What IT Skills Are Employers Looking For In Early 2016?

Recruitment firm Hays has released its quarterly report that details the employment outlook for IT employers and workers from January to March, showing some IT skills are more prized than others. Hays also has some advice for IT job seekers to increase their chances of landing their desired roles.

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In the January to March quarter, Hays is seeing a huge supply gap in the market for Dynamics CRM developers. .Net developers that specialise in web and desktop systems are highly sought after as well, especially ones that have strong SharePoint experience to work in integrated development systems.

Employers are also looking for candidates with experience in Active Directory and application project management with software implementation skills. They also want workers with DevOps experience, particularly in Chef/Puppet, to help improve software releases in-house.

Cloud technology is becoming commonplace in businesses big and small so it's no surprise that cloud specialists are highly prized. Companies want to hire people with skills in software-as-a-service (SaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), Amazon Web Services (AWS) and vendor/supplier management to help with migrating to the cloud.

Demand for workers with IT security skills, of course, continues to climb, showing no signs of abating, according to Hays, especially for those with professional certifications.

While niche skills are seeing a rise in popularity, employers are still on the hunt for candidates that can be used in multiple IT scenarios. Small to medium businesses (SMBs) want to keep teams lean and are looking for IT talent that have a broad technical skillset so they can be used across different projects.

But it's not all good news for IT workers. SMBs are increasingly outsourcing their service desk and storage needs to save money and larger organisations are moving their internal IT support functions offshore for the same reason. This means there are fewer lower to middle level IT support roles available, which could impact graduates looking for entry-level jobs just to get some experience.

Hays has noticed that soft skills can make or break an IT job candidate's chances of scoring their desired role. According to the Hays report:

Candidates in greatest demand have solid technical skills and strong soft skills that enable them to engage proactively and successfully with non-technical stakeholders. However, finding candidates with this combination of skills is difficult.

… Companies that do have in-house IT support teams regard soft skills as equally important to technical skills when assessing candidates. However, candidates with strengths in both areas are in short supply. Employers are making cultural fit the deciding factor when choosing candidates believing that technical skills can be acquired if candidates have the right attitude and a passion for their work.

As for trends among IT workers, Hays has noticed that IT contractors in the infrastructure space are now itching to get into permanent positions for the sake of job security. Meanwhile, developers favour higher salaries over job security and stability.

"We are also seeing candidates actively using their LinkedIn profiles to promote when they are available," Hays senior regional director Peter Noblet told Lifehacker Australia. "… Having the right qualifications, skills and experience are no longer enough. You need to be willing to integrate digital and social media into your job search.

"You need to be relevant by targeting realistic jobs, studying relevant qualifications and building a relevant network of connections. An appetite for change and for freelancing will also help your career advance in the year ahead."


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