These planets are directly observable with current technology. Within 10 years, one would imagine that smaller, nearer-to-the-star planets will be directly viewed...perhaps even spectroscopy on the planet's atmosphere will be possible. The James Webb telescope might be able to do some of this as soon as 2017.
That said, will we see strong evidence for life on another world soon? My guess is that an atmosphere with gases that simply don't belong there in large quantities (dimethyl sulfide, free oxygen, etc.) will be found sooner rather than later...and that will more or less wrap it up.