Happy 2016! I ended the past year with a forecast about some of the job areas that are expected to be hot in 2016 and beyond. To begin this new year of serving you with technology news impacting the IT industry, I’d like to continue with the predictions, but go a bit broader in scope by looking at TEKsystems’ 2016 Annual IT Forecast.

TEKsystems, a provider of IT staffing, talent management, and services in North America, Europe, and Asia, based this year’s forecast on a survey of 500 CIOs, IT vice presidents, IT directors, and IT hiring managers in the United States and Canada. These IT decision makers were selected from a wide range of industries and from organizations of all sizes.

An interesting component of TEKsystems’ annual survey is the agency’s look at those technology areas most occupying IT decision makers. For 2016, as in years past, survey respondents were asked this question: Which of the following will have the biggest impact on your organization in 2016?

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Survey says …

Here are the top 10 areas for 2016 in order:

  1. Security
  2. Business intelligence/big data   
  3. Networking
  4. Cloud computing
  5. Mobility
  6. Virtualization/software-defined networks
  7. Digital marketing/customer experience
  8. Enterprise resource planning
  9. IoT
  10. Consumerization of IT/BYOD

 

Security rose from no. 3 in the agency’s 2013 survey to no. 2 in 2014, and then no. 1 in last’s year report and this year’s. Says TEKsystems, “Given the decentralization of IT across the organization, it is not surprising that IT leaders again identify security as having the biggest impact in 2016. Many organizations have yet to find the right balance between the agility that decentralization offers and the overall security benefits of more centralized IT.”

Survey respondents were also asked to make some predictions about support requirements for 2016. Specifically, they fielded this question: Which of the following business objectives will IT most need to support in 2016?

The top 6 responses to this question are as follows:

  1. Implementing new IT applications and infrastructure
  2. Improving existing IT applications and infrastructure
  3. Improving business processes
  4. Reducing costs
  5. Improving efficiency
  6. Delivering operational results (that is, “keeping the lights on”)

 

So Much Depends on the Network

These top responses are a nod to the ongoing importance of the network in the eyes of IT decision makers. As TEKsystems comments, “Networking skill sets in particular will have a critical role in improving business processes. With the ubiquity of computing powering all facets of business, organizations require faster, more efficient networks to increase productivity and decrease operating costs.”

In the part of the survey devoted to critical skills, networking was added for the first time in the four years that TEKsystems has been conducting its forecast. Nonetheless, networking debuted at no. 4 in this year’s rankings: “evidence of how important network speed and efficiency will be for new initiatives such as the Internet of Things (IoT),” states TEKsystems.

It’s a relatively straightforward report to absorb (23 pages), so head over to the TEKsystems website when you have a moment and download the agency’s 2016 Annual IT Forecast. In addition to the areas that I have focused on here, you can also learn what TEKsystems discovered from IT decision makers about the most difficult roles to fill, IT department spending, and salary. And, if you haven’t done so yet, take a look at Cisco’s own 2015 survey of IT hiring managers by clicking the box below.

A number of the hottest areas of IT concern, especially the ones at the top of the list such as security, data, networking, and cloud, are ones that Cisco training can help with. Take a look at our certifications page here on the Cisco Learning Network.

Do you work in an IT department? What would you say is your group’s no. 1 technical area of concern?

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Gary Pfitzer is a content manager at Learning@Cisco, focused on bringing various aspects of today's IT journey to light through business papers, blogging, customer success stories, and other writing.