Also high on the list of must-have IT professionals are Java and security professionals, according to a Dice survey.
With low unemployment rates and high demand across a variety of regions and vertical markets, the IT job market is among the most robust in the United States going into 2015.
Topping the list of must-have IT professionals for companies wanting to build new products or develop proprietary internal systems are software developers and software engineers, according to a report from IT jobs portal Dice.
Unemployment for software developers and engineers was just shy of half the total national unemployment rate (6.1 percent) recorded during the third quarter of 2014, according to the report.
No. 2 on hiring managers' list are Java professionals, and Java was also the most requested skill on Dice. "Java is the basis for many programming languages today and was integral in the open-source movement," Shravan Goli, president of Dice, told eWEEK
. "Java continues to be one of the most popular front-end and back-end technologies. Java has given rise to newer languages for big data [and] mobile, among others, and as a result the overall demand for Java continues to be very healthy."
Security professionals, at No. 4, also ranked high on hiring managers' list, both in terms of demand and difficulty to fill.
Dice job postings for security professionals were up year-over-year, with cyber-security up 91 percent and information security up 48 percent.
Goli doesn't see demand for security professionals waning in the foreseeable future.
"As threats go up, so does demand for highly skilled security professionals to close breaches and work on preventative technologies," he said. "Plus, no company wants to be splashed in news headlines as being hacked and releasing user data as a result. I believe every company should have a dedicated security team."
Rounding out the top 5 were .NET professionals at No. 3 and sales professionals at No. 5.
As mobile technology continues to advance and penetrate all levels of a business, Goli said he sees continued demand for mobile specialists, but the challenge is finding professionals who can understand the product, communicate and close deals in a highly competitive market with a narrow talent pool.
"A few years ago, mobile burst into the tech scene. Paychecks were soaring, and demand skyrocketed. Today, there is steady demand for tech professionals with mobile experience and pay in line with national averages," Goli said. "Any company today that doesn't have a mobile presence is behind quite frankly. Mobile professionals continue to be hard to find, and companies are looking for skilled talent to work on making mobile projects responsive and user-friendly."