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Top 10 IT Skills In-Demand for 2023

With more employers moving toward skills-based hiring and compensation models, acquiring new, in-demand skill sets is the key to remaining relevant and commanding higher pay in the coming year.

Assessments of recent job posting data confirms that skills, not degrees, are fast becoming the new currency of work.

For instance, professional networking site LinkedIn has seen a 21% rise in job postings that advertise for skills and responsibilities rather than qualifications and requirements. Given the trend, there’s never been a better time to boost your abilities and your paycheck.

If you’re looking to advance your career by acquiring new technology skills in 2023, here are ten of the hottest areas you may want to consider and some of the best skills to learn in each:

  1. Cloud Computing The demand for cloud computing skills has soared, especially with businesses requiring more efficient and effective ways to manage increasingly decentralized data, systems and workers post-pandemic. Even better, the cloud engineer job market is home to significant skills gap – meaning there are more cloud computing job openings than qualified engineers to fill them. Hot Cloud Computing Skills The shortage of qualified professionals presents a golden opportunity for IT pros who train and certify in the leading cloud platforms - chiefly Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. Check out this graph of cloud computing market share for a better view of the landscape. According to a recent salary survey from Skillsoft, two of the top 3 highest paying IT certifications this year were in cloud computing: AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional at #1 ($168,080) and Google Cloud - Professional Cloud Architect at #3 ($161,371). The #2 slot went to cybersecurity, which we'll get into later. However, a wide range of cross-platform skills in the cloud are highly marketable right now, including cloud migration, application development and deployment, application programming interfaces (APIs), database management and storage, and cloud management and security.

  2. Artificial Intelligence IT pros with artificial intelligence (AI) skills are in high demand and for good reason. Using computer programs to perform tasks similar to human cognition has the potential to reshape almost every aspect of how we live and work. Last year, some 33% of IT job postings asked for AI skills, and 97 million more jobs will be created in this space by 2025. With employers already struggling to find specialists with the necessary skills for AI roles, today’s average salary of $145,065 is bound to keep increasing. Hot AI Skills Although each AI specialty requires a slightly different set of technical and soft skills, the overall top skills include machine learning, data science and algorithms, and a deep knowledge of math concepts such as calculus, algebra, statistics and probability. While there’s a growing selection of no-code and low-code AI solutions entering the market, many employers still seek a proficiency with programming languages such as Python, C++, R and Java for AI jobs as well. On top of those qualifications, candidates will benefit from soft skills like emotional intelligence and effective communication to explain complex AI concepts to non-technical stakeholders and executives.

  3. Cybersecurity With employers posting 714,548 jobs for cybersecurity roles and skills during the 12-month period ending April 2022, cybersecurity continues to be one of hottest domains for IT professionals. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the job market for IT security specialists to explode by 35% from 2021 to 2031 – much faster than the 15% growth rate for all technology jobs and a whopping 7 times faster than the 5% rate for all occupations. Hot Skills in Cybersecurity The most in-demand cybersecurity subskills include penetration testing, application security, network security and cloud security, but adding fundamentals like risk assessment, intrusion detection, security controls and frameworks, and incident response can bolster your market value even more. In fact, cyber-sec professionals with threat detection, modeling and threat management skills garnered premium pay equivalent to 16% of base salary. Some IT certifications that offer the highest pay premium and ROI are in cybersecurity as well. Boost your paycheck by earning the Cisco CCNA certification or CompTIA's Network+, Security+ or CySA+ credentials. Cybersecurity managers can enjoy a major pay bump with ISACA's CISM certification, with an average salary of $162,347 for cert-holders.

  4. Data Science With Gartner stating that some 91 percent of organizations have not yet reached a “transformational” level of maturity in data and information, the need to drive improved decision-making is just one reason why the number of jobs requiring data science skills is expected to grow 27.9% by 2026. And though data scientist salaries vary widely depending on education, certifications and experience, the salary range for data science pros typically falls between $124,000 and $153,000. Hot Data Science Skills Since data science is a multidisciplinary field, it requires a broad range of skills. Foundational requirements typically include a bachelor’s or master’s degree and a proficiency in statistics, economics, information systems or computer science. Data science pros will also benefit from the ability to program in languages such as Python, Java, SQL, C++, and R, as well as familiarity with one of the top Python libraries for deep learning, such as TensorFlow or PyTorch. Other sought-after skills for data scientists include data wrangling, data intuition, pipeline building, feature engineering, querying, social media mining, and data visualization and storytelling. Like many other technical roles, data scientists need the following soft skills to thrive today: communication, critical thinking, problem solving, business acumen and intellectual curiosity. Experts claim that it also helps to have grit, passion and a healthy dose of skepticism.

  5. Data Analysis You don’t need an advanced degree to join the data science revolution. Knowing how to mine, clean, sort and process data to extract relevant and valuable information can catapult you to a high paying career as a data analyst, data engineer, consultant, business analyst, marketing analyst, IT systems analyst, project manager or even data scientist (with additional training). Speaking of skills being the new currency for employment and advancement, the average salary for job titles that require data analytics skills is $195,385, according to Impressive! Hot Data Analysis Skills In addition to proficiency with fundamental data analysis methods, processes and techniques, having a strong background in math and knowing how to use SQL to extract data and Microsoft Excel to analyze datasets can help you compete in this growing job market. Other desirable data skills in data analysis include programming chops in Python and R, as well as the ability to communicate findings using data visualization and presentation skills. Succeeding in any job involving data analysis also requires excellent soft skills including collaboration, critical thinking and problem-solving.

  6. DevOps Could DevOps be the hottest tech skill out there? Based on an analysis of job postings and salary data, we know that career opportunities for DevOps pros are continuing to soar. We also know that the future looks bright for anyone with DevOps skills, since the market exceeded $4 billion in 2019 and is projected to grow by over 20% between 2020 and 2026. Hot DevOps Skills To master DevOps, you must first understand what it is. DevOps is a cultural philosophy and set of practices and tools that integrates software development and operations teams to shorten the development cycle. In short, DevOps requires a different model and mindset. In addition to learning marketable DevOps programming and scripting languages such as Python, PHP, PERL and Java, you will need to learn DevOps practices like continuous integration, testing and delivery, microservices and infrastructure as code. And since the goal is to break down silos, it should go without saying that excellent soft skills in communication and collaboration are crucial to succeeding in DevOps.

  7. Machine Learning With companies investing millions of dollars in machine learning (ML) research and projects, it’s no wonder that ML made our list of the most in-demand IT skills for 2023. What is machine learning? ML is a subfield of artificial intelligence that uses algorithms to give computers the ability to learn and grow smarter without being programmed. However, to become a highly paid ML engineer (the fourth fastest growing job in the US over the last five years) or qualify for other ML-related roles, you need to become proficient with ML concepts and technologies. Hot Machine Learning Skills Generally, machine learning professionals must be skilled in computer science fundamentals and programming, probability and statistics, data modeling and evaluation, machine learning algorithms and libraries, software engineering and systems design. Python, R, Java and JavaScript top the list of popular ML programming languages, followed by Julia and LISP. Desirable soft skills in machine learning positions include communication, teamwork, time management, a thirst for learning and creative problem-solving.

  8. Product Management To deal with the challenges brought on by the pandemic, businesses across all sectors are hiring product managers to launch and manage successful tech products, and workforce demand shows no signs of slowing. In fact, some experts estimate that more than 500,000 positions have been created in the last eight years. While the base salary for an entry-level product manager averages $75,000, experienced pros average $133,212 per year. Hot Product Management Skills Although having a technical background is a plus, currently only 30% of product managers have coding expertise. The other competencies employers look for in a product manager include business acumen, customer centric mindset, market orientation and soft skills such as persuasion, empathy, delegation and the ability to lead without formal authority.

  9. Software Development No list of marketable tech skills in the modern era would be complete without software development. With 162,900 projected openings for software developers, quality assurance analysts and testers each year over the next decade, suffice to say that software engineers with a robust skill set will be able to write their own ticket for the near future. Hot Software Development Skills The programming languages in the highest demand for software developers in 2023 include JavaScript, Python, Go, Java, Kotlin, PHP, C#, Swift, R, Ruby, C and C++. Career-minded software developers will also benefit from technical skills in cloud computing, containers and database management.

  10. Systems and Networks Although the demand for traditional network professionals continues to outpace supply, and jobs are projected to increase 4% to 5% over the next decade, new responsibilities and roles are making their way to the forefront as this field evolves. Learn the following skill sets to capitalize on emerging trends in computer systems and network technologies. Hot Networking Skills To compete for the jobs of the future, network professionals will need to be familiar with cloud networking technologies, cloud architecture capabilities, wireless network security and edge computing. Other hot technical skills beyond traditional network practices include software-defined networking (SDN), secure access service edge (SASE), zero trust network access (ZTNA) and software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) management. Like other IT professionals, network practitioners will need exceptional soft skills to cope with the challenges of troubleshooting and maintaining secure networks across a remote workforce. The most valuable soft skills for systems and network pros include communication, active listening, confidence, situational awareness, empathy and patience.

Summary and Sources

Demonstrating an ability and willingness to learn new skills is one of the most crucial qualities managers look for when hiring new IT staffers. Given that, we analyzed numerous reports including macro job posting data from Lightcast, employment forecasts from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, and wage data from and Foote Partners’ IT Skills & Certifications Pay Index to develop a consensus list of the year’s most sought-after computing skills.

Whether you want to transition to a new career or improve your job performance and knowledge, acquiring any of the in-demand IT skills on our list can put you on a path to success in 2023 and beyond. *Story by Leslie Stevens-Huffman

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