How to Boost Your IT Career: 4 Tech Skills on the Rise

No matter what your IT specialty, developing cross-functional skillsets is a key component to your long-term career success. A more diverse knowledge base offers a broader sense of the big picture, and enables you to better understand how your role fits into your organization and its business goals. This perspective allows you to become more strategic in your current position and helps fuel career growth and leadership opportunities. With that said, here are four tech skills that are currently dominating the IT scene.

Cybersecurity

Identifying and mitigating cybersecurity threats is top of mind for organizations across all sectors.  Breaches can devastate entire companies, causing them to lose credibility and customers while spending millions to recover their systems. It’s critical for companies to maintain updated network security and, with so many organizations seeking these skills, there’s a considerable shortage of knowledgeable information security professionals on the market.

In fact, it’s projected that there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity positions by 2021. While many cybersecurity experts have engineering degrees, obtaining Offensive Security Certification is an alternative option for tech pros hoping to get their foot in the door or simply expand their cybersecurity knowledge. There are a variety of different programs, each presenting a series of real-world hacking challenges that focus on specializations like combatting wireless attacks and developing exploitations. Even if you’re not directly in cybersecurity, having this base level knowledge will make you a more attractive candidate to companies who seek well-rounded, strategic talent.

DevOps

While not a new skill, a DevOps engineer is considered one of the hardest IT roles to fill and is an essential one for employers looking to integrate systems and develop more effective internal business applications. Delivering better software faster is the end game, and many organizations are willing to pay top dollar for qualified DevOps professionals. The average DevOps Engineer makes a salary of $138k, but that figure fluctuates as rapidly as the evolving skills necessary to operate different platforms and open source projects.

The top skills in-demand for DevOps talent are Linux, Scripting (including languages like Python), and Cloud. No matter what your background is, these technologies will be dominating the market for the foreseeable future, making them strong skillsets to add to your existing repertoire.

Data Science & Engineering

Businesses are collecting more data than ever before in an attempt to more effectively market their products, predict future market trends, and identify internal inefficiencies. These insights require infrastructure, maintenance, and context. Data engineers’ and scientists’ database architecture and development abilities ensure data is properly organized and utilized.

It’s estimated that by 2020, B2B and B2C data transactions will exceed 450 billion per day, making data science and engineering extremely valuable skillsets. Apache Kafka, a data engineering software, was ranked as Udemy’s 4th hottest tech skill for 2018, with a 40% increase in demand. Both Twitter and Airbnb both use it to analyze customer behavior, and  IBM predicts that the demand for data scientists will soar 28% by 2020. Now’s the perfect time to begin brushing up on your Python and R knowledge, even if your niche is elsewhere. Data is quickly becoming the backbone of every future-focused organization, meaning your cross-functional skills will be more valuable than ever.

Machine Learning

Machine learning is one of today’s most exciting and profitable fields, so cultivating skills in this area will be a huge draw for employers. There are countless uses for this technology, and as we speed into the future, the possibilities seem endless. Demand for machine learning and AI skills is increasing rapidly, and machine learning engineers now rank among LinkedIn’s Top Emerging Jobs of 2018 with an average salary of 136K.

To break into the machine learning and AI scene, courses like “Machine Learning” on Coursera are a great resource. Developed by Stanford University, the class covers the most effective machine learning techniques and provides an opportunity for students to practice implementing them. Since machine learning and AI technologies can be used in so many areas of the organization, a baseline knowledge of the related skills will be valuable no matter what field of IT you’re currently in.

Top Tech Skills That Will Boost Your IT Career

These four tech skill sets are just the beginning to expanding your technical knowledge. The more well-rounded your IT skills, the more strategic you can be in your existing and future roles. Whether you take online courses, participate in skills development programs, get help from a mentor, or get involved in side projects, stay aware of what skills are most in-demand and are dominating the scene. In today’s market, companies are prioritizing innovation, and your technical skills may be the key to helping them succeed.

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