That means embarking on or switching to a career in IT could be a good move for almost anyone right now. But which IT specialties are the best bets for the future, and how can businesses and training centers be prepared to help meet the demand?
According to the list, ranked in reverse order, these will be some of the most in-demand IT skills for the year ahead, each of which we’ve followed with key certifications that can help learners and working professionals launch their careers or enhance their current positions:
10. Systems and Networks
With jobs projected to grow 4-5% in the next ten years, network professionals should have plenty of opportunities in the fields of network technology and computer systems.
Training and certifications from Pearson’s IT Specialist certification program, including IT Specialist Network Security, IT Specialist Networking, and IT Specialist Device Configuration and Management, can help prepare candidates for careers as network or system professionals. CompTIA Network+ or Security+ and Cisco Certified Network Associate are strong choices for intermediate candidates.
9. Software Development
Software is still the foundation of almost everything in IT, and that promises to continue with thousands of projected openings for developers, testers, and analysts in coming years.
8. Product Management
This broad and somewhat general career category covers a lot of ground, but the fact is, with so many new tech products being launched every year, skilled product managers are a valuable asset in almost any field. Product managers can make good salaries—add a technical background and their value rises swiftly.
7. Machine Learning
Anyone who has seen The Terminator movies appreciates the potential of this career field, but the technology itself is very much a growing part of the real world. At its essence, machine learning (ML) involves programming computers to get smarter without the need for further programming. As scary as that sounds, the applications are almost as endless—and exciting—as anyone can imagine.
What skills do students need to become ML professionals? Start with basic computer science and programming language knowledge, then add algorithms, statistics, and software engineering.
As much a philosophy or system of beliefs as it is a career field, DevOps is the set of practices and tools that unite an organization’s “Dev” or development teams with its “Ops” or operational teams—which in many organizations are often at loggerheads when it comes to developing, launching, and supporting software.
5. Data Analysis
Today, nearly every industry is awash in digital data from multiple sources. What’s lacking is people who know how to make sense of it. That’s where data analysis and data analytics come in: the tools and skills for mining all that data, cleaning it up, sorting it out, and processing it to help their organizations perform better.
4. Data Science
Similar to data analysis and data analytics, data science is about working with raw data and transforming it into something that can help people make more informed decisions.
Talk about a career with an upside. Can anyone imagine a future in which cybersecurity professionals aren’t a top priority in almost every industry? Cybercrime Magazine has predicted there could be some 3.5 million job openings in the field by 2025.
2. Artificial Intelligence
“Alexa, play the new album by …” Once you’ve experienced that a few times, it’s hard to go back to anything less convenient.
And that’s just one example of how artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to transform our lives. In fact, IDC predicts worldwide spending on IA to top $500 billion by 2023. But it all starts with humans who have the skills and knowledge in domains, programming languages, and data analysis, among other skills.
1. Cloud Computing
This should come as no surprise. With the pandemic providing a final impetus to the already growing, work-from-home trend, everything has moved to the cloud—and the data professionals who know how to facilitate it are in short supply. This, along with the normalization of remote work, is driving an explosion in the need for cloud computing skills.
For more information
No matter where learners and professionals decide to make their next IT education investment, there should be plenty of opportunities in these fields in the coming years. And skills development through high quality, industry-endorsed certifications will continue to provide the keys to help open doors.