Web development tops skills demand: survey

Web development ranks as the most sought-after skill set in information technology departments, according to a recent report from RHI Consulting. The findings are based on a survey of 1400 American CIOs at companies with at least 100 employees.

An RHI spokesman said this is the first time that "Internet/intranet developers" edged out "networking" as the most popular skill category. RHI has been conducting the survey on a semi-annual basis for the past four years.

Some 23 per cent of CIOs said Internet or intranet development skills are the fastest-growing area within their IT departments, followed closely by networking, which received 21 per cent of the responses. Six months ago, CIOs ranked networking first, (22 per cent of responses) while Internet/intranet development came in third, behind help-desk and end-user support, with 15 per cent of CIOs ranking it as the fastest-growing skill set.

But IDC analyst Michael Boyd maintains that networking and Internet skills are so closely intertwined that it's difficult to separate them.

"How can you develop a Web server capability without having a pretty good understanding how it's going to interact over the Internet and internal networks?" Boyd asked.

Boyd added that Internet skills pervade virtually every area of IT.

"There aren't any IT jobs that I'm aware of where you don't have to have some kind of Internet skills," he said.

Barbara Gomolski, research director at Gartner, said the networking experience employers seek these days is in fact Web-related. This experience includes load-balancing and network security skills, she said.

The type of Web skills employers need most are integration abilities, Gomolski said. "A lot of companies have built Web sites but didn't connect [them] to existing systems," she said.

Integration skills have become particularly crucial with the emergence of Web marketplaces and other business-to-business sites, Gomolski said. These portals are "complicated because they have to build detailed back ends. There's a lot of research going into developing [B2B] market sites. They're labour-intensive projects," she said.

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