Top IT Skills To Advance Your Career in 2023 – With more employers moving toward skills-based hiring and compensation models, acquiring new, in-demand skill sets are the key to remaining relevant and commanding higher pay in the coming year.
Assessments of recent job posting data confirm that skills, not degrees, are fast becoming the new currency of work.
For instance, the professional networking site LinkedIn has seen a 21% rise in job postings that advertise for skills and responsibilities rather than qualifications and requirements. Given the trend, there’s never been a better time to boost your abilities and paycheck.
If you’re looking to advance your career by acquiring new technology skills in 2023, here are ten of the hottest areas you may want to consider and some of the best skills to learn in each:
The demand for cloud computing skills has soared, especially with businesses requiring more efficient and effective ways to manage increasingly decentralized data, systems, and workers post-pandemic. Even better, the cloud engineer job market is home to a significant skills gap – meaning there are more cloud computing job openings than qualified engineers to fill them.
Hot Cloud Computing Skills
The shortage of qualified professionals presents a golden opportunity for IT pros who train and certify in the leading cloud platforms – chiefly Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.
According to a recent salary survey from Skillsoft, two of the top 3 highest paying IT certifications this year were in cloud computing: AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional at #1 ($168,080) and Google Cloud – Professional Cloud Architect at #3 ($161,371). The #2 slot went to cybersecurity, which we’ll get into later.
However, a wide range of cross-platform skills in the cloud is highly marketable right now, including cloud migration, application development and deployment, application programming interfaces (APIs), database management and storage, and cloud management and security.
IT pros with artificial intelligence (AI) skills are in high demand, and for a good reason. Using computer programs to perform tasks similar to human cognition has the potential to reshape almost every aspect of how we live and work.
Last year some 33% of IT job postings asked for AI skills, and 97 million more jobs will be created in 2025. With employers already struggling to find specialists with the necessary skills for AI roles, today’s average salary of $145,065 is bound to keep increasing.
Hot AI Skills
Although each AI Specialty requires a slightly different set of technical and soft skills, the overall top skills include Machine Learning, data science and algorithms, and deep knowledge of math concepts such as calculus, algebra, statistics, and probability.
While there’s a growing selection of no-code and low-code AI solutions entering the market, many employers still seek proficiency with programming languages such as Python, C++, R, and Java for AI jobs.
On top of those qualifications, candidates will benefit from soft skills like emotional intelligence and effective communication to explain complex AI concepts to non-technical stakeholders and executives.
With employers posting 714,548 jobs for cybersecurity roles and skills during the 12 months ending April 2022, cybersecurity continues to be one of the hottest domains for IT professionals. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the job market for IT security specialists to explode by 35% from 2021 to 2031 – much faster than the 15% growth rate for all technology jobs and a whopping seven times faster than the 5% rate for all occupations.
Hot Skills in Cybersecurity
The most in-demand cybersecurity subskills include penetration testing, application security, network security, and cloud security. Adding fundamentals like risk assessment, intrusion detection, security controls, frameworks, and incident response can bolster your market value even more. For example, cyber-sec professionals with threat detection, modeling, and threat management skills garnered premium pay equivalent to 16% of base salary.
Some IT certifications that offer the highest pay premium and ROI are in cybersecurity. Boost your paycheck by earning the Cisco CCNA certification or CompTIA’s Network+, Security+, or CySA+ credentials. In addition, cybersecurity managers can enjoy a significant pay bump with ISACA’s CISM certification, with an average salary of $162,347 for cert-holders.
With Gartner stating that some 91 percent of organizations have not yet reached a “transformational” level of maturity in data and information, the need to drive improved decision-making is just one reason why the number of jobs requiring data science skills is expected to grow by 27.9% by 2026.
And though data scientist salaries vary widely depending on education, certifications, and experience, the salary range for data science pros typically falls between $124,000 and $153,000.
Hot Data Science Skills
Since Data Science is a multidisciplinary field, it requires a broad range of skills.
Foundational requirements typically include a bachelor’s or master’s degree and proficiency in statistics, economics, information systems, or computer science. Data science pros will also benefit from the ability to program in languages such as Python, Java, SQL, C++, and R, as well as familiarity with one of the top Python libraries for deep learning, such as TensorFlow or PyTorch.
Other sought-after skills for data scientists include data wrangling, data intuition, pipeline building, feature engineering, querying, social media mining, data visualization, and storytelling.
Like many other technical roles, data scientists need soft skills to thrive today: communication, critical thinking, problem-solving, business acumen, and intellectual curiosity. Experts claim that it also helps to have grit, passion, and a healthy dose of skepticism.
You don’t need an advanced degree to join the data science revolution. Knowing how to mine, clean, sort, and process data to extract relevant and valuable information can catapult you to a high-paying career as a data analyst, data engineer, consultant, business analyst, marketing analyst, IT systems analyst, project manager or even data scientist (with additional training).
Speaking of skills as the new currency for employment and advancement, the average salary for job titles requiring data analytics skills is $195,385, according to Salary.com. Impressive!
Hot Data Analysis Skills
In addition to proficiency with fundamental data analysis methods, processes, and techniques, having a solid background in math and knowing how to use SQL to extract data and Microsoft Excel to analyze datasets can help you compete in this growing job market. Other desirable data skills in data analysis include programming chops in Python and R and communicating findings using data visualization and presentation skills.
Succeeding in any job involving data analysis also requires excellent soft skills, including collaboration, critical thinking, and problem-solving.
Could DevOps be the hottest tech skill out there? Based on an analysis of job postings and salary data, we know that career opportunities for DevOps pros are continuing to soar. We also know the future looks bright for anyone with DevOps skills since the market exceeded $4 billion in 2019 and is projected to grow by over 20% between 2020 and 2026.
Hot DevOps Skills
To master DevOps, you must first understand what it is. DevOps is a cultural philosophy and set of practices and tools that integrate software development and operations teams to shorten the development cycle. In short, DevOps requires a different model and mindset.
In addition to learning marketable DevOps programming and scripting languages such as Python, PHP, PERL, and Java, you will need to understand DevOps practices like continuous integration, testing, and delivery, microservices, and infrastructure as code. And since the goal is to break down silos, it should go without saying that excellent soft skills in communication and collaboration are crucial to succeed in DevOps.
With companies investing millions of dollars in Machine Learning (ML) research and projects, it’s no wonder that ML made our list of the most in-demand IT skills for 2023.
What is machine learning? ML is a subfield of artificial intelligence that uses algorithms to give computers the ability to learn and grow smarter without being programmed. However, to become a highly paid ML engineer (the fourth fastest growing job in the US over the last five years) or qualify for other ML-related roles, you need to become proficient with ML concepts and technologies.
Hot Machine Learning Skills
Generally, machine learning professionals must be skilled in computer science fundamentals and programming, probability and statistics, data modeling and evaluation, machine learning algorithms and libraries, software engineering, and systems design.
Desirable soft skills in machine learning positions include communication, teamwork, time management, a thirst for learning, and creative problem-solving.
Businesses across all sectors are hiring product managers to launch and manage successful tech products, and workforce demand shows no signs of slowing, a response to dealing with the challenges brought on by the pandemic. Some experts estimate that more than 500,000 positions have been created in the last eight years. While the base salary for an entry-level product manager averages $75,000, experienced pros average $133,212 per year.
Hot Product Management Skills
Although having a technical background is a plus, only 30% of product managers currently have coding expertise. The other competencies employers look for in a product manager include business acumen, a customer-centric mindset, market orientation, and soft skills such as persuasion, empathy, delegation, and the ability to lead without formal authority.
Every list of marketable tech skills in the modern era would be complete with software development. With 162,900 projected openings for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers each year over the next decade, software engineers with a robust skill set can write their tickets for the near future.
Hot Software Development Skills
Career-minded software developers will also benefit from technical skills in cloud computing, containers, and database management.
Systems and Networks
Although the demand for traditional network professionals continues to outpace supply, and jobs are projected to increase by 4% to 5% over the next decade, new responsibilities and roles are making their way to the forefront as this field evolves. Learn the following skill sets to capitalize on emerging computer systems and network technologies trends.
Hot Networking Skills
To compete for future jobs, network professionals must be familiar with cloud networking technologies, architecture capabilities, wireless network security, and edge computing. Other hot technical skills beyond traditional network practices include software-defined networking (SDN), secure access service edge (SASE), zero-trust network access (ZTNA), and software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) management.
Like other IT professionals, network practitioners will need exceptional soft skills to cope with the challenges of troubleshooting and maintaining secure networks across a remote workforce. The most valuable soft skills for systems and network pros include communication, active listening, confidence, situational awareness, empathy, and patience.
One of the most crucial qualities managers look for when hiring new IT staffers is demonstrating an ability and willingness to learn new skills. Whether you want to transition to a new career or improve your job performance and knowledge, acquiring any of the in-demand IT skills on our list can put you on a path to success in 2023 and beyond.