Hot Tech Jobs 2010: Look to Mobile and the Cloud

When looking at analyst predictions for 2010, developers of mobile applications and software engineers for cloud computing will be two of the hottest job titles this year. IT spending is expected to grow modestly, but these two areas--mobile apps and the cloud--will be sure to grow in job demand and garner strong salaries this year and beyond.

What will be the hot technology careers in 2010? To answer that question, you have to look at the technologies companies are expected to adopt or expand upon this year. The rapid expansion of mobile, Internet-enabled devices coupled with mobile applications, along with the full spectrum of cloud computing are areas primed for growth, according to Framingham, Mass.-based technology analyst firm IDC.

Mobile developers, cloud application developers, software engineers, IT architects, UNIX and Linux system administrators, Internet/cloud security professionals, Java experts, CRM experts, service operation managers, and those with enhanced algorithm expertise are some of the job titles and skills in demand.

"2010 will be a year of modest recovery for the IT and telecommunications industries. But the recovery will not mean a return to the pre-recession status quo," said IDC Chief Analyst Frank Gens in a December 2009 report entitled IT Predictions: Recovery and Transformation. "Rather, we'll see a radically transforming marketplace- driven by surging demand in emerging markets, growing impact from the cloud services model, an explosion of mobile devices and applications, and the continuing rollout of higher-speed networks. These transformational forces will drive key players to redefine themselves and their offerings and will spark lots of M&A activity."
IDC predicts 3.2 percent growth for IT spending in 2010, which ranks spending numbers from 2008 at $1.5 trillion. By other comparison, research firm Gartner pegs IT spending at 3.3 percent growth for 2010, but says spending will not be at 2008 levels until 2012. A recent January 2010 survey of 1,586 CIOs by Gartner, however, puts actual IT spending budgets for the year at 2005 levels or flat.
Mobile application developers will see job demand grow sharply in 2010 as Google's Android mobile operating system extends with the introduction of the Nexus One, and the leading Internet mobile device--Apple's iPhone--reaches 300,000 applications by the end of the year. In a recent video interview with ZDNet, IDC's Gens predicts mobile apps for Android to reach the 100,000 level by the end of 2010--a number that was reforecast from an initial estimate of 75,000. Here is more from IDC on the impact the smartphone evolution is having on traditional computing:
"We've all seen this coming for a long time: 2010 will be a watershed year in the ascension of mobile devices as strategic platforms for commercial and enterprise developers," wrote Gans in the December report. "No, we're not yet talking about 'the death of the PC'; far from it, as 2010 will see over 300 million PCs sold. But we are talking about mobile devices no longer being viewed as strictly subservient to PCs but as primary client platforms for developers and users alike... It's easy to see that they [mobile devices] already have eclipsed, or will soon eclipse, PCs in several strategic dimensions of adoption (e.g., number of devices accessing the Internet, number of developers, number of applications, number of users)."
Developers with knowledge of mobile operating systems including Symbian, Android, Windows Mobile and the iPhone are in the cat bird seat. The rapid growth of the netbook category from 2009--very small, ultra-portable laptops-- will carry over into 2010 with demand for developers who can create device-specific applications as well as skills in synchronization, according to IDC.
When it comes to cloud computing, IDC predicts a very big year with the expansion in the enterprise of private cloud offerings that take the best aspects of the public cloud--pre-built application and hosting infrastructure, a pay as you go model--with a customer's infrastructure in a more secure, private cloud similar to what you might find in the private "dark fiber networks" that many companies lease now from telecommunications companies and ISPs. IDC predicts:
"As businesses continue to have concerns about cloud security, availability, and performance, 2010 will be a big year for the announcement of private cloud offerings from virtually all major IT suppliers. This is not surprising: a brand-new (not yet published) IDC survey shows a strong preference by businesses for private clouds over public clouds, and vendors will act accordingly. One important implication: since clouds typically package infrastructure, platforms, and applications together, look for these announcements to drive many strategic partnerships, joint ventures, and acquisitions/mergers."
It's not only the private cloud that is expected to expand in the enterprise. The market for cloud appliances, cloud accessories and hybrid cloud management tools is predicted to see growth in 2010.
"Dell, IBM, HP, Sun, Fujitsu, Hitachi - and Intel and AMD - will partner with software vendors for "applianced" versions of traditional on-premise packaged software. Particularly once the EU approves Oracle's acquisition of Sun, Oracle will certainly be an aggressive cloud appliance player," said Gens in the report. "We also predict we will see more pure-play cloud/SAAS players like Salesforce and Google partner with systems vendors to create appliance versions of their public cloud offerings."