Cloud computing, security and the mobile space hold the most growth potential in the coming years, according to IT professionals surveyed by tech staffing firm Modis.
While no single technology dominated that portion of the study, which polled 502 tech workers on issues related to their jobs and the IT industry, those areas took the top three spots. Cloud computing earned 29 percent of the vote, security tallied 21 percent and mobile scored 18 percent.
The technologies are linked, said Jack Cullen, president of Modis. As companies turn to cloud computing to deliver services over mobile devices, securing data is paramount, he said.
"Security has got to be one of the first things you think about even before talking about mobile applications or strategy," he said. Firms first need to ask how they plan on securing their information in a cloud computing environment.
"There's such a fear of what hackers can do around mobile devices that security is paramount," Cullen said. Companies need to consider what access their sales force will have, for example, what data needs protection and what information is too sensitive to be accessed via a tablet PC or smartphone.
And with a myriad of companies including hardware makers and online retailers introducing mobile devices, these questions will need answers in the coming years.
"The battle that is being waged between Google and Apple is only going to advance this further," said Cullen.
The study also looked into how likely workers are to switch jobs, with 64 percent of respondents expressing that they are content in their current positions and not looking to leave. A quarter of respondents would switch jobs if they were offered the right position, the results found.
Part of this caution around pursuing new roles shows that people who kept their jobs during the economic downturn value employment stability, said Cullen.
"I think people right now are very uncertain," he said. "They've come out of a recession that most people have never experienced before. People have put a premium on security in their job position. They're less hesitant to take a gamble and possibly be out of work. I think there's a lot to be said for stability today."
This uncertainty extends to 2012's employment predictions, which are tied to the financial market's performance, Cullen said. The survey found that 65 percent of respondents predicted that team headcount would stay the same next year. Some IT professionals do foresee staff level increases, with 11 percent calling for significant hiring and 17 percent calling for marginal additions.
"Employer optimism really follows Wall Street quite dramatically," he said. Strong markets lead to increased lending, giving businesses access to the capital to make IT investments and hire the staff to operate those systems, he explained. Tech gives firms a competitive advantage "so having cash to invest into IT is really vital to every organization today."
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