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The drive for corporate efficiency has increased demand for IT professionals with ITIL skills, and a recovery in IT spending has ensured continued demand for project management skills such as Prince 2. Leading training providers contacted by Computer Weekly predicted project management and ITIL courses would continue to rise in popularity.
Eddie Kilkelly training services director at IT training firm Parity, said, "I expect growth in courses for Prince 2 along with ITIL service management in 2005."
Brian Sutton director of learning at IT training company QA agreed. "Project management has grown most significantly, while ITIL service management has been getting broader and broader acceptance in the world. We have tripled the amount of Prince 2 courses we are doing."
Advanced Linux and Oracle skills are expected to top this year's list of hot skills, and the release later this year of Longhorn, the next version of Microsoft's Windows operating system, is expected to trigger a new batch of courses, said Sutton.
In response to demand for accreditation, QA will be launching 40 new courses in 2005 covering subjects ranging from Oracle database training to advanced Linux operating system skills.
Others predict strong demand for courses in infrastructure skills, such as networking.
"During 2004 we have seen a marked increase in the number of people attending technical [developer and programming] training courses," said Aine McGuire, director of training firm Pygmalion Computer Group.
"This highlights the fact that organisations are again investing in developing and upgrading their IT systems and are training their staff to ensure they have the necessary skills to deploy and manage new technologies," she said.
Pygmalion, which specialises in Microsoft infrastructure and development courses, has seen an increasing number of people attending the Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 course over the past 12 months. the training enables participants to upgrade their skills from Exchange 5.5.
Windows Server 2003 is also popular as organisations prepare to move from Windows 2000 and Windows NT4, which will soon no longer be supported by Microsoft.
"During 2005 we expect to see a surge in the number of people attending system management courses such as Microsoft Operations Manager 2005 and Systems Management Server 2003," said McGuire.
"The focus will move from deployment to operating and managing the Windows infrastructure more effectively and efficiently, with reduced downtime and operating costs.
At a glance
ITIL: The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) guidelines are designed to help organisations run their IT services more efficiently.
ITIL was developed by the government's Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency for the UK public sector but has now been adopted globally. The guidelines - available online or through training courses - are overseen by international user group the IT Service Management Forum, which has 2,000 members in the UK.
The library covers seven topics including service support, service delivery, managing IT infrastructure and security.
Information on Prince and ITIL courses
Prince: Prince, which stands for Projects in Controlled Environments, is a method of running IT projects. Developed by the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency in 1989 as a UK government standard for IT project management, Prince has become widely used in both the public and private sectors.
It is now the UK's de facto standard for project management.
Details of Microsoft infrastructure and development courses www.pygmalion.com