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What are the most in-demand tech skills? And how to get them.

Regardless of your current field, digital & tech skills will be a large part of your future

It’s no secret that Australia is suffering a skills shortage of digital professionals in 2021. The market is white-hot and companies are bidding up wages aggressively to get their hands on tech talent, with some areas seeing wages rises of up to thirty percent.

As home-grown startups like Canva and Atlassian reach astronomical valuations, they are competing with global tech companies, consultancies, universities and more traditional IT outfits like managed service providers for tech talent. The result is a market with more jobs than candidates and a rapidly shifting skills profile that means even established professionals should engage in continuous learning to ensure they are well positioned for the most attractive roles.

In this environment it’s little surprise that many people looking to upskill, reskill or change careers entirely are considering augmenting their existing skills with technical proficiencies to future-proof their careers.


1. Full Stack Developers


As businesses digitise operations and connect with their customers through an ever-widening range of digital touchpoints the demand for developers has never been stronger. Full-stack developers - those who are able to work across both the front end of a project that contains user interfaces, and the back end where databases and services are housed - are particularly sought after. Key skills for full-stack developers include cloud capabilities. Being able to work with React, Azure and AWS in addition to the more traditional Javascript, Python and SQL, along with experience in microservices, will make you even more attractive to potential employers. For those without programming experience, the best place to start is with fundamentals like HTML, CSS and Javascript, before moving into languages more applicable to back-end functions like Ruby, Java and Python. Programming is very much a “learn by doing” field, but those who have backgrounds in computer science, web development, statistics, engineering or life sciences are often best equipped to pick things up quickly.


2. Data Scientists


Data is now the core of business, and demand for data professionals has exploded. There has been an acute shortage of data science professionals since before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to research by the Australian Computer Society. For highly technical core data roles, candidates with strength in applied mathematics and statistics are ahead of the pack and are attractive to employers who are willing to invest in training such employees in the tools and architecture of data science. People with backgrounds in maths and statistics can make themselves highly attractive to prospective employers by proactively adding these to their skillset. In addition to strong and rising demand for workers with technical proficiencies in data analytics, there is also a strong appetite for data-enabled professionals with “soft skills” such as communications, influencing and strategy. This has given rise to a growing number of hybrid roles where people who have functional competencies and well-developed skills in other business areas are being encouraged to cross-train and upskill in data. Established professionals in operations areas like HR and finance, those with functional experience in IT, marketing or administration, and those who are looking to break through into executive leadership should consider adding data analytics proficiency to their resume. For these professionals, courses that deliver the fundamentals of business analytics are usually the best starting point, especially for those who are looking to take the next step after gaining experience in a commercial environment.


3. Cyber Security Specialists


As cyber threats increase in both volume and complexity, employers from small businesses to government departments and global consulting houses are in an arms race - and a talent race - to secure sensitive data and systems. The result is a booming job market for cyber security professionals and attractive career prospects for people who are seeking entry to this exciting, dynamic and critical area of technology. Technical professionals, whether they are degree-qualified or not, can join this field by undertaking a recognised certification in cyber security through a reputable training institution that partners with industry to shape their courses to current needs. In addition to technical workers, organisational leaders and business strategists should consider upskilling in order to thrive in a security-aware environment. The advent of the CISO (chief security information officer) as a member of the C-suite is only the beginning of the evolution of cyber security as a whole-of-business process. Established professionals whose remit includes strategy, risk management, governance and data handling can advance their career, and protect their organisation and its stakeholders, by upskilling and cross-skilling for emerging hybrid leadership roles.


4. Emerging technologies


These are just a few examples where gaining skills in areas with critical shortages can pay dividends for professionals looking for a career in technology. Others are emerging at a rapid pace. Alongside data, dev and cyber, AI and machine learning will become increasingly important to business over the coming years. Similarly, blockchain and 5G will be shaping the business environment of tomorrow, and those who can lead in these areas will be extremely valuable to employers. Finally, the digitisation of non-technical fields will continue at pace, with strong demand for digital skills, especially in areas like ecommerce and marketing.


Want to get ahead of the pack and study Cyber Security, Data Analytics or other emerging areas like Blockchain? Check out our range of online short courses and degrees here

This article was originally published on 19 October 2021