Information Technology (IT) is a pretty broad field, and the boundaries of the profession are beginning to blur. Where once a company’s IT team would have been fairly siloed, it’s now more common for IT roles to span different departments, from product management and digital marketing to cloud engineering, and interact with multiple stakeholders across the business. Some IT skills are looking more and more valuable, while others are beginning to fade as technology changes.
But the general trend is pretty clear: growth. The Australian government has laid out a target of 1.2 million tech jobs by 2030, which will require significant upskilling to close the gap. “The report finds that Australia will need an additional 650,000 tech workers by 2030 to meet the 2030 target, and we can only do that if the tech industry and the government works closely together,” says federal minister for industry and science, Ed Husic.
So, which IT career paths are looking promising in 2022?
Product management is sort of an IT-adjacent role, but good product managers combine not only strategic thinking and customer awareness, but also the tech skills necessary to understand what makes a digital product actually work. If you’ve got a background in software engineering or UX, product management is a natural career evolution. It’s also a booming field, with average salaries sitting around $130,000, and 10.3 per cent growth projected over the next five years. If you’re interested in leading digital teams, we’ve rounded up some expert tips for getting into product management.
SQL and Python
According to LinkedIn’s 2022 skills roundup, SQL is one of the most in-demand hard skills on the market. And it makes sense. With businesses focusing on digital transformation in the post-COVID world, the need for software engineers and business analysts who can work in languages like SQL and Python is enourmous. Despite being over 50 years old, SQL is still the most popular language for data work, and it’s used by all the big tech companies, including Uber, Netflix and Airbnb. You can explore this career path in our Business Analytics with SQL and Python short course.
With most businesses shifting to remote work during COVID, cloud computing is no longer a nice-to-have. It’s simply how the world does business. Cloud adoption accelerated rapidly during the pandemic, and global spending on cloud services is predicted to jump 20.4 per cent this year, to nearly $500 billion (Gartner also reckons cloud computing will account for 14 per cent of all enterprise IT spending, everywhere, by 2024). That puts skilled cloud engineers in the box seat. The average salary for this career path in Australia is around $130,000, and anyone who can manage the configuration, deployment, security and troubleshooting of cloud services should have no trouble finding work.
If you want to lead digital change within organisations, it’s no longer enough to focus on hard skills. This has been one of the biggest changes within IT over the last few years. Communication, leadership, strategy and problem solving have become just as sought-after as technical skills like programming, engineering and analysis, at least according to LinkedIn’s 2022 skills survey. This is especially true in the post-COVID world, where organisations need IT leaders who can not only manage people, but manage change. Develop roadmaps. Analyse risk. Communicate strategies and get the wider business on-board. The truth is, you can’t have digital transformation without digital leadership.
In the wake of one of Australia’s worst data breaches of all time, it’s no surprise that cybersecurity is an IT growth field. Cyber analysts earn around $105,000, according to SEEK, and information security spending is expected to reach $187 billion in 2023, up 11 per cent on this year. There’s plenty of room to move in the cyber world, too. You can become a security analyst, project manager, cryptographer, systems developer, information security auditor, or an IT security engineer. RMIT Online offers a variety of different cyber courses, depending on your specialty. Whatever you choose, cybersecurity is a great way to future proof your career.
Fading IT skills
IT careers themselves rarely fade, but they do evolve, and one of the biggest changes over the last decade has been the slow death of single technology expertise. More and more companies are looking for IT professionals who can not only work in SQL or Python, but also lead teams, manage change, handle cloud system migration, and protect their data. All at the same time. It’s a challenge for IT professions, but a well-rounded skillset is the best thing you can do to strengthen your IT resume.
“The IT outlook is rapidly advancing, and employers are seeking skills in combinations that align with their future needs,” says Kelsey Person from LaSalle Network. “IT professionals looking to stay competitive should avoid becoming overly specialized in niche products or technologies.”