As the economy slowly begins to revive, organisations will be looking for IT pros with a mix of skills. We look at what you'll need to get ahead in 2010.

There's no doubt 2009 was a year that saw veteran employees leaving companies and a distinct lack of new projects for many IT organisations.

Just ask Shane Kilgore, IT director at Randall-Reilly Publishing in the US.

He was dismayed to see two talented software developers give notice recently. One had five years under his belt and the other had 10, but Kilgore took their departures as a sign that the economy is taking its first steps toward recovery.

He plans to hire a few new developers this year, not only to replace the ones who left, but also to work on new products that will be in demand when - as many economists predict - the recovery gains headwind this year.

"Things have been frozen because of the economy," Kilgore says. "But if we don't get new products out there, we won't have enough places for customers to put their money."

Still, with signs pointing to recovery and even job growth in 2010, companies such as Randall-Reilly are planning to hire only in key areas, and even then, they will favour people with skills that span multiple disciplines.

In many cases, companies will still resist bringing on full-time employees, says Tom Silver, senior vice president for North America at Dice Holdings, which operates and other careers websites.

"One thing we see companies do is bring people in on a project basis, and then as business comes back, they hire them full time," Silver says.

According to a survey by PC Advisor's sister title Computerworld looking at the IT industry next year, this year's hiring plans certainly aren't at 2009 levels.

Less than 20 percent of the 312 IT executives polled said they plan to increase IT head count in the next 12 months, compared with 26 percent in the previous year. And nearly 20 percent said they plan to decrease their IT head count.

For IT professionals who are either looking to get back into the workforce or mulling moves to greener pastures, here are the six types of skills most in demand among survey respondents who said they expect to hire IT workers in 2010.

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  1. IT pros willing to embrace these skills are sure to be in demand this year
  2. Programming/application development
  3. Help desk/technical support
  4. Security and business intelligence