Top 10 Tech Skills Your Future Employer Is Looking For

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The workplace is rapidly evolving, and yesterday's education—even if you graduated within the last five years—may no longer be relevant in today's hiring market. Additionally, mass layoffs due to COVID-19 will make the job-hunting landscape more competitive. Now is a great time to look at the top 10 skills that will be in demand in the years ahead.

1. Cybersecurity and Cloud Security

Cybersecurity and cloud security are top of mind for many businesses today, especially as online financial transactions, remote workforces, and videoconferencing become commonplace. A data breach can cost a company millions of dollars in lost business and long-term credibility. Security professionals must stay one step ahead of hackers. By 2021, 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs will exist worldwide.

2. Open-Source Intelligence

Open-source intelligence means higher risk from data breaches. The upside of the internet is that mass amounts of public information are now readily available. Limiting access to information and spotting plagiarism and data misuse is challenging.

Detecting vulnerabilities and limiting access will become critical skills. Threat hunting is a unique specialty and expertise that will be critical as the amount of online information continues to grow and employees familiar with solutions such as FireEye are in demand.

3. Incidence Response Planning

Professionals who identify and respond to cybersecurity incidents (a field called incidence response planning) will be core employees in the organizations of the future. They need to possess the skills to identify risks. Senior people in these roles will also need to have strong leadership and communication capabilities. They will be part of the team that addresses how to solve the issue, as well as presents the solution to both internal and external stakeholders. These positions can pay upwards of six figures.

4. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, and Robotics

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotics will change virtually every job and industry. AI alone will be a $126 billion industry by 2025. Positions involving AI have grown 74 percent in the past five years.

5. Business Intelligence

Business intelligence analysts are still human today, but they will be assisted by machine learning technologies to help management make better decisions across all industries. Close to 60 percent of companies worldwide are incorporating big data into their planning, and professionals who know how to pinpoint trends, report on them, and recommend how to apply them will be in high demand.

6. Customer Service

Customer service skills are a combination of empathic professionals and data-driven systems that enable companies to better serve and market to customers. Since 2015, the growth in this sector has been 34 percent.

Customer success professionals are responsible for ensuring current buyers don't lapse. As more companies become aware of the vital role of retention in long-term profitability, more focus has been placed on this side of the business, with technology assisting in predictive analytics, service delivery, and upselling.

7. Technology Sales

Technology sales as a profession requires many of the same skills as "old school" selling. Successful sales professionals must be product-savvy, great listeners, and familiar with the markets they're penetrating. Today's sales professionals rely on conversational intelligence to better understand sales flow. They must be comfortable with a variety of customer relationship management (CRM) systems to be able to identify and track lead flow.

8. Marketing Technology

Marketing technology, or martech, is the engine behind a steady stream of prospects for salespeople. Salaries are on the rise in this category, and various areas of specialization have emerged.

Knowing how to craft a compelling ad campaign or analyze direct response results are no longer enough. Today's martech professional must use a unique set of applications (the tech stack) to create, manage, and analyze effective campaigns. They must also be able to build solid relationships with sales professionals, as those roles are more closely aligned than ever before.

9. Content Development

Creative and content professionals with strong technology backgrounds will be in high demand. As the number of technology solutions proliferates, explaining benefits and points of difference to prospects and consumers becomes critical. As technology becomes a commodity, crafting and communicating a unique selling proposition requires a combination of marketing, writing, and technology skills.

Plus, in times of crisis or data breaches, these professionals become critical players on the business team. Like other professions, the communication world will be affected by AI, and content will be generated using new technologies. Knowing how to use these applications will be a critical skill that journalists and content developers will need to have. UI/UX design straddles marketing, sales, and service. As systems are built, they need to be created around end-to-end customer experiences.

10. Healthcare Technology

Healthcare technology is a booming category as the population ages, and global wellness continues to be a priority. Wearables, telehealth, and virtual reality are just a few of the technology-based innovations that are becoming standard components of the healthcare system.

Crafting the Ideal Career Path

As educators map out curricula, students at all ages and stages plan their fields of studies, working professionals determine their next career move, and displaced workers upskill to re-enter the workforce, understanding where the jobs are is critical—for today and tomorrow.

Technology is pervasive in all roles today and is changing rapidly, so today's in-demand employees must be agile, curious, and willing to learn. Consider too:

  • What industries and types of work are you passionate about? Do not select a career path only on the trajectory or pay scale of that category.
  • Are your skills applicable to other types of jobs? Make sure you choose a field that can be translated to different positions over time.
  • What are your limitations concerning location and type of industry? Keeping an open mind can lead to tremendous opportunities. A narrow view of your job hunt may prevent you from pursuing a position with income, learning, and growth potential.
  • Can you find the right types of training and support to expand your skillset? Employers may ask how and where you received your training. The right kinds of education will prepare you for the workforce and give you access to the proper support to continue to learn and grow.

Above all, stay connected to where the opportunities are and never become too complacent in your role. A lifelong interest in growth and learning will not guarantee employment. Still, it will give you an edge over the thousands of applicants for jobs—today, tomorrow, and into the future.

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