It is a good time to be in technology. IT jobs in the United States are forecasted to increase over the next ten years, opening up plenty of opportunity for tech-skilled workers. Positions in computer and information technology occupations are expected to grow 13 percent by 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But what specific IT skills are companies placing a premium on now, and will these be the same in the future? As technology evolves and more companies embrace digital transformation, what essential skills and knowledge does an IT professional need to make an impact now?

  1. An understanding of security
    Cybersecurity has become a top priority in business today. Security professionals are in demand and a significant skills gap has made it difficult to find the help needed to mitigate risk.
    According to the most recent ISC2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study, there is a shortage of nearly 3 million global cybersecurity workers across North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific (APAC), and Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
    In the absence of a dedicated security department, IT team members can make an impact by having an understanding of certain cybersecurity skills and areas, including security analysis, identity and access management, network security, penetration testing, and incident response.
  2. Knowledge of emerging technologies
    Emerging technologies will change the ways jobs are done, and will also create new roles in the future. IoT, AI, machine learning and automation are all seen as important investments for many businesses as they take on digital transformation initiatives. New IT positions will demand professionals who understand IOT, machine learning and AI.
    Savvy IT pros will want to take notice now as many of these emerging technologies will force change in the workplace. Without an understanding of how this tech is impacting IT infrastructure, some may find they are left behind as roles evolve to include skills related to emerging technology.
  3. Belief in the importance of development
    Development skills are some of the hottest in IT. But while developers typically carve out their own distinct career path, it is important for anyone in IT to understand the software development lifecycle and its impact on IT operations.
    Also hot is the emergence of DevSecOps in IT. Baking security into the outset and throughout the software development process results in a more secure product, without adding it on as an afterthought when development is finished. But this also requires more members of an IT team to have some knowledge of security, development and operations.
  4. Knowledge of the value of flexibilit
    Businesses are placing value on IT professionals who can be flexible and are willing to take on hybrid roles, which ask for a mix of skills. In an effort to be leaner and more agile, organizations expect IT pros to be able to use technical tools, analyze data, collaborate across teams and manage projects from start to finish.
    According to analysis from Burning Glass Technologies, hybrid roles pay 20-40 percent more and represent about 12 percent of all job openings today. Silo-skilled roles are being phased out with a demand for IT workers who can embrace a number of different challenges.
  5. Leadership and communication
    It is no longer acceptable for IT team members to work quietly and separated from the rest of the organization. Community, creativity and a clear investment in business priorities are skills critical to the success of IT workers now. A certain level of business acumen and engagement is expected. Brushing up on so-call “soft skills” to give you an edge as both a team mate and a leader in your IT department will help you make a positive impression corporate wide.