Today’s IT climate demands different skills out of young professionals

it workerRecent innovations in technology have come along and dramatically changed the way companies do business. Information technology is nowhere near the same as it was, even five years ago – rapid innovation has changed the way chief information officers oversee their companies, and it’s caused a shift in the availability of information technology jobs.

For young professionals thinking of entering the world of IT, there are certainly plenty of positions available. They may not be the same roles they envisioned a few years ago, however.

Here’s a rundown of the skills today’s IT workers need.

Cloud solution engineering
Everyone is moving their operations “into the cloud” these days. By saving their files online rather than on local machines, they make it easier to stockpile storage space and share information with co-workers and customers. Where do these cloud solutions come from, though? They need adept engineers to draw them up.

You may think the cloud is already fully formed, but you’d be wrong. Companies are looking for more uses for the cloud every day – handling customer service requests, processing e-commerce, managing media content and more. All of these endeavors require new cloud-based apps, and tech companies need more engineers to design them all.

InfoWorld recently noted that according to Gartner’s Forecast Overview, companies spent $110.3 billion on cloud services in 2012. In the next four years, that figure is expected to balloon much further – at a compound rate of 17.7 percent through 2016. With all that economic clout, the cloud is going to need some help.

If you want to be a computer programmer in the 21st century, it’s not so easy as just learning a little C++ and calling it a day. InfoWorld notes that today’s software engineers must know a variety of strategies and languages in order to stay relevant.

Howard Medow, vice president of strategic sales and delivery for Modis, notes that Python is one very relevant language these days. Its benefits include readable code and effective constructs for large or small applications. Developers at Google have used it for creating cloud apps. There’s also Ruby, which is dynamic and works well for all sorts of web apps, and Perl, which works well for scripting cloud solutions. Then there’s Java, PHP and more.

Programmers are in high demand these days, but they’ve got to know a lot. The market is demanding.

Mobile app development
Every company wants a mobile app these days. If you need to log your hours, call in sick, file an expense report or perform any other job task, why bother to boot up your computer? A smartphone app is way easier. Companies are using apps to handle practically everything, but they need more engineers to craft them, Forbes notes.

“The rise of mobile devices in the workplace is part and parcel of the cloud phenomenon,” writes Joe McKendrick, an expert on business IT. “There is strong demand for professionals who can build and deliver apps that can reside in the cloud and reach employees, partners and customers anywhere and anytime.”

Security and compliance
With all this information being stored and accessed online in 2013, there is of course a pressing need to keep it all secure, as hackers are constantly looking to steal corporate data.

“An understanding of security protocols is essential, no matter what type of cloud is being deployed,” McKendrick writes.

Threats to data security are everywhere today – they’re not only on the outside, trying to hack in, but some are already insider threats. Look no further than the recent Edward Snowden scandal for evidence that anyone can leak your most confidential information at any time.

The world of IT is changing rapidly. If professionals stay on top of the most important skills, they’ll be well equipped to contribute to the 21st-century economy.

Marie Larsen
Marie is a writer for She has an educational background in languages and literature. She covers IT trends and executive technology management topics for the company.