What will your next IT job be?
With the technology landscape changing quickly, so too are IT jobs. But what are the most in-demand roles, and which skills do you need to stand out?
If you stay current with IT news, chances are you've read that technologies like artificial intelligence and the cloud could soon make traditional IT functions redundant.
Does that mean it's time to seek work in a new industry? Far from it. While corporate IT responsibilities are evolving, technical skills remain highly sought after.
Let’s take a closer look at the trends that will shape IT jobs over the next five years.
IT is still the ‘it’ industry
As the pace of technology change quickens, organisations rely on IT professionals more than ever.
One in two Australian jobs will require high-level IT skills within 15 years, according to a report commissioned by the National Broadband Network last year.
LinkedIn research shows that out of the ten most desirable skills in Australia in 2017, seven are IT related. These include statistical analysis and data mining; middleware and integration software; network and information security; mobile development; user interface design; web architecture; development framework and algorithm design.
But what is driving these trends, and how will they affect IT professionals? An examination of emerging technologies can help provide insight.
Technology shapes IT roles
When it comes to the worldwide employment market, technology has a greater influence than you might expect. Over one-third of respondents in the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report (PDF) ranked mobile, internet and cloud as the key technologies driving change.
These were followed by:
Advances in computing power and big data
New energy supplies and technologies
The internet of things
Artificial intelligence and machine learning
Advanced manufacturing and 3D printing
Each of these technologies will have a profound impact on future IT jobs. The World Economic Forum report forecasts technology-driven jobs growth in sectors including nanotechnology, robotics and geospatial information systems.
More automation means more specialisation
Technological developments have pushed up demand for workers with enhanced skills. Many of the specialist roles in short supply today, like data scientists, did not exist a decade ago.
AI-driven automation is predicted to take over IT tasks that require less specialist knowledge, such as installing infrastructure and repairing infected devices. In turn, demand for application and web developers, AI interface programmers and data analysts will increase.
Demand for specialist roles has also risen in fields including AI and machine learning research, AI software development, data mining and analysis, and machine learning application development.
Upskill for your next IT role
Every IT professional understands the importance of keeping skills current. However, you may need further upskilling to land a more lucrative role in an emerging field.
For example, deepening your data analysis expertise could unlock high-value opportunities in distributed data architecture, memory processing, visualisation, natural language processing and cognitive analytics. Staying current with technology trends and identifying skills needed to stay relevant will maximise available opportunities.
If you’re obsessed with innovation, keep an eye on the financial technology (fintech) sector. McKinsey research shows that in Asia Pacific, fintech investments more than quadrupled in 2015 to $4.3 billion, accounting for 19 percent of all global financing activity. That’s up from just six percent five years ago.
Fintech is disrupting existing banking pathways, changing the way consumers save, borrow, invest, move, spend and even protect money. Fintech companies need developers and data engineers to create products like mobile banking applications. A background in payments, wealth, insurance or asset management is also advantageous. IT professionals with the right combination of skills and experience are in high demand.
Over the next five years, the ever-changing IT industry will present countless opportunities. With the right focus, you’ll be well prepared to take advantage of them.
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