With each passing day, technology becomes ever more critical to business operations. As tech teams take on larger and more varied roles, it creates a valuable opportunity for tech specialists entering the workforce—if they’re up-to-date on the most sought-after skills.
So what are the skills and abilities that will make a candidate stand out? We asked 12 members of Forbes Technology Council to weigh in on the most in-demand tech skills and what tech professionals need to do to shine.
1. A Grounding In Emerging Technologies
Future tech is currently in demand—everything from the Internet of Things, big data and data science to augmented/virtual reality and artificial intelligence/machine learning. My suggestion to tech specialists entering the workforce is to know the basics of all emerging technologies, even if you decide to master just one of them. This will help you put things in perspective when you design solutions. Also, be flexible and willing to learn new technologies. – Yogesh Kondaskar, Bizteon Software
2. ML And AI
Machine learning and artificial intelligence developers are in high demand right now. To stand out, it helps to have some live examples of your work. But in a fast-breaking field, it’s also important to be up-to-date on the latest developments. The most important thing to set you apart? Creativity. In a new field, you must be able to connect the dots. – Vern Weitzman, Cira Apps Ltd.
The Internet of Things is now transitioning from pilot purgatory to IoT at scale. Enabling organizations to transition from pilots to enterprisewide solutions requires strong IoT capabilities across the stack in connectivity, edge computing, AI and cloud. – Randal Kenworthy, Cognizant
Per ISC2, the cybersecurity workforce needs to grow by 145% to meet the current demand in the market, with the most significant talent gap in North America. Cybercrime is growing at a rapid pace due to access to resources (e.g., crypto) and talent. We are seeing a surge in threat actors, including ransomware entering dark Web markets (demand and supply economics) and targeting large corporations. – Beenu Arora, Cyble Inc.
5. Cloud Security
According to CyberSeek, positions requiring public cloud security skills remain open around 79 days—longer than those for any other IT skills. With ever-emerging cloud technologies, companies have to adapt quickly and need experienced cloud security pros. To stand out, candidates must research what cloud technologies a company has, build a threat model and demonstrate in an interview how they plan to address these threats. – Ilia Sotnikov, Netwrix
6. Cloud Technology And Data Engineering
Skills in using cloud technology and data engineering are important right now. Candidates should learn cloud technologies such as Azure, AWS and Google Big Query. In addition, it will serve them well if they are interested in gaining data engineering skills such as understanding data, data software and services, and the statistical modeling used in machine learning. – Linda Apsley, capitalone.com
7. Back-End, Full-Stack And Front-End Engineering
Having hired more than 300 global developers to date, we’re acutely aware of the most in-demand skill sets and roles. Our data shows back-end, full-stack and front-end engineering jobs are the most popular. The most in-demand skills are Python, React/React Native and SQL. We’ve found that the majority of engineers are self-taught, so spotlighting personal projects is a great way for a candidate to stand out. – Clay Kellogg, Terminal
8. Site Reliability Engineering
Site reliability engineers (SREs) are the heroes keeping our websites and applications running—not only so that we can stream movies or play video games but also so that we can buy groceries and bank online. With more and more businesses relying on cloud infrastructure to provide customers with a positive experience, it’s only going to become more important that these services are reliable. – Kolton Andrus, Gremlin Inc.
9. Quality Assurance For ML Algorithms
All tech jobs are in demand. But quality-assurance people for machine learning algorithms are quite scarce—and not just for mobile or Web applications. This is for projects where ML and AI are involved, where they can truly understand and troubleshoot algorithms. Companies need to know that the output actually makes sense. If you don’t know how it works, you’ve got an unpredictable system. – Vaclav Vincalek, Future Infinitive
10. Technical Product Management
People who can bridge the divide between product marketing and technical teams are extremely hard to find and/or develop. The most effective people in this role have some background in technical disciplines and some in marketing or customer experience. A top-notch person in this type of role can make an enormous difference in the success of a company. – Amith Nagarajan, rasa.io
11. Adtech And Martech
Engineers who truly understand the ins and outs of advertising technology and marketing technology are few and far between. It’s not enough to simply know how to implement Google Ad Manager and Prebid. Companies need people who can optimize yield on the code and data side of things to maximize revenue. With all of the changes in the ad industry, having technical experts is a must. – Michael Zaic, Wild Sky Media
12. Retail Customer Insight
Across the technology industry, cybersecurity professionals and data scientists are in high demand. But for the retail AI sector, the focus is on recruiting software engineers who have insights into the pain points of customers. They can differentiate their résumés by highlighting how they are solving retail problems and speak to those specific use cases when being interviewed. – Sanjeev Sularia, Intelligence Node
13. Business Intelligence Analysis
With all of the data IoT devices produce today and with 5G technology arriving soon, the amount of data available to companies today is staggering. To analyze and make use of it all, companies need data scientists and business intelligence analysts. Candidates in these fields should demonstrate their skills and knowledge of the latest tools and industry best practices. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
14. Real-World ML Experience
Machine learning has been around for decades. We can trace the earliest algorithms to Ada Lovelace and Alan Turing. However, real-world implementation has only come into the fray over the last decade or two. Someone who has real-world experience working on projects beyond just basic coursework stands out to both the FANGs and the tech startups. – José Morey, Liberty BioSecurity
15. Business Risk Management
The need for cybersecurity professionals is increasing, but technical people who understand business risk are especially needed. It’s not just enough to be good at implementing cyber defense technologies. We need pros who understand how technology can significantly reduce risk in the context of a larger business strategy. Candidates who speak the language of business and can lower risk have a leg up. – John Shin, RSI Security