As more companies undergo digital
transformation, in-demand IT roles will shift by 2020 to include positions
focused on advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), augmented
and virtual reality (AR and VR), and the Internet of Things (IoT).
A mix of tech and business skills
will be required for nearly every position, according to CompTIA chief
technology evangelist James Stanger.
"People have been talking
for a long time about digital transformation of business," Stanger said.
"We're going to see a lot of defined job roles either being radically
redefined, or even just go away. I think an IT skillset will remain valuable,
but it has to be in regards to business. Too long, those things have been kept
1. Computer vision engineer
Demand for computer vision
engineers has grown steadily since 2013, according to Indeed data. These
professionals build and improve computer vision and machine learning algorithms
and analytics to detect, classify, and track objects.
Investments in AR and VR are
expected to grow from $11.4 billion in 2017 to $215 billion in 2021, according
2. Machine learning engineer
Machine learning engineers are
advanced programmers who develop AI machines and systems that can learn and
apply knowledge. These professionals perform sophisticated programming, working
with complex datasets and algorithms to train these systems.
Machine learning engineers will
be in high demand as more and more companies adopt Artificial Intelligence.
3. Network analyst
Businesses are investing more
heavily in their networks as IoT enters the workplace. "More and more
things are going to need to be connected in an efficient way, and that's going
to be a major driver of demand there," said Forrester researcher Nate
Network analysts in the coming
years will combine their technical skill set with an understanding of how to
apply it to provide real-time trending information on network traffic, and what
those insights means for the business, Stanger said.
"That is going to require
somebody who understands more than just networking or more than just
understanding of how sensors work – they are going to fully have to understand
the business and they are going to have understand things like AI,"
Stanger said. "That's a radically different job role than today's job role
of knowing how networking works or how security works."
4. Security analyst
Cybersecurity professionals are
already in great demand, and that will continue into the future, as attacks
grow more sophisticated and technologies to fight them advance.
The role will likely evolve to
include more data skills and AI skills, Stanger said. "Security will
remain very, very important, and we're seeing changes from a reactive security
model to a proactive one," Stanger said. "You're going to see more of
a threat-hunting, artificial intelligence-enhanced model."
5. Cloud engineer
As the vast majority of companies
move important systems to the cloud, more and more are choosing a hybrid
approach, with multiple vendors. In the coming years, cloud engineers will
develop solutions at scale that are a mix of both in-house technology and
outside systems -- going beyond Amazon engineers working on AWS or Microsoft
engineers working on Azure, Mukherjee said.
6. App developer
Across both end users and
vendors, app developers will be in large demand in 2020, Meneer said.
"It's really the intersection of where technical capability comes to face
the business need," he added.
This could be a higher level role
than simply coding, according to Forrester analyst Andrew Bartels: The
developer may be someone who identifies a need and designs what the code would
look like, and sends it off to someone else to do the actual coding.
7. Business intelligence (BI)
BI analysts gather data from a
number of sources, include internal software, competitor information, and
industry trends, to develop a sense of where the company stands in the industry
and how they can both grow and cut costs.
These professionals act as a
counterpart to the app developers, who start from the app and take requirements
in, Bartels said. The business analyst starts with the business side, and
considers what the company needs in terms of apps to make the process work, he
8. DevOps lead
As more app developers and
business analysts come on board, DevOps teams will also need to be expanded to
oversee and coordinate work between those groups, Bartels said.
These professionals bring skills
in development and project management that are required in many companies, even
outside the context of software development, Meneer said. They may be found
under different titles in the future, but the skillsets will continue to be in
9. Database administrator
Database administrators will
become more in-demand by 2020, particularly as companies move toward more
software offerings that include AI, and the ability to create AI-powered
models, Meneer said. "Having well-maintained databases is really the secret
to allowing those products to work effectively," he added.
10. User support specialist
As technology becomes deeply
integrated into the operations of business units, more employees will need
assistance from support specialists, especially as the workforce transitions,
Meneer said. "As companies go through digital transformations, suddenly
they find their operations increasingly interwoven into these systems," he
added. "You're going to need the professionals who can support that."
With all of these positions and
new skills on the horizon, employers need to be proactive in providing training
to workers, Bartels said.
"One of the things that
we've seen is a fast pace of change in the skills that are required and
consequently, the importance of having training mechanisms in place to be
continually upskilling your workers for the new types of skills that may be
coming in demand," Bartels said. "Don't assume that this problem will
take care of itself. Be proactive in terms of identifying skills gaps, putting
in place training to help close those gaps, making sure that you really are
focused on your human resources."
For any tech position, soft
skills are also key to develop, Meneer said.
"Employees who offer both
technical skills and soft skills such as communication and empathy are really
the workers that are in demand right now," Meneer said. "Having a
really clear understanding of how the technology is leveraged to improve
business processes and how that pulls into strategy are also going to be
increasingly important things that shouldn't be forgotten as tech workers
contemplate their careers."