Top 10 In-Demand Technology Skills
Looking to change fields and get into tech, but don’t know what skills you need to launch your career? Maximize your marketability by pursuing tech skills in demand for the future!
Between 2016 and mid-2019, employers were only able to fill six of every 10 open tech positions, signaling a huge technology talent deficit. Furthermore, over 50% of company learning & development leaders in a Udemy survey said technical skills were their top priority for training in 2020.
Of course, tech is a broad field, and there are a lot of interesting directions you can go in. In this article, we'll look at the various areas of tech, how much demand exists for each skill, and where to go to start your learning journey.
Top Tech Skill #1: Artificial Intelligence
AI is rapidly changing the landscape of work, making it an exciting time for programmers looking for something new. Hiring growth for AI specialists has grown 74% annually in the past 4 years. Because of its increasingly widespread adoption, AI specialists earned LinkedIn’s #1 emerging jobs spot.
There is crossover with machine learning here (which you’ll learn about next!), but the key difference is that AI is a broader concept pertaining to machines designed to act intelligently like humans, whereas machine learning relies on devices making sense of a specific set of data.
In 2018, 31% of businesses said implementing AI was on their agenda for the next 12 months. Their top use cases are incorporating AI in data analysis and user experience.
Top Tech Skill #2: Machine Learning
Machine learning is one of the most innovative and exciting fields moving into the future, making it one of the most profitable skills you can learn. From Siri and Alexa to chatbots to predictive analysis to self-driving cars, there are a ton of uses for this futuristic tech.
Those who begin taking online courses in machine learning now will still be getting in relatively early, as demand is only increasing from here. According to McKinsey, 49% of companies are currently exploring or planning to use machine learning.
Machine learning can be applied to every industry, including healthcare, education, finance, etc. Translation? The possibilities are endless, and you can apply your machine learning skills to a role that suits your personality and interests.
Top Tech Skill #3: Data Science & Analytics
Two consistently in-demand tech jobs within Big Data include data science and data analytics. 84% of enterprises have launched advanced analytics and Big Data initiatives to accelerate their decision-making and bring greater accuracy. This is part of why data science has earned a top spot on LinkedIn’s emerging jobs report all three years the report has been conducted.
Data analysis is the more entry-level skill, whereas data science gets more advanced, but the careers are still cousins. Industries needing data professionals span education, finance, health, software, and more.
Top Tech Skill #4: Data Visualization
Data visualization is a way to help people understand the significance of data by placing it in a visual context. For instance, by turning spreadsheets or reports into charts and graphs that can be easily understood.
Think of this career as a bridge between technical and non-technical roles. You're taking the data collected by analysts and transforming it into a form anyone can understand.
Top Tech Skill #5: Network and Information Security (Cybersecurity)
For any company that collects customer information or deals with sensitive data of their own, keeping networks secure is paramount.
When data breaches do happen, they can be big, newsworthy, and costly for the company to recover from. The number of data breaches increased by 50% in 2019, and companies famously hacked in the past include Sony, LinkedIn, Chipotle, and others.
These situations underscore just how critical it is for companies to keep their network security up to par, and make cybersecurity one of the most-needed jobs and one of the technology skills in demand in 2020. Within just one year, company demand for security engineers has increased by 132%.
Unfortunately for those companies, right now there is a shortage of people trained in network security. Fortunately for you, that means there's a gap in the market you can fill.
Top Tech Skill #6: Cloud Computing/AWS
Cloud computing jobs are on the rise because more and more companies are switching from the classical server infrastructure to cloud solutions.
Top Tech Skill #7: Internet of Things (IoT)
In the broadest sense, the term IoT encompasses everything connected to the internet, but it is increasingly being used to define objects that “talk” to each other. Simply, the Internet of Things is made up of devices—from simple sensors to smartphones and wearables—connected together.
Everything that's connected to the internet can be hacked, which is why security is one top concern with these devices. Cybersecurity professionals who specialize in IoT will likely be highly sought after for this reason.
Top Tech Skill #8: UI/UX Design
While they're in the same family, UI and UX are different. UI (user interface) specialists design interfaces for websites and apps to be visually appealing, flow well, and be easy for users to navigate. UX (user experience) specialists do a lot of research and testing to consider every element of how the user will interact with the company and website, coordinating with developers and UI designers.
This type of career is perfect for those who want a creative-meets-analytical type of role (graphic design meets A/B testing and so on).
Ultimately, UI is better for those who want to focus on the visuals, layout, and general look and feel of a page or product. UX is better for those who want to use analysis and testing to help a business seamlessly meet their users' needs.
Top Tech Skill #9: Mobile Development
There are 3.5 billion smartphone users in the world today, and that number is continuing to grow every year. This means that companies who want to stay relevant don't just need websites; they need apps. Having mobile development skills also comes with the perk that if you can build apps for others, you can build and sell your own as well–so it's an ideal career path for aspiring entrepreneurs.
One interesting direction that mobile apps are headed in is augmented reality. Apps like Pokémon Go and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite game engage with the real world, blending technology and reality.
Top Tech Skill #10: Programming Languages in General
Having a foundation of programming language skills can open doors for you in a lot of different ways.
When it comes to specific skills, there are some notable trends:
- HTML and CSS are the easiest languages to start with if you’re new to coding
- Python is the fastest-growing language
- Go is highly in demand, but low in supply; only 7% of developers work with it often
- Scala, Ruby, Typescript and Kotlin are also some top in-demand skills with comparatively low developer familiarity
Of course, the language that’s best for you to learn depends on your specific goals.