IT skills are in high demand in just about every sector today. IT used to be treated as its own, somewhat isolated department within an organization. Now, though, IT is far more integrated into almost all aspects of a given business’s operations.

To a very high degree, this same trend can be seen in the health care sector. Now more than ever, hospitals and other care providers view health IT as essential for their broader goals of improving patient care, cutting down costs and achieving compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accessibility Act (HIPPA), Affordable Care Act (ACA) and other relevant standards.

Naturally enough, the growing demand for IT in this industry is also creating many new health IT career opportunities. Washington Post Jobs contributor Leigh Goessl noted that the health care sector will add 15.6 million jobs by 2022.

Goessl went on to speak with Douglas Paulo, Vice President of the Center of Excellence and IT Product Group leader of Kelly Services, who noted that most of the IT jobs that are opening up in the health care sector are not actually health care-specific. Rather, many IT professionals with experience in other industries will be able to transition into the health care sector if they so desire. This is especially true for IT pros with the most in-demand health care IT skills, including:

“Health care organizations see 340% more IT security incidents than other firms.”

IT Security
Cybersecurity receives a tremendous amount of attention in the health care sector, and for good reason. Hackers are increasingly targeting health care providers in order to obtain sensitive Patient Health Information (PHI), which can then be used to commit fraud or sold on the black market. Cybercriminals recognize that this data is actually often more valuable than financial information, as it does not expire if the victim changes credit cards or bank accounts, and can be used more effectively for identity theft and social engineering scams. A recent report from Raytheon|Websense found that PHI is often sold for 10 times the rate of other sensitive information, and organizations tend to see 340 percent more IT security incidents than typical firms. And this is all on top of the fines and other sanctions that care providers may face for failing to adequately safeguard patient data.

Given all of this, it’s no surprise that health care organizations are eager to hire more IT personnel with cybersecurity experience and expertise.

Programming and Application Development
Last year, Computerworld conducted a survey of nearly 200 IT executives concerning their most in-demand IT skills for the coming year. The most popular answer was programming/application development selected by almost half of all respondents.

While this survey was not specific to any particular industry, Contributor Tim Cannon argued that this demand certainly carries over into the health care sector. He pointed out that the evolution of electronic health records is creating more complex systems and greater data-management responsibilities. IT professionals with programming and app development experience will prove essential for hospitals in the near future as they grapple with these issues.

App development is a high-value IT skill across all sectors.
Application development is a high-value IT skill across all sectors.

Project Management
The same is also true of IT project management skills. In the Computerworld survey, 35 percent of participants said they are looking for potential prospects with these skills. According to Cannon, health care providers are especially in need of this type of experience.

“As more hospitals and health systems make the switch to Electronic Health Records (EHRs), knowledgeable project managers will be needed to oversee large projects and to provide support during the transition to new systems,” Cannon wrote.

By focusing on cybersecurity, programming, app development and project management, IT workers will find themselves in high demand when looking for positions in the health care sector.