Following my blog on the top destinations for tech talent – it got me thinking about the most in-demand roles and the most sought-after skills across tech. So here are some of the key areas that have seen stellar rates of hiring as well as some of the main attributes that can help tech professionals stand out in this marketplace.
The demand for cybersecurity and data experts continues at unprecedented rates. These roles became even more prominent in the build-up to the GDPR, which came into force in May 2018. That said, the Chief Information Security Officer’s (CISO) role has been one of the most in-demand in recent times, given the ongoing cyber threats that are causing such havoc to IT systems. These specialists will continue to command top salaries, as organisations continue to invest in their infrastructure to protect themselves from these attacks.
Digital transformation is another area that companies have been prioritising as they seek to maximise the use of technology across all areas of their business – changing the way people work and the processes they use. The end goal of course is to generate greater business revenue by better understanding customer behaviours. In most organisations, this remit falls to the Chief Information Officer (CIO), the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) or Chief Digital Officer (CDO). We know that for any transformation initiative to succeed, it needs the buy in from the C-Suite as well as involvement from marketing, HR and other back office functions, as it impacts the whole organisation.
Appliance of science
Another specialist department that I’ve seen become more instrumental is data science. This won’t come as a surprise given that data is at the heart of all strategic decisions. Data scientists help businesses understand, measure and monetise customer behaviour. Nowadays, the job itself is a mix between a traditional statistician and someone who can develop machine learning models. It made it onto LinkedIn’s ‘Top 10 Most Promising Jobs’ list for 2018 with a median base salary of $113,000. The top five essential skills required of data scientists are a knowledge of Python (programming language), data analysis, machine learning, SQL and statistics.
No article about tech talent would be complete without mentioning Artificial Intelligence (AI). While the advent of robots and algorithms will inevitably automate many jobs, according to some more jobs will be created than those displaced. A recent survey by leading consultancy PwC found that AI would lead to a net gain of 200,000 jobs in the UK, the result of increased productivity, price falls and rising real incomes. Together, these factors generate a demand for new jobs. Even Garry Kasparov, the Russian chess grandmaster, who himself lost to IBM’s supercomputer Deep Blue, is a very vocal exponent of AI, saying that we should embrace it!
Yet despite the inevitable consequences of these advancements in technology, there are some skills that computers simply cannot replace. You can’t expect machines, for example, to manage people or be accomplished leaders. Humans will always have more far more developed interpersonal skills, such as empathy and communication. They will be better able to resolve and deal with customer concerns – human-to-human (H2H) marketing will still be the prevailing force in connecting with consumers and getting them to buy our products.
If anything, AI has reinforced the need for certain skills. There are two sides to this. On the one hand, professionals will unquestionably have to upskill and keep abreast of all the latest technologies to boost their employability. That’s to be expected, especially given the jobs risk posed by AI. However, and this is worth emphasising, it’s not enough to just possess the right technical skills. You also need a high degree of social interaction in the workplace, which is something that computers haven’t mastered!
So, when we talk about tech talent and what it takes to succeed in the jobs of the future, technical qualities are your table stakes but it’s the soft skills that will give you that career-boosting winning hand.