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Recently Unemployed? Here are 4 Top Technical Skills in 2021 that Can Get You a Job Tomorrow

by George Walker on January 11, 2021 in Blog, Career Advice

The pandemic threw us all for a loop last year, but after an initial drop, it seems as if IT employment numbers are back on the right track (honestly, I’d rather we restrict the rollercoaster rides to Six Flags, but I’m not calling the shots). What many IT professionals still find challenging is that there are still 143,100 fewer IT jobs than November 2019, which means you’re encountering stiffer competition for diminished opportunities out in the world.

The good news? If you pursue certain IT skillsets, you’ll be able to ride out even the most jarring twists and turns in the economy like a seasoned pro. If you’re looking for more stability, be sure that you pursue (or emphasize) these top technical skills in 2021.

1.) Cybersecurity

If there was any remaining doubt, 2020 proved cybersecurity professionals are an essential part of the fabric of modern businesses. Shelter-in-place orders and work-from-home arrangements may have slowed the spread of disease, but it also gave the metaphorical fox an all-you-can-eat chicken buffet.

Remote workers contributed to 20% of all data breaches this year since many organizations were unprepared to operate outside of secured corporate networks. And though telehealth solutions expanded access to virtual care, these practices (when unsecured) upped the risk of PHI falling into the hands of hackers.

With 16% of all American workers expected to work-from-home at least two days per week post-pandemic, there’s a necessity for cybersecurity professionals who can defend remote desktops and even cloud applications. In fact, it’s so important that those with cloud security skills can earn a $15,025 premium in their salary.

Yet the growing demand for IT security solutions isn’t tethered to COVID-19 responses. More organizations are building their own applications and experts anticipate competition for application development security talent will increase by 164% over the next five years. Plus, the evolving sophistication of cyber threats (some involving automation) will require in-house experts to mitigate risks and respond to breaches.

2.) Systems Architect

The days of titanic IT infrastructure are over. Bon voyage and good riddance! Boston Consulting Group finds that 78% of organizations are in the midst of digital transformations, but it’s no small feat transforming slow and cumbersome legacy systems into cloud-based alternatives. Organizations need the guidance of systems experts, whether it’s through outsourced infrastructure services solutions or their own in-house specialists. Either way, it’s good news for you if you have the skills.

The current demand for systems architects and the limited supply have pushed the salary range higher and higher. As of the 2020 Dice Salary Report, compensation for systems architects had grown by 6% year-over-year to reach an average salary of $138,277. For those with expertise in Cloudera or Apache Cassandra, opportunities are particularly wide as organization seek out greater data warehousing capabilities and overall scalability.

3.) Analytics, A.I., and Machine Learning

Most business have caught up with the idea that we’re living in a data-driven world. And to some degree, they have implemented the tools and the talent to uncover what’s going on within their organization and why it’s happening thanks to the available data. There are still some substantial gaps are on the predictive and prescriptive analytics side, which more businesses are attempting to close with new hires in the coming year.

Look at artificial intelligence as an example. According to the LinkedIn Emerging Jobs Report, the demand for artificial intelligence specialists grew by 74% this last year as more businesses recognized the potential of this discipline to unlock advantages that would otherwise be outside their reach. Those with a command of TensorFlow, Natural Language Processing, and Deep Learning will be able to find even greater job stability.

Throughout Texas, we’re seeing just how significant the demand for AI and machine learning skills is becoming. The news is filled with stories about everything from machine-learning capabilities for oil and gas companies and AI student aid platforms to AI-based wildlife monitoring systems and even mental health treatment. In short, cultivating this skill in 2021 and the future will provide even greater job stability for top talent.

4.) Development

We’ve come a long way from the days (and limitations) of on-prem software applications. It’s been like watching the evolution of ungainly and inefficient dinosaurs into sleek and adaptive birds at 1000x speed. Though mobile applications have taken over the food chain, there’s still some disruptive skills that can essentially guarantee you work.

Much of the demand has to do with experience in more efficient methodology, frameworks, or architecture approaches. DevOps is expected to grow 22% from 2020 to 2026, and more organizations will be scrambling for people with this interdisciplinary mindset. Additionally, we’re seeing an increased popularity in microservices architecture as more organizations seek out lightweight and interchangeable components for their platforms and systems.

Returning to the LinkedIn Emerging Jobs Report, there’s also an increased demand for full stack engineers. Over the last year, hiring for this talent grew by 35%, a trend that’s been steady for several years. If you have experience with React.js, Node.js, AngularJS, or JavaScript, you should be able to turn that into IT job opportunities in Texas and beyond.

Growing Your Career with Top Technical Skills

Even if you have these skills, some people still struggle to find jobs that are right for them. Not every job is advertised through traditional job boards or ads. If you want to work on other priorities (expanding your technical skills, spending time with family, just not looking for a job), you might want to work with the right IT staffing and consulting firm. We’ll make your life a whole lot easier.

Do you already have the top technical skills in 2021 that companies want? Take a look at our latest jobs to see if there are any new opportunities that align with your expertise.

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