Demand for mobile application developers is obvious on Dice.com, where job postings for Android and iPhone developers are up 129 and 190 percent, respectively, over last year, according to Hill.
The technology division of staffing firm Robert Half International projects starting salaries for mobile application developers to increase 9.1 percent in 2012, to a range of $85,000 to $122,500 per year.
Yoh's Browning says salaries for mobile game developers range from $110,000 to $140,000 per year, but she notes, they tend to prefer to work as free agents. "On average, an Android developer can demand $70 per hour to $100 per hour on a contract," she says.
Adds Hill, "It's never a bad time to be a software developer, especially right now, and if you're a mobile software developer, it's your year."
2. Software Developers
Programmers writing PC-based applications should not feel slighted by their mobile counterparts. Companies need their share of Java, .NET, C#, SharePoint, and Web application developers. Yoh's Browning says Java is hot because it's an open platform that speaks to any back-end system, so large organizations use it to transfer data from legacy systems. Consequently, the salary range for Java developers runs from $60,000 to $150,000 per year, depending on experience. The average contract rate for Java developers is $90 per hour. Base salaries for Web developers range from $61,250 to $99,250 per year, according to Robert Half.
3. User Experience Designers
Because so many of the apps companies are developing--whether for PCs or mobile devices--are customer facing, they need user interface or user experience designers to ensure the apps are fun and intuitive to use. Robert Half anticipates starting salaries for user experience designers to rise 6.7 percent, to between $71,750 and $104,000 per year.
4. IT Security Professionals
As security threats from Duqu to data breaches mount, organizations need IT professionals who can fend off malware makers and cyber thieves. Hill says job ads on Dice.com for various "cyber security" professionals increased a whopping 141 percent in 2011 over the prior year.
Organizations' shift to cloud computing is also spurring the need for infrastructure security professionals, says Prescient Solutions' Irvine. "By putting applications in the cloud, companies have more Internet paths," he says. "They have to have a more secure environment to control entrances and exits to and from their environment."
Irvine also anticipates application security specialists--people who run application scanners through individual Web pages in search of vulnerabilities--will have a good year for finding jobs in 2012.
Robert Half expects base salaries for data security analysts to rise six percent, to a range of $89,000 to $121,500 per year.
5. Data Warehouse Architects, Analysts and Developers