2012 health IT jobs: What's hot and what's not

According to HIMSS JobMine, one of the leading niche healthcare IT job boards in the industry, these were the top 10 positions by job function in 2011:

  1. IT/technology management
  2. Analyst
  3. Healthcare informatics
  4. Consultant
  5. Systems analyst
  6. Project management /project manager
  7. Clinical information management
  8. Data management/analysis
  9. Systems/network engineer; programmer
  10. Health information administrator

So far for 2012, the list hasn't changed much, with the exception of three different job categories emerging. Postings for "CIO/VP of IT/IS", "programmers/developers", and "sales/marketing/business development" positions are on the rise. The following positions aren't as prevalent as last year: "data management/analysis", "systems/network engineer; programmer", and "health information administrator".

This emergence of "CIO/VP of IT/IS" isn't surprising. As the economy dictates more oversight and strategy for IT spending, organizations are seeking skilled leaders. Physician practices are expanding their IT presence, and this expansion taps into personnel bandwidth, thus creating the need for a senior level leadership position. With this increased demand, recruiting practices are becoming more competitive in their efforts to lure CIOs away from their current employers. Also, the workforce is beginning to feel the impact as the first wave of Baby Boomers retires, paving the way for the next generation of CIOs.

The increase in "sales/marketing/business development" positions can be attributed to the stabilization within the healthcare vendor market. There was significant fallout between 2009 and 2011 where marketing budgets were cut and staff reduced. Sales departments either maintained a status quo or replaced higher paid representatives. There also were several major mergers and acquisitions during this time that had an impact. Not only are these companies hiring again, but the majority of these positions also prefer candidates with healthcare knowledge. Because of this preference, more employers and recruiters are using niche job boards for sourcing.

Programmers and developers require a specific skill set, which can be applied in a healthcare setting and on the vendor side. With healthcare organizations becoming increasingly more dependent on technology, and as the technology evolves, the roles of programmers and developers become more important.

A lot can change in six months, and it will be interesting to see how these positions trend during the rest of the year. Based on the data collected to date, it's safe to say that "IT/technology management," "analyst" and "healthcare informatics" positions will remain in the top five for job openings.

E.J. Fechenda is audience data manager for MedTech Media.

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