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What Are the Most Marketable IT Skills for 2014?




2014 is poised to be the biggest growth year in the IT and web development sectors in recent history.  Look at the statistics: Nearly 70% of CIOs polled said they are looking to hire IT professionals for open positions, marking an 8% increase over the last six months of 2013. Yet the type of IT skills being sought out have drastically changed in the same time period. Whereas before it was enough to hire an IT generalist, someone who could dabble in web design, data management, and networking, companies are looking for specialists in 2014. Specifically, they’re looking for experts in mobile web development and data storage management.

Mobile Development Is the Key to A Rapidly Expanding Market

b2ap3_thumbnail_responsive_design.pngSince the introduction of the iPhone in June of 2007, mobile usage has skyrocketed, both in the United States and across the world. According to the Pew Research Center, more than half of Americans use a smartphone to access e-mail, social media, and eCommerce websites. It shouldn’t be any surprise, then, that mobile web searches showed a 65% increase in 2013. Even with a clear need for mobile optimization, KissMetrics statistics show that 73% of mobile users have experienced a site without mobile-focused design.

A website eschewing mobile optimization isn’t just an inconvenient problem for mobile users; it also has serious implications for business revenue. More than three-quarters of mobile shoppers who have used a poorly optimized eCommerce website say they are unlikely to shop with that business again in the future. Only 26% of small businesses currently have a website that is compatible with mobile devices. Considering that once popular brick-and-mortar stores, like Best Buy, continue to have trouble competing with their online counterparts as spending continues to move to the web, earning a permanent black mark online is nothing but bad news.

All of this highlights the need for businesses to switch from the static web development practices of the past to responsive web design. Responsive design means only having to design a webpage once, while ensuring that it will load quickly and operate as intended on any screen, whether it’s accessed via a mobile device or a traditional desktop computer. With Mcommerce expected to balloon to $113 billion by 2017, a growth of 28% from 2013, according to Forbes, businesses need the expertise of mobile developers more than they need IT generalists.

Improved Data Storage Leads to Security, Financial Stability

Data storage management, like that offered through database-as-a-service (DBaaS) providers, is expected to be the fastest growing IT service in 2014, with an estimated cumulative growth rate of 86%. What’s behind the huge growth in the industry? DBaaS providers, like Cloud DatabaseMongoDB, give IT departments flexible, scalable database solutions stored offsite in the cloud. Likewise, database virtualization makes it markedly more difficult for would-be cybercriminals to find their way into data storage systems, greatly reducing the likelihood of a data breach.

As with the shift toward a focus on mobile web design, improved data storage translates directly into increased financial stability. A 2013 study by Ponemon Institute shows a 78% increase in the cost of combating cybercrime over four-years. Should a cyberattack occur, companies are now looking at an average price tag of around $11.5 million. Bringing in specialists in data storage and management systems, like those offered through MongoDB and other DBaaS services, is a crucial move for any business looking to protect its data and its financial well-being.

In the end, marketing yourself as a valuable IT professional to current or would-be employers in 2014 comes down to having very specific web development and IT skills. If you’re just entering the world of IT or you’re looking to rebrand yourself, focusing on mobile development, specifically responsive design, and data storage systems is the way to go.




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