Tech skills in most demand this year: data, cloud and cybersecurity

Salaries and skills surveys by Foote Partners and Hays finds insatiable demand for people who can build AI systems and those who can secure them.

By all indications, the coming year will be fruitful for IT managers and professionals, especially for those with skills related to data, cloud and cybersecurity.

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Photo: Joe McKendrick

The latest data from Hays finds 68 percent of IT employers will increase full-time IT hiring during 2019, and 53 percent will increase their use of consultants, especially in the areas of cybersecurity and cloud computing. 

Dice.com's Leslie Stevens-Huffman just ran through Foote Partners' latest compilation of IT jobs in demand, and there is a notable tilt toward opportunities involving data management and analysis. Foote's reporting is based on salary and skills pay data collected from 3,289 employers representing 292,000 IT professionals. 

Here are some leading categories:

  • Data science quantitative analysis/regression analysis (15.4% increase in market value over last six months) 
  • Artificial intelligence (7.1% increase)
  • Hbase (6.7% increase) 
  • Apache Spark (7.1% increase) 
  • Cloudera Impala (7.1% increase) 
  • MapReduce (7.1% increase) 
  • Scala (7.1% increase) 
  • Splunk (7.1% increase) 
  • Sqoop (7.1% increase) 
  • Metadata design and development  (6.7% increase)    

Two strong categories of IT job growth include AI and cybersecurity, Stevens-Huffman relates. As stated by Foote, "AI will go mainstream in 2019 and make big leaps in the next two to three years as companies look to gain real business impact from AI tools. As that occurs, AI will become a foundational skill required of everyone who works in tech in a corporate workforce." In terms of cybersecurity, Foote indicates "that 12 of the 25 top-paying certifications are related to information/cybersecurity. Almost every job in tech now requires security awareness and basic know-how." 

The Hays report, based on 2,000 companies, finds that 70 percent of IT employers say they face a moderate-to-extreme skills shortage of IT professionals. The problem? Companies aren't investing enough in training and development. "The current practice for acquiring new skilled employees is to provide a more competitive salary. But it's a short-term solution at the expense of upskilling existing employees into  needed roles. About 32 percent of employers identify a lack of training/professional development in their organizations as responsible for the skills shortage they're experiencing, but only 34 percent see offering training and development as key to attracting and retaining top talent." 

Interestingly, the Hays team adds, across all industries, 68 percent of employers are looking to hire full-time data security/cloud computing staff in the next year, and up to 53 percent are hiring consultants. But employers are scrambling to find skills-ready security and cloud infrastructure personnel. Up to 60 percent of employers hiring full-time security and cloud infrastructure personnel in the last 12 months found it challenging."