The ability to recruit and retain skilled information-technology employees is crucial for almost any organization today. Companies that can't secure enough qualified IT professionals to support their business needs risk not being able to operate effectively, let alone pursue new strategic initiatives.
However, while many employers are eager to hire more IT personnel, demand exceeds the supply of available candidates, according to research conducted for the "Robert Half Technology 2013 Salary Guide."
To improve their chances of securing skilled IT employees this year, leading businesses are prepared to offer higher starting pay, more benefits and professional-development opportunities. In fact, starting pay for technology jobs is expected to show the largest increases among all fields researched by Robert Half: an average of 5.3 percent.
Chief information officers surveyed for this year's Salary Guide expect the following jobs will be among those seeing the greatest boost in average starting salaries in 2013.
Mobile applications developer: The number of mobile Internet users will grow by a compound annual growth rate of 16.6 percent between 2010 and 2015, according to research by market-research firm IDC. As a result, many companies want to expand their mobile presence and build mobile applications and websites. However, professionals with deep mobile expertise are particularly hard to come by in this relatively new and rapidly evolving field.
Mobile applications developers who possess in-demand knowledge and skills can expect to see starting pay between $92,750 and $133,500. This represents a 9 percent increase over 2012 figures and is the biggest projected increase for any position tracked in the Salary Guide.
Wireless network engineer: Research by Cisco Systems Inc. suggests that the number of mobile-connected devices exceeded the number of people on Earth at the end of 2012. Obviously, with that many devices in use, the demand for wireless networks -- and specialists who can build and maintain them -- is only going to increase.
The Salary Guide reports that employers are prepared to pay wireless network engineers an average of 7.9 percent more in 2013 ($85,500 to $117,000) compared with 2012.
Business intelligence analyst: Increasingly, companies are looking to extract more value from the data they generate and collect so they can use it in their decision-making. But turning raw data into information that can be used to further business goals requires specialized skills.
Companies need professionals who can review and analyze data from multiple internal and external resources, communicate the results to senior management and make recommendations on how to apply this newfound insight -- such as developing new products and services. Average starting pay for business intelligence analysts is expected to rise 7.4 percent to a range of $76,000 to $105,750 in 2013.
Using big data to see the big pictureBusiness intelligence analyst is just one role that will be in greater demand next year due to the increasing focus on big data -- large and complex data sets that are hard to manage but also are a gold mine of information for today's businesses. Now that more powerful and cost-effective computing solutions are available to help companies unlock the value of data more efficiently, many businesses are working to assemble dedicated big-data teams.
Other positions expected to see growth in 2013 because of big-data demands include database administrators, data modelers and data warehouse engineers. Most companies specifically seek candidates with a combination of business and technical acumen and an eye for innovation. In a field where skilled workers are already hard to come by, this expertise, in particular, will likely take time to locate.
BYOD presents new opportunities for ITThis year, expect more employers to embrace the "bring your own device" trend and allow their workers to access the company network with personal devices. As the Salary Guide reports, sophisticated technology is making it easier for IT to control employees' access to company assets while ensuring that network and data security are maintained.
Most employers recognize that technology alone cannot accommodate the move to BYOD. It will also take skilled professionals, and this means new job paths in the IT field. For example, many organizations are creating mobile-device management teams and implementing mobile help-desk services to support their workforce.
With more than 100 locations worldwide, Robert Half Technology is a leading provider of technology professionals for initiatives ranging from web development and multiplatform systems integration to network security and technical support. Robert Half Technology offers online job search services at RHT.com. Follow Robert Half Technology on Twitter.
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