Cyber Protect
formerly Acronis Cyber Backup

Demand for data-driven insights is insatiable for most companies, and many of them are turning to their information technology departments for guidance. This year 32 percent of companies planned to increase the headcount in their IT departments, according Computerworld’s 2014 Forecast survey.

At the same time, IDC’s Digital Universe study predicts that humans will have generated 40 zettabytes of data by 2020. That’s equal to 57 times the number of all the grains of sand on all the beaches on earth. With more data on more devices and in more locations than ever before, companies need IT pros who are proficient in Big Data and analytics. That means companies are looking for more than technical degrees and focusing on non-certified IT skills. Here are four of the hottest IT skills driven by the data boom.

Data Architecture: Individuals with data architecture skills can visualize how information will be channeled through multiple databases to create an effective flow of business information. “People are looking for that person who can build a logical data map of their systems and aggregate relevant data so they can analyze and report on it,” Michael Kirven, founder and CEO of Mondo, a technology resource provider, tells Computerworld.

Data Governance: With ever more data entering and leaving the organization, it’s important for companies to understand how that information is used, stored, secured and made accessible. IT professionals who understand this can implement policy and processes to ensure compliance regarding the many different sources of data.

Data Security: Major data hacks have become part of the daily news, and they can have a major impact on businesses’ productivity, reputation and, ultimately, bottom line. Cybersecurity job postings have increased by 74 percent since 2007, according to Burning Glass Technologies, a labor-market analytics firm. Security jobs alone account for 10 percent of IT job postings, the firm says.

Business Intelligence/Analytics: Not only do IT pros need the technical skill to mine data for valuable insights, but they need to be able to communicate their work. “These jobs sit between two worlds: business and IT,” Dan Everett, senior director of marketing enterprise information management at SAP, tells Information Management. "They must be able to talk to both: 60% business knowledge and 40% IT. The toolsets are getting there. It is now easier to do data profiling, data quality monitoring, and metadata management.”

While demand for the latest and greatest software skills or programming knowledge will certainly drive many IT hires, an underlying need for data maintenance and security will define the work of IT pros day in and day out.

[Image via Can Stock Photo]

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