When CompTIA conducted an intensive examination of the IT employment market last year, it uncovered demand for jobs whose titles would have been meaningless only a year or two ago: augmented reality designer, Internet of things architect, container developers.
That’s no surprise, given that the IT job market is in constant flux, with new technologies emerging so quickly that hiring managers struggle to define those positions -- let alone give them a title. IBM, for example, has a director of blockchains, and Ford Motor is among many companies looking for GPU cluster engineers.
Surely, some emerging fields will falter. Others, however, will grow to become the next big thing. When InfoWorld looked at emerging jobs in 2011, No. 2 on the list was data scientist. Now a quick search on Dice.com, a large tech-focused job board, returns screen after screen of hits; it’s in the mainstream. This trend toward extracting business value from large data sets has spawned demand for new skills and spun off emerging areas of opportunities for IT pros willing to learn those skills.
At the same time, traditional IT jobs are morphing, requiring new abilities, says Tim Herbert, senior vice president and researcher at CompTIA. Network admins, for example, must learn cloud skills, and security specialists are using machine learning to defend their networks.
Among the technologies that could fuel a new IT career revolution are IBM’s Watson and similar cognitive computing initiatives. Advances in hardware are also making demands for skills that aren’t yet being met. Experian, the giant credit reporting agency, is using GPU clusters to sift through its vast data stores, but finding engineers and developers who can write the code to make it work is difficult. “Someone whose resume indicates they understand GPUs will rise to the top immediately,” says Eric Haller, executive vice president at Experian DataLabs.
Haller’s point reflects the growth of what Dice.com CEO Bob Melk calls “the skills gap.” Technologies are moving faster than the expertise needed to exploit them can be disseminated to the workforce. That’s a problem for companies looking for employees to help exploit breakthroughs, but a boon for IT professionals who can fill that gap.
“The problem is digital strategies and transformation have become competitive necessities and not just growth-enablers. There simply isn’t enough talent at the right level of experience in the marketplace right now to satisfy the need. And it will get worse before it gets better,” says David Foote, principal analyst at Foote Partners, which closely studies the IT job market.
In examining the latest changes in the IT job market, we talked with analysts, staffing groups, and executives whose responsibilities include hiring. Here are some of the jobs that we and our sources think will be hot in the not-so-distant future.
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