Q&A

What are the most in-demand IT skills in 2024?

A career in IT is dependent on a strong technical foundation combined with specialized, ongoing training in specific fields. Otherwise, it’s all too easy to fall behind in the industry, harming your job performance and career growth.

Fortunately, there are several ways you can acquire new skills to take on jobs of the present and future or brush up on existing skills to stay on top of any changes. Training with virtual labs and online courses, as well as gaining hands-on experience, are crucial to being ready to succeed when applying for in-demand IT skills.

Fields like AI, machine learning, and data science are undergoing unprecedented growth — and companies need experts in these areas. So, keep reading to learn which roles are highly sought after and how you can start preparing for the next phase of your career.

The Importance of Staying Current in IT

Technology is never stagnant. Sometimes, progress may plateau, but a new peak is always within sight. As a result, everyone working in IT should invest in continuous learning to stay on top of the latest advancements. Technical skills must be kept sharp to continue to be effective at work. 

Even if there’s no transformative new tech to learn, IT professionals should stay aware of best practices, compliance requirements, and how to use existing tools to boost their productivity.

Fortunately, online courses, virtual labs, and laser-focused boot camps help IT professionals acquire new skills, address any skill gaps, and take continuing education courses to learn the latest developments in their field.

Top IT Skills in Demand

What skills are employers looking for from the current talent pool of IT experts? While plenty of skills are still expected or sought after, a few specific skills stand out as extremely in-demand — with some even having staffing shortages.

Let’s break down some of the most in demand tech skills and job positions in the field of IT so you can start planning your next move.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)

It’s no secret that AI and ML have exploded in popularity in the past few years, driven by several leaps forward in these technologies. Now, nearly every industry is exploring how they leverage the latest advancements in AI to become more efficient, cost-effective, and a range of other benefits.

While you can certainly become an AI researcher and be at the forefront of these technologies, that’s not the only way AI experts are in-demand. Companies looking to adopt AI tools will need IT experts ready to help them set up and fully leverage new tools. Knowing how to work with these tools is among the top of the most in demand software skills.

The specific expertise will vary by company and individual job role. However, being familiar with how AI and ML work, how to leverage leading tools, and showcasing your expertise will pave the way for the next phase in your career.

Cybersecurity

While AI has become more sophisticated, so have cyber attacks and their consequences. Some of these attacks even leverage AI, but cybercriminals are becoming more organized and bold in their financially-motivated attacks.

Companies in every industry need cybersecurity experts, ranging from red team pentesters to blue team system analysts. This rapidly growing field calls for a unique IT expert ready to protect the company’s IT assets and sensitive data.

In many parts of the world, there’s a shortage of cybersecurity experts, and companies need those roles filled to avoid potentially devastating attacks. Additionally, cybersecurity experts need to stay on top of the latest developments in the industry, like popular attack vectors and how to defend them.

Data Science and Analytics

Data unlocks valuable insights for organizations in any industry. At the same time, data is the backbone of AI and ML while also being the focal point of most cyber attacks. There’s no underestimating the importance of understanding how to capture, classify, and analyze data.

While data science doesn’t often make headlines, it’s a critical skill that every organization needs or will need as they grow. There will almost certainly be a steady demand for data science experts, especially as data-heavy fields like AI show no signs of slowing down.

How to Acquire These In-Demand Information Technology Skills

Learning or advancing IT skills requires IT training, but what exactly is IT training? While you may need a degree to form the baseline knowledge for success, IT training can come in many different forms, each helping you succeed based on your current skill level and what you wish to achieve. Ready to acquire the best IT skills for the future?

  • Boot camps: In the past decade, we’ve seen boot camps emerge as a viable response to the growing need for IT experts. Relying on graduates with four-year degrees often makes it challenging to find qualified experts, especially for the in-demand fields we’ve explored above. Instead, boot camps focus on the specific skills trainees require to succeed in their new roles. 
  • Certifications: Industries like cybersecurity prioritize specialized certifications, such as Security+, a credential that demonstrates your far-reaching expertise in cybersecurity. Other IT certifications can also help showcase your abilities to protect companies and secure sensitive data. However, make sure you’re pursuing the right certifications from a reputable organization to be ready for your next career move.
  • Practical experience: You’ll need to be ready to succeed in any IT role, so gaining practical experience in the specific skill set is of the utmost important. For example, learning the theoretical knowledge of cybersecurity will only take you so far — you need to practice with cyber ranges and other practical exercises to be ready for the real thing.
  • Networking: If you already have a baseline understanding of one or more of these skills, finding a mentor or peer that can help you advance can go far. They might not be able to teach you specifically, but pointing you in the right direction will help you reach a higher level of expertise in your chosen field.