Programming, website design and development, networking – these were the valuable IT skills of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. And there is no reason to think that they are not still useful. But it’s a “new day” in IT, and those who want careers in this field, going into 2019 and beyond, must have or develop new skill sets to meet the demands of companies that intend to stay competitive.
Here’s a look at the most in-demand IT skills that can land you a job in 2019:
1. Data Science
Gathering, processing, and analyzing big data, both structured and unstructured, provides organizations with the information they need to make business decisions based on factual information, as opposed to “gut” feelings. It is clearly the hottest field in IT right now with data mining as one of its most important subsets. Some sort of data mining is used almost everywhere – from business intelligence to big data analysis.
Anyone who can develop algorithms to accomplish this, or at least use the algorithms and tools out there, will be able to “name their price.” You’ll need mastery of programming languages, analytical and mathematical skills, and probably a Masters or Ph.D.
2. BI Analyst
The data scientist will provide data patterns, but a business intelligence analyst does just that – analyzes those patterns and communicates them to business decision-makers. It’s one thing to harvest data, but making sense of it is the job of the business intelligence analyst. You’ll need skills in database queries and online analytical processing, as well as strong communication skills.
3. Cloud Architect/Cloud Systems Engineer
Organizations are “hot” to get into the cloud, but that migration is a foolhardy endeavor without the right people to design, implement and manage it. You could be that right person.
Cloud system engineers do the planning, designing, developing, and installing of IT cloud systems. Typically, you must have experience working with such platforms as Amazon Web Services, OpenStack, and Microsoft Azure. But you will also need a strong understanding of DevOps and programming languages. You will need to configure, test, and debug the infrastructure you develop and design.
The cloud architect oversees and supports an organization’s cloud applications. You will need a solid background in multiple operating systems, as well as skills in networking, security and scaling cloud applications.
4. Database Development
Skills in developing database systems and managing database architecture are still in high demand. If you are good at problem-solving and troubleshooting, and have lots of technical skills (experience with a variety of programming languages and database technologies), you will be in demand.
Yes, there is still a high demand for developers for web, software, and mobile. And developers who have skills in coding, designing, and constructing apps will be highly employable. You need to be able to work with multiple programming languages, as well as to analyze and develop solutions to meet user needs. Jim Scoffield, CIO for Online Writers Rating, puts it this way: “Most of our IT services are contracted out, and finding the right developer for our mobile apps was high on our list of priorities. Finding the right person has meant that our app is responsive to all devices and attracts the customer base we need.”
6. Help Desk Support/Customer Service Pros
Here is an area where you can find solid employment with an associate’s degree or strong technical school background. Those with a bachelor’s degree and some certifications will command better salaries, as they are in higher demand.
These positions are critical to organizations that must quickly satisfy customer issues and that rely on newer technologies to do so (chatbots, online chats, automation, and coordination of customer histories). Streamlining these processes allows organizations to serve their customers better. Susan McDonnell, Customer Service Director for Essay Supply, is sold on the new technology available for customer service. “We now have an integrated system of online chat, chatbots, and a call center, to handle the more complex issues. This system allows us to respond to our customers much faster, and that gives them the satisfaction they demand.”
However, human interaction is still the most vital part of customer service. So if you are looking for a job in this field, qualities like enthusiasm, customer empathy, patience, and stress management are the ones you probably want to develop or improve.
7. IoT Specialists
Devices and their connectivity are critical to a number of industries, especially healthcare and appliance and home security retailers. You can bring valuable knowledge to such organizations if you have expertise in one or more of these niches and experience working with IoT tools, devices, applications and software, and hardware.
8. Network and Security Administrators
Given the fact that employees work from many different locations on multiple devices, networking has become a critical need for many organizations. Just as critical, however, is the security in this new workplace environment. If you have skills and experience in these areas, to manage collaboration and both internal and external security threats, you will be in high demand. If you can manage security audits, troubleshoot potential threats, and maintain a secure network for multiple users on multiple devices, you will have little difficulty finding employment.
9. System Administration
It’s not just a question of having strong analytical and problem-solving skills anymore. A system administrator must have a full understanding of an organization’s hardware and software. You need experience with servers, installation and recovery of backup systems, upgrading and patching software, and troubleshooting in these areas. Certifications (e.g., MCSA, MCSE, SCSA) are a must.
You Have the Skills – Now to Find That Job
Obviously, job boards such as Monster.com can be a start. But you also need to plan your job search carefully, so that you find all of the options open to you and an organization that is a “fit” for the work culture you want. Begin with a great resume and get some help from pros who have experience crafting application documents and cover letters. Once you have your documents in place, you are ready to market yourself on LinkedIn and on job boards specific to IT, which you can find at Careers Sidekick.