The 5 most in-demand IT and cyber security roles in the UK

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The market for IT and cybersecurity professionals is at an all-time high; demand for roles in big data has increased 52%, candidates with five years’ experience are being offered salaries equal to those with 10-plus years’ experience, and of the top 10 graduate careers with best prospects for 2017, five are in IT.

But if the the last decade in technology has taught us anything it’s that change is inevitable. Skills that are sought after today could well be redundant in 10 years time - just ask an Adobe Flash Developer. To stay relevant, IT professionals need to keep one eye on the future.

Our candidates are increasingly looking to us for help with how they should prepare. With that in mind, here’s our prediction of the five most in-demand IT and cybersecurity roles for 2030.

Data Architects.

Organisational requirements around analytics are set to soar over the next decade. Internet of Things connections will grow from 6 billion in 2015 to 27 billion by 2025 and spending on robotics will reach $87bn by 2025, leading to a tenfold increase in global data by 2025.

These swarms of extra data will need to be transformed into useful insights. KPMG CIO Advisory Management Consultant Barry Brunsman predicts a surge in demand for Data Architects, who design structures to support emerging requirements, Data Integration Engineers, who are responsible for integrating wide ranging sources of data, and IT Planning Analysts, who analyse data to generate insights for the future needs of the business.

Extended Reality Designers.

By 2021, the AR and VR industries are set to be worth $83 billion and $25 billion respectively and, by 2025, tens of millions of us will spend hours each day working and learning in virtual environments.

AR Designers will build heads-up displays for emergency service personnel to provide them with vital statistics in real time. VR Architects will develop ultra-realistic office buildings where employees around the world can meet. Extended reality technologies will enable trainee surgeons to learn how to operate in a simulated environment.

Deakin University has already jumped on the opportunity to offer a course dedicated to this growing sector, launching their Graduate Diploma of Virtual and Augmented Reality late last year.

Cloud & Embedded Security Specialists.

The advantages of moving to cloud-based IT solutions are numerous; increased agility and speed, fewer operational issues and lower capital expense to name a few. Consequently, 95% of organisations are now using cloud computing, with 85% running applications in multiple clouds.

But this move is not without risk. Agility and speed mean that security is a constantly moving target, and many businesses have failed to adequately invest in their cybersecurity operations and legacy systems. For that reason, spending on information security - including investment in the people capable of setting best practices and managing rapid change - will rise; by 12% in the next year alone.

Advancements in Internet of Things and robotics technology will further increase the need for cybersecurity professionals. In manufacturing, a hack could lead to millions in lost productivity or even life threatening product faults. A hacked driverless car could put lives at risk on the road. A service robot hack could injure a young child or dispense the wrong medication in a care facility.

As new technologies emerge, preventing these sorts of breaches will be of paramount importance.

Programmers.

Just as the demand for managing the security of clouds and connected objects will increase, so too will the need for programmers to code them.

Experts familiar with a wide range of programming languages and platforms will be required for the growing number of cloud computing roles. In particular demand will be those with expertise in Ruby on Rails, Python, Java, Javascript and Perl, as well as those capable of API development and comfortable working in a DevOps environment.

According to David Dodd, vice president of IT and CIO at Stevens Institute of Technology, companies “want people who can understand and formulate the future of IoT”. Technologists with the capacity to develop broad-view solutions by combining programming with other disciplines such as hardware, security, engineering and analytics will be highly sought after.

IT Transformation Leaders.

The future of a company rests on its ability to remain fit for purpose by continually reshaping as technology evolves. To do so successfully requires the recruitment of transformation-minded IT professionals with change leadership capability. R “Ray” Wang, founder of Constellation Research, calls these specialists “digital artisans: those who can balance right brain and left brain skills”.

As we discussed in a recent article, 84% of digital transformations fail, underlining the current skills gap in this critical area. Those who are capable of honing their leadership abilities and demonstrating strategic business acumen will continue to be in high demand.

The IT sector, and the demands of its workforce, is ever changing and evolving. While extended reality, robotics and the Internet of Things are still in their relative infancy, in 10 years, many people will be working side by side with these tools. Those capable of harnessing the power of these technologies - architecting data insights, designing hyper-real environments, programming and securing innovative solutions - and leading the change from the front will safeguard their place in the future of IT.