Despite ominous predictions about how cloud computing will eviscerate IT departments, 2012 is shaping up to be a great year for IT careers. Cloud computing is in fact creating new roles for IT professionals, while the proliferation of smartphones and tablets has ignited demand for software developers. The IT job market, which experienced a strong rebound in 2011 after the recession, is expected to burn even brighter in 2012, despite global economic challenges, according to IT staffing industry executives.
"I expect it to be better and not just a little bit better," says Tammy Browning, senior vice president of Yoh staffing's western region. "I would say it will be 10 to 15 percent better than 2011 in terms of hiring."
Indeed, Jerry Irvine, CIO of Chicago-based IT outsourcer Prescient Solutions, says he has hired 30 people so far in 2011 and plans to add another 30 to 40 next year. Currently, he has 13 open positions for senior project managers, SharePoint programmers, infrastructure engineers, systems engineers and ITIL helpdesk technicians.
Aggressive hiring is good news for the many IT professionals seeking new jobs. According to the latest IT Employee Confidence Index from staffing firm Technisource, 32 percent of 257 employed IT professionals plan to look for a new job.
IT staffing experts also anticipate that IT salaries will finally spike after years of stagnation, as employers realize they need to pay premiums for certain IT skills in a competitive job market.
"Tech salaries have been flat for a number of years," says Alice Hill, managing director of IT job site Dice.com. Hiring managers have tried their best to poach good people from competitors, she says, but now they're going to have to increase pay to compete on the staffing front.
Shane Bernstein, managing director of Los Angeles-based IT staffing firm Q, concurs: "Salaries and [contract] rates will be higher [in 2012] because the economy seems to be getting better in the tech sector. More companies are hiring. The supply of talent is extremely low and the demand for talent is extremely high."
Want more good news? The job opportunities and earning potential aren't centered solely in Silicon Valley. Across the country, from New Hope, Penn. to Scottsdale, Ariz., companies are vying for IT talent, adds Hill.
Here are the six IT jobs that staffing experts say will be in greatest demand and will command the highest salaries in 2012. The best part: Many of these jobs are also serious fun.
1. Mobile Application Developers
IT professionals who can develop applications for mobile devices are hands down the hottest commodity in IT these days. IT staffing experts agree that this group will remain in this enviable position through 2012, as companies race to adapt their Websites and apps for smartphones and tablets.