 802.11 wireless LANs, said David Foote, the company’s president. Initial data shows this skill set commands a six to 10 per cent premium over base pay figures. “It’s on our list of skills to watch,” he said.

Wireless seems to be an emerging driver in other skill sets as well, and those are growing in value as a result. One such skill set is the combination of messaging, e-mail and groupware, which includes wireless messaging and e-mail. Overall, this group of skills has risen 7.3 per cent in value over the past six months, according to Foote.

Another segment is Java programming skills, which are “going through the roof,” Foote said.

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