Get brushing up on those network skills nowThe UK's 3G rollout will lead to a growth in demand from operators and service providers for IT staff with telecoms networking skills. Just last month the beleaguered telecoms sector was picked out as a bright spot in a generally bleak IT jobs survey by e-skills UK. It said almost a fifth of firms were predicting an increase in staffing levels in this year. Russell Beck, strategic accounts director at the telecoms recruitment and consulting arm of Spring IT, said that while the European telecoms market remains depressed 3G will provide new IT jobs opportunities. He said: "We're still seeing price pressures on roles. They have hit a plateau for the last nine months and I think they will stay there for the foreseeable future. I don't think we'll see an upswing in pay rates no matter how rare the skill. It's fair to say that Europe is fairly flat and we believe there will only really be a pick up when people start to look at deploying 3G." Particular skills that will be in demand are related to the telcos network infrastructure. He said: "You will see an increase in roles such as application development, interoperability testing – the 'plumbing' of gluing disparate applications together into the network to enable users to access them. We see that middleware plumbing area growing." As to when the main mobile operators will get round to rolling out 3G services in the UK, Beck predicted it could still be some time away. He said: "When that will be is probably anyone's guess. Everyone is sitting back looking to see how Hutchison are doing."