10 most 'disruptive' information technology jobs in the year ahead

Artificial intelligence, DevOps-related skills drawing the highest premium, analysis of almost two million job openings finds.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

In today's tech scene, jobs involving DevOps and artificial intelligence are the most in demand at this time. Employers are offering up sizeable premiums -- almost $25,000 in additional salary for professionals who can automate IT operations, and an additional $14,000 a year to those who can deliver AI and machine learning capabilities. 

Photo: Joe McKendrick

That's the word from a recent analysis by Burning Glass Technologies. The study's authors looked at more than 1.7 million job openings within the United States, and grouped similar technology skills into associated skill areas and assessed both the projected growth of each skill area over the next five years, as well as difficulties filling job openings for said skills.  

Along with salary premiums, the study's authors looked at the most "disruptive" job roles seen in information technology. The skill areas projected to grow the fastest include quantum computing and connected technologies, with forecasted growth rates of 135% and 104%, respectively. 

The top 10 most disruptive IT jobs on the horizon -- and their projected growth over the next five years-- include the following:

  1. Quantum computing (+135%; premium +$4,204): "Skills related to building and utilizing quantum computers and their applications. 
  2. Connected technologies (+104%; premium +$10,873): "Skills related to the Internet of Things and connected physical tools, as well as the telecommunications infrastructure needed to enable them, such as 5G." 
  3. Fintech (+96%; premium; +$13,799): "Skills related to technologies such as blockchain and others aimed at making financial transactions more efficient and secure."
  4. AI and machine learning (+71%; premium +$14,175): "Skills related to developing and utilizing programs, tools, and solutions powered by algorithms and other technologies that automatically respond and improve based upon prior experience or data."
  5. IT automation (+59%, premium +$24,969): "Skills related to automating and orchestrating digital processes and workflows." 
  6. Natural language processing (+41%; premium +$6,368): "Skills related to developing solutions and technologies build upon machine-enabled processing of natural language."
  7. Proactive security (+39%; premium +$8,851): "Skills related to proactively securing and protecting digital infrastructure from cybercriminals and preventing cyberattacks before they occur." 
  8. Software development methodologies (+35%; premium +$13,762): "Skills related to Agile, DevOps, and related approaches to developing software more rapidly, effectively, and securely."
  9. Cloud (+28%; premium + $10,588): Skills related to developing, implementing, and securing cloud computing infrastructure and strategy. 
  10. Parallel computing (+17%; premium + $7,797): "Skills related to a form of computation where many calculations, or the execution of computational processes, are carried out simultaneously."   

Many of these jobs land in startups -- startups valued at $1 billion or more are 33% more likely to prioritize one or several of these tech job skills in their new hire plans, versus their legacy Fortune 100-based competitors or colleagues, the analysis finds. 

"These skill areas are spreading across many different occupations and industries," the Burning Glass report adds. "Eight of the 10 skill areas are already commonly requested in over 30% of occupations. This diffusion of skills across different jobs and industries is hybridizing many roles and teams, requiring employers to be thoughtful in determining which roles are best suited for embedding these skills." 

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