According to Computerworld, anywhere from 500,000 to two million tech jobs go unfilled each year. Employers are hungry for tech talent, but with IT unemployment hovering at just 2 percent, there are simply more jobs than there are skilled professionals to fill them. This means with the right skill set and experience, you can write your own ticket to success as you define it. If you are looking to grow your career this year, these are three skills you should be focusing on.
Programmers and developers will continue to be in high demand this year. Companies in nearly every industry require talent to customize off-the-shelf applications, work on APIs, develop proprietary software and update and maintain systems. Employers are pulling out all the stops to attract the best and the brightest developers, offering increasing salaries, robust benefits packages and a growing list of perks like work-from-home options, tuition reimbursement and student loan payment assistance.
Developers that want to do well in the field should become experts in at least one core programming language; as experts are often able to command higher salaries. They should also show a commitment to quality work, attention to detail and should value testing. Communication skills are an increasingly important skill as well, since developers have to interact regularly with both technical and non-technical members of their organization.
Help Desk and Tech Support
Help desk and tech support are often viewed as “entry-level” positions, but in an increasingly complex technical environment, employers are looking for experienced professionals with a broad range of knowledge in both hardware and software. Tier 1 jobs are still entry level, but employers are also on the hunt for Tier 3 professionals who can not only help manage escalations and handle complex inquiries, but who can also help to improve workflow. According to Computerworld, Tier 3 help desk pros are commanding salaries of up to $80,000.
Strong help desk candidates are typically generalists and are able to work knowledgeably with a variety of hardware and software. Perhaps most importantly, they also possess strong communication skills, ensuring they can “translate” technical jargon to non-tech members, customers, end-users and employees.
Business Intelligence and Analytics
Yes, big data is still a big deal in the tech sector. Now that companies are starting to understand the true power of data and they are making strides in their strategic deployment of big data initiatives, BI and analytics pros are in even higher demand than they were a few years ago. This is true even with the surge of self-service BI platforms on the market today. Companies need BI professionals to help them uncover insights and identify hidden patterns that will drive business strategy.
Employers are looking for BI and analytics professionals with backgrounds in engineering, advanced mathematics and advanced statistics who have data-related programming skills. Ideally, those professionals will have industry-specific experience and business acumen to help them understand the ways in which data impacts the employer’s business.