For those who are seeking a change in their career this year, Hays’ James Milligan rounds up the top 10 most in-demand roles right now.
The tech industry is always evolving and while 2023 saw a shift in priorities for many employers, some of the most in-demand roles as we start a new year continue to remain vital to tech organisations.
Demand for those who can work in the area of digital transformation remains high and DevOps engineers continue to be sought after. However, a key development this year for jobseekers and professionals looking to make a move is the importance of AI skills.
“Jobseekers in technical roles should focus on upskilling in AI and understanding how it can help them in their day-to-day responsibilities,” according to Hays’ James Milligan.
10. DevOps engineer
These are people who work between development and operations and are responsible for supporting the software applications, from development to deployment.
Since you’ll be working with different parts of the organisation, Milligan said budding DevOps engineers need to be strong collaborators and communicators. Experience with software development and knowledge of cloud computing technologies are also required.
9. .NET developer
This is another role that is regularly in the top 10 list, but according to Milligan, demand has dropped in the last six months. Nonetheless, organisations still need developers to design and maintain Windows-based applications.
“As with all developer roles, technical skills are a must,” said Milligan. You’ll need to be proficient in .NET and several coding languages.
8. Solution architect
Solution architects are responsible for creating and implementing solutions that meet business needs. You’ll be working with stakeholders to understand business requirements and develop the right solutions.
Strong analytical and problem-solving skills are hugely beneficial for someone looking to work in this role. “In terms of technical knowledge, employers want experience with software design and development,” said Milligan.
7. Software engineer
While software engineers are always highly sought after, it’s placement on the top 10 list has climbed in the last six months. Software engineers are responsible for designing software applications and, as a result, will need to collaborate with several areas of the organisation.
The skills a software engineer needs will vary, depending on whether the engineer is front-end, back-end or end-to-end, according to Milligan. Regardless of the exact role, fluency in programming languages is key.
6. Cloud engineer
Digital transformation means that cloud computing is becoming increasingly important for organisations of all sizes, so I’m not surprised to see demand here. Cloud engineers manage the maintenance of the cloud-based infrastructure that allows businesses to run their applications and services.
Programming skills are vital if you want to be a cloud engineer. Additionally, Milligan said cloud engineers will also need a strong grasp of cloud-based software. “Given this role’s relative infancy, I’d suggest taking courses or doing lots of reading around the subject, as well as hands-on experience if you can manage it,” he added.
5. Data engineer
Data engineers need to facilitate the collection and analysis of data through the creation of scalable frameworks – an increasingly important role given the increasing demand for analytics. Data engineers work with other data experts in the organisation so that you can provide them with what they need to give valuable insights.
Milligan said those who want to work in this area will need knowledge on all things data, from experience with data modelling to an understanding of database technologies and processes.
4. Java developer
Given that Java is so widely used, programmers who can use this language to create applications and software will be in demand for the foreseeable future. Milligan said that while it’s unclear how the rapid evolution of AI will impact Java developers, there is scope for it to be potentially integrated into frameworks and processes.
“The key skills that any Java developer needs aren’t going to surprise anybody – proficiency in Java and knowledge of software development methodologies,” he said. “You’ll also need to be able to work with engineers and other developers.”
3. Data analyst
The role of the data analyst has remained in the top three most in-demand jobs since Hays’ last analysis in the middle of 2023. Analysts take the data that organisations collect and look for trends that will allow them to provide actionable insights.
“It’s no surprise that strong analytical skills are needed but, just as importantly, you’ll need to be able to effectively communicate your insights to the rest of the business in a way that’s easily digestible,” said Milligan.
2. Project manager
While the role of project manager has dropped a place since the last list, it’s still an important part of any organisation, which is why it remains high. These people are responsible for planning projects and monitoring progress so that any deliverables arrive on time and goals are met.
Unlike many of the previous roles, Milligan said technical skills are less necessary here. “Instead, you’ll need impeccable organisational skills to ensure that everything is running smoothly,” he said. “It’s a role for excellent communicators who are comfortable – and have experience in – liaising with multiple parts of the business and often external stakeholders too.” Milligan added that experience with handling budgets is a plus.
1. Business analyst
The most in-demand tech job right now is that of the business analyst. These people are invaluable to organisations because they use data to spot trends and deliver recommendations to the wider business, including senior stakeholders. “Since it’s not a role that relies heavily on technical experience, it’s also easier to make this transition from another field than it is with some of the other roles,” said Milligan.
“To be successful as a business analyst, soft skills are critical. Besides critical and analytical thinking, employers want people who are problem solvers and can communicate their findings and solutions to a diverse spectrum of stakeholders.”
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