Where Will the Tech Jobs Be in 2018 and What Skills Are Needed?
Growing business needs for digital transformation, cloud services, big-data crunching, and IT security will keep demand for tech professionals high in the coming year. In fact, the number of computer and information technology jobs is growing faster than the average for any other occupation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The across-the-board need for IT skills is making it difficult for many companies to find enough staff with up-to-date capabilities, another study found. Recent surveys by Robert Half Technology, an IT professional staffing firm, found a majority of businesses believe they're lacking in a number of key technology skills.
Among the IT skills most in demand are data science and analysis, hacking and security, content creation and content marketing, programming and design, and social media marketing, according to the surveys.
Developers, Security Pros in High Demand
The Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook predicts the 2016-2026 growth rates for jobs in numerous technology categories: 28 percent for information security analysts; 24 percent for software developers; 19 percent for computer and information research scientists; 13 percent for Web developers; and 10 percent for computer support specialists.
In fact, software and application development is expected to be the ninth fastest-growing occupation in the U.S. over the next 10 years, while information security analysis is predicted to be the 15th fastest-growing occupation.
"Demand for information security analysts is expected to be very high," the bureau said in its job outlook. "Cyberattacks have grown in frequency, and analysts will be needed to come up with innovative solutions to prevent hackers from stealing critical information or creating problems for computer networks."
Security skills will be especially important in industries such banking and financial services, as well as healthcare, the bureau said.
Last month alone, the IT sector added thousands of jobs in IT and software services; computers sytems design; computer, electronics, and semiconductor manufacturing; and data processing, hosting, and related services, according to an analysis of the latest government jobs data by the Computer Technology Industry Association.
Need for Both Tech & Creative Digital Skills
U.S. businesses looking to keep up with growing IT service demands are finding it especially difficult to find staff with the needed digital skills, and report feeling stretched thin in many areas, according to a study released last month by Robert Half Technology. Those skills include engineering, development, and security capabilities, as well as skills on the creative side of digital, including content creation, content marketing, search engine optimization, and Web and user experience design.
The study's findings were based on survey responses by nearly 500 North American professionals responsible for hiring technology staffers, and more than 2,500 CIOs in the U.S.
More than 77 percent of those responding to the surveys reported finding it somewhat or very challenging to hire staff with up-to-date digital skills, and 53 percent said they thought their departments were somewhat or severely understaffed. Sixty-five percent named a lack of digital-savvy leadership as the top barrier to their companies' successes in digital marketing.
"Technology teams help drive many of the digital initiatives that organizations are implementing, but the demand to keep up can outpace their ability to adequately staff projects," John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology, said in a statement about the study. "Our research shows companies look to improve cross-organizational collaboration, increase innovation and solve for business issues, all while trying to bring the best and brightest digital talent on board."