There's no doubt that computers have become an integral part of our lives, both in and out of the workplace. There's a big demand for people with top-notch computer skills. This demand typically arises through one of two ways: either there are plenty of jobs requiring a particular program or skill set, or there is demand in very small, niche areas, where few people have the exact knowledge required for that specialized program in the ever-evolving technology industry.
- Having the right software skills increases your desirability as a job candidate, whether you're adept in a small, highly-specialized program or one that is widespread and therefore needs lots of qualified candidates.
- People who are skilled at SAP, Adobe, Sharepoint, Microsoft Dynamics, VMware, Alfresco, or Java, are among the most highly sought after job candidates, across a variety of industries.
Those with experience in SAP (an Enterprise Resource Planning or ERP program) will be pleased to know that their skills are not likely to become less desirable any time in the near future. In fact, many industries are in great need of SAP professionals, such as the aerospace, healthcare and defense industries. It has been suggested that demand for SAP professionals is quickly surpassing the supply; and similar to many other programs, there are various areas of specialty within SAP. Those with experience in SAP HANA in-memory databases are perhaps the most in demand, at the moment.
Adobe has released several new programs and software packages that make creating and analytics even simpler. Adobe Flex is an open-source program that allows for the easy development of mobile phone applications, which is a great addition to the resume of those who already have keen web-development skills. In fact, mobile web development is currently a very strong area of growth within the IT industry. There's also ColdFusion, which may not be a new technology, though it is still in widespread use for those who build web applications. Similar to those who specialize in Flex, this is a great tool to have in addition to your other web-development skills.
Adobe Captivate allows users to make traditional PowerPoint presentations more interactive through the inclusion of videos, animations, quizzes and other personalized options. There's also the Adobe Creative Suite, which is a grouping of several already-popular Adobe programs that helped to define the Adobe brand; within this group of programs, you'll find InDesign, Photoshop, Dreamweaver and Illustrator. These are all tools that are in high demand within publishing, web development, marketing and beyond.
Sharepoint is a fairly commonly used program, so there is a definite need for those with keen skills in this area. In fact, "Sharepoint" and "Sharepoint Developer" have become some of the most commonly searched terms, according to Dice.com. However, it's important to understand that within Sharepoint there are various areas that IT professionals can focus on. Those who go the development route will likely want to have skills in web technologies as well, such as .net, XML and HTML.
The pace at which the employment of software developers is expected to grow between 2016 to 2026, according to recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); the pace is much faster than the average for all occupations.
CRM technologies continue to be popular areas within the IT world. Microsoft Dynamics is comprised of a variety of programs falling into the CRM category. Iva de Sousa, formerly of Harcourt Recruiting Specialists, specializes in recruiting for the IT industry. She explains that "Microsoft Dynamics is where a lot of small-to-medium-sized organizations are going. For those looking to get into this field, going into programming and development is a good area."
VMware is used to create cloud-based networks that are often more efficient than traditional land-based networks. Iva de Sousa suggests that "network server and system administration is big and typically comes with bigger paychecks than a lot of development positions. Knowing VMware is key now."
Professionals with virtualization skills are particularly in demand if they have experience in migrating from traditional to virtual networks.
The median annual wage for software developers was $105,590, or $50.77 per hour, as of May 2018, according to the latest information from the BLS.
If you've never heard of Alfresco, then you probably aren't alone. Alfresco is an Enterprise Content Management System (CMS) program and falls into a small, niche area within the IT world. Iva de Sousa explains that "only handfuls of people specialize in certain areas of IT. Alfresco is one of these areas."
Because there isn't an abundance of professionals who are skilled in Alfresco, this tends to be an area that's in constant demand within the organizations that use the program.
This skill has been in demand for some time and is likely to stay in demand for a long time to come. Java is an important skill in developing web applications and social media outlets. As many organizations look for new ways to integrate social media into their marketing strategies, there is plenty of room for IT professionals to earn a living in Java development, in addition to other web 2.0 technologies.
The Bottom Line
Finding your perfect fit in the IT world should be based upon finding the right combination of your interests and your ability to find work. One of the challenges of the IT industry is that things are constantly changing and evolving. IT professionals must always stay on top of the game by learning new technologies as they're introduced to the market.
As with all industries, staying on top of the industry's latest and greatest innovations is integral to success, but there are few industries that evolve as rapidly as the high-tech world of computers.