Re-tool Your Career

by Brian Skory

There's not much that creates greater peace of mind than job security, whether it's keeping your existing job or securing that next opportunity. Which tech skills would be the most valuable to add to your IT "tool belt" to help increase that security? Well, if I had a crystal ball, I could just look into it and tell you what I see—but lacking that, the next best thing is to "follow the money." Where are investment dollars flowing in the world of technology? That's where the IT professional wants to be looking. Let's take a look at just a few of them.

  • Web 2.0 Significant investment dollars are being spent on re-tooling existing Web applications to give them that Web 2.0 feel. It's what end users are demanding, and it's what companies are spending significant money on to deliver. Bring your tool belt up to date with the following: Web technologies like AJAX, Flex, social media, content management systems, blogs, wikis and Web services (for more information on Web 2.0 see http://www.seomoz.org/web2.0).
  • Network Administration According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is an area which is going to be growing at a rate of 18% over the next 10 years (significantly faster than the average) with a resulting 155,000 new jobs over this same time period. Heavy investing is being seen in wireless technologies and security efforts. Bring your tool belt up to date by specializing in those two areas, particularly with regard to new government regulations affecting monitoring and privacy policies. Hot tip: certifications can make the difference to a prospective employer. Consider a specialized security certification such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).
  • The Current Hot Stuff Companies are spending huge amounts of dollars to upgrade old systems, and on top of the list is a migration to a .NET platform. Programmers skilled in .NET are going to have a considerable edge over those who aren't. Additionally, as more and more corporate sites are migrated to the Web, look for these things to be hot for the next several years: ASP.NET, C#, Visual Basic.NET, Flash/Flex and ActionScript, Java, JavaScript, AJAX, Perl and PHP.

The progress of your career is less tied to the state of the economy than it is to the investment you make in yourself. Happy Holidays and best wishes for successful and prosperous new year!
As always, we're interested in hearing how your job search is going. Feel free to contact us.

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