Excellent information about the IT skills in the highest demand today!
How to Get a Rich Tech Job and Avoid the Firing Squad
Susan Kalla, Contributor
The critical jobs in tech today focus on Big Data and concentrate on mining vast amounts of data stored in enormous data warehouses. To analyze the data, you need advanced computer skills and knowledge of data management systems. In the past, data systems were designed for transaction processing (small data sets and simple queries). Current systems are capable of analytical processing (large data sets and complex queries). Companies in retail, pharmaceuticals and energy are the forefront of analyzing reams of data collected to gain a competitive edge.
Companies want insights into customer buying behavior and preferences, but to get there, they have to shift though a lot of information. “While terabytes used to be synonymous with big data, now it’s petabytes, and the rate of growth is escalating with more transaction details,” according to Wayne Eckerson, Director of Research for Tech Target and author of Big Data Analytics.
Google is a leader in analytics while Oracle is a leader in database system development, but many other companies are catching up fast, including Salesforce.com and VMware, who control niche markets. Social media companies are at the forefront of mining personal data as consumers become more active in customizing media, whether text, music or television programming.
The information technology skills in high demand are:
1. Data Management
For data mining, you need to understand the structure and logic of information to determine how to process it and get accurate insights. General-purpose relational database systems process structured data, like Web-traffic or information from social media and sensor-data (like GPS), says Eckerson. Specialized database systems process unstructured information, whether text, natural language or systems code. The ultimate unstructured data is video content, and without text, it is difficult to segment. Many players are developing ways to process media content. Internet companies use open source instructions, as Hadoop, to batch process structured and unstructured information with clusters of servers.
2. Presentation Skills
You need to know how to present data to users so they can easily interpret it. You should understand strategic planning to suggest information for the dashboards of business executives that give them answers to specific questions. Dashboards can be updated with real-time data. Senior managers may want different kinds of reports. And mid-level managers may want to be able to use different sources to manipulate the results themselves. And lower level employees want to be able to follow their own progress toward personal objectives.
3. Mobile Integration
Reducing the PC experience onto a tiny phone screen is a key trend as users want to use any device for their sessions – the PC, the laptop, the tablet, the smartphone and the flat-screen HDTV on the wall. Pushing apps to mobile devices requires that you understand different platforms, operating systems and interfaces, and also aesthetics. Facebook has found that the money (advertisements) did not follow in the transition to mobile, so they are trying to find a way to monetize Facebook on phones without cluttering the display.
4. Cloud Networking & Security
The cloud brings together many different standards and networks, whether WAN, LAN, Wi-Fi, WiMax and Bluetooth. Employers want to know how to tie the network together AND what the inherent security risks are. The emphasis is on the system rather than the interface, so you have to administer the system and not be a networking technician.
5. Connected TV
New connected TV systems will combine broadcast, cable, streamed and stored content and over-the-air feeds. Information will be gathered and stored in many locations on the Cloud. You should know how to locate, store and process large volumes of unstructured data, speed queries through sluggish data warehouses, and offload complex analytical sequences.
6. User Interfaces
Since Apple rewrote the book on simple user interfaces, consumers expect interactions with devices to be intuitive. Most TV remote controls have so many buttons that even family members can’t remember the functions. Many house guests can’t even figure out how to turn on the power. Apple’s minimalist devices and high-functioning software give consumers extensive functionality with a few commands. Artificial intelligence promises to make users commands understandable in context (maybe HAL.)
7. Project Management
Project managers are in high demand, and ones that can accomplish tasks on budget and on-time are golden. Employers want tasks managers that can break down a project and persevere despite obstacles. If you can get results like Captain Bligh in Mutiny on the Bounty, you can be very picky on salary and perks.
8. App Development
Developing apps for mobile devices is a key growth area for entrepreneurs. For large enterprises, you need to write apps for data centers and understand networking. Some applications split processing among multiple machines, so those who understand distributed systems principles and parallel processing are highly valuable.