In recent years, job seekers in the IT field have been enjoying the increased attention of hiring managers across the country. Skilled tech talent is hard to find, partly due to the low 2.5% unemployment rate in the industry. However, those professionals looking for the biggest paychecks and best promotions focus on honing their skills in the niches that are needed the most. As 2018 begins, there are a number of in-demand tech skills that can give a tech pro a leg up on their career.
A number of high profile cybersecurity attacks in 2017 spurred many organizations to review and overhaul their security measures. Ransomware attacks are increasing at an alarming frequency, costing victims over $1 billion per year. May’s WannaCry ransomware attack was able to infect hundreds of thousands of machines all over the world. Additionally, major security breaches like the one at Equifax have underscored the need for talent. All this demand has driven the unemployment rate in cybersecurity to an incredible 0%.
Businesses are looking for talent that can reinvent their cybersecurity strategy and implement the appropriate protocols at every turn. Back doors must be patched, operating systems need to be upgraded in a timely fashion, and even something as simple as implementing stronger password protection is needed at many organizations. When one security breach can destroy a company’s image as well as consumer trust, it’s no wonder that demand is outpacing supply, with 1.5 million unfilled cybersecurity positions expected by 2020.
With a 3,977% increase in demand for big data skills in just four years, the huge need for talent in this niche is undeniable. Organizations have become increasingly aware of the insights that their data hides and are investing in tech pros that can analyze the 1s and 0s and translate them into clear information. Roles such as Data Scientist are highest in demand, with salaries for the position reaching an average of over $113,000 nationally. By providing deeper knowledge of a company, a stronger focus on big data and BI allows business leaders to make more strategic decisions that make their big investment in skilled talent worth it.
Technology is making such a big impact in the financial field that a whole new term, FinTech, has arisen to describe the spread of financial technology tools. Consumers are a large reason for this push, as they are increasingly demanding more convenience from their banks. In fact, 50% of digitally-active consumers have used their computers, phones, or tablets to conduct money transfers or make payments. This means financial institutions must invest in tech pros, to the extent that 25% of Goldman Sachs employees work in its tech division. As more companies follow suit, the availability of tech talent with knowledge of financial products will continue to dwindle. Higher salaries and vast career opportunities are in store for those job seekers with FinTech experience.
These days it seems every company has an app, and those that don’t are racing to get one up and running. The reason for this urgency is that people are spending five hours per day on their mobile devices, a figure that has doubled since 2013. It’s a business owner’s dream to directly reach consumers where their eyes, ears, and fingertips are, and that is increasing mobile app development. In addition to needing talent that can create apps, talent that is able to continuously monitor, update, and improve apps is needed.
For an IT professional looking for career progression, it’s easy to get caught up in the latest tech tool, programming language, or technical certification. Unfortunately, this causes many job seekers to neglect building on important skills outside of the IT arena. 77% of employers value soft skills as much as hard skills, and 25% of skills in tech job listings are soft skills. This means that while hard technical skills are what make someone qualified for a role, it’s their communication, writing, organization, and teamwork abilities that differentiate them from their peers and produce the job offer.
There’s no question that it’s a great time to be an IT professional, but just because job opportunities are regularly hitting your inbox doesn’t mean it’s time to let up on the gas of your tech career. Technology moves rapidly, with new innovations constantly shifting the industry’s landscape. The job seekers that continue to expand their resumes with the in-demand tech skills that employers struggle to locate are the ones that will see the most success in 2018.