FRAMINGHAM, Mass. -- Seasoned networking pros are in an enviable position, according to IT staffing firm Robert Half Technology
. The tech staffing firm includes systems and networking engineers among the top five tech professionals that companies are currently looking to hire.
In particular, companies are searching for network and systems pros who are experts in cloud computing, software as a service and virtualization. People with combined skills in server, software and networking are the most sought after, the company says in its newly published Salary Guide 2012 for Canada and the U.S.
Specifically, the five tech professionals firms want now are:
1. Systems and networking engineers
3. Quality assurance professionals and business analysts
4. Data warehousing and business intelligence professionals
5. Security professionals
For developers, the most in-demand skills are .Net, Java, PHP, Silverlight, Flex, MySQL and portal technologies such as SharePoint.
A desire for more accurate project requirements is driving demand for quality assurance pros who can assume those tasks and allow developers to focus on coding. Business analysts, meanwhile, are needed to build trust among stakeholders and serve as go-betweens for IT and the business as the pace of IT projects picks up, Robert Half Technology says.
The need for data warehousing and business intelligence professionals is clear: Enterprises are drowning in data and need people who can manage it all and extract meaningful intelligence from it.
Unsurprisingly, security remains a paramount concern of IT executives, with 24 per cent of CIOs polled citing security as their top professional concern.
According to Megan Slabinski, district president of Robert Half responsible for Western Canada and parts of the U.S., Statistics Canada said that the overall unemployment rate in the recent quarter for IT professionals here in September was 2.4 per cent, compared to 4 per cent in the U.S.
In addition to naming the top five in-demand professionals, Robert Half Technology also listed sought-after credentials.
Credentials in greatest demand:
*Cisco Systems Inc. certifications, including Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) and Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE);
* Linux certifications, including Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE);
* Microsoft Corp. certifications, including Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP), Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE), Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) and Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD);
*Project management certifications, including Project Management Professional (PMP);
* Security certifications, including Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Check Point Certified Systems Administrator (CCSA) and Check Point Certified Security Expert (CCSE); and
* VMware certifications, including VMware Certified Professional (VCP).
When Robert Half Technology polled chief information officers and asked what skills are most needed within their IT departments, the CIOs painted a similar picture, with networking again climbing to the top of their sought-after skills lists.
Top technical skills in demand by CIOs:
* Network administration
* Database management
* Desktop support
* Windows administration
* Wireless network management
* Web development/website design
* Telecommunications support
* Business intelligence
* ERP implementation
In terms of seniority, mid- and senior-level IT pros are most in demand, "especially those who are as comfortable discussing business strategy as they are working with complex systems and software," Robert Half Technology concludes. "Industries seeing the most active IT hiring include healthcare, manufacturing, professional services, high tech, solar and nonprofit."