10 of the Most In-Demand IT Jobs — and Why

April 8, 2022 | What's Hot | 15min read

While demand for skilled talent isn’t a new issue in IT, due to the Great Resignation competition has intensified for roles in cybersecurity, cloud, data science, and other areas.

It’s left tech leaders struggling to hire the workers they need. Nearly 40% of IT decision-makers have three or more unfilled roles on their teams.

“Conventional IT companies are no longer the only ones looking for IT workers, as more companies look to drive efficiency and scale to their business,” said Nev Ross, VP of Software Engineering at Skillsoft. “This has added an additional challenge to filling IT roles, which can delay project deliverables, affect company growth and customer satisfaction. Having open roles can be very costly to an organization in many ways.”

While competition for skilled workers remains high, another challenge continues to worsen at the same time: skills gaps. While most IT teams have skills gaps, what’s really staggering is how they impact the organization.

According to a joint IDG-Skillsoft survey, 89% of IT leaders see losses in revenue due to skills shortages, 76% see business go to the competition, and 72% see declines in customer satisfaction.

This makes the need for certain roles even more dire. But what are those roles? Which are truly most in-demand?

This blog, looks at 10 of the most in-demand IT roles today and explains why they are at the top. What’s more, for those IT leaders who struggle to hire talent, we recommend how to approach reskilling and upskilling your current workforce to close skills gaps.

The 10 Most Challenging Areas of Tech to Hire For, According to IT Leaders

In a survey of more than 9,300 IT professionals worldwide, we reported in our IT Skills and Salary Report that the top 10 most challenging areas to hire for are these:

  1. Cybersecurity
  2. Cloud Computing
  3. Analytics and Big Data
  4. AI and Machine Learning
  5. Systems and Solutions Architects
  6. DevOps
  7. Leadership and Management
  8. Networking and Wireless
  9. Data Policy and Governance
  10. Project Management

For the past several years, cybersecurity has risen to the top of the list. Roles in this area remain among the most highly coveted and for good reason. According to IBM’s annual report on the topic, the average cost of a data breach is the highest it’s ever been at $4.24 million. Organizations continue to prioritize these roles because of the critical nature of security.

But, again, talent scarcity challenges IT leaders with team vacancies. Cyber Seek, an initiative to gather data on the cybersecurity job market, shows there are 597,000 open cybersecurity jobs in the U.S.

Cloud computing and data science also experience elevated demand for similar reasons. Nearly one-third of IT decision-makers struggle to find skilled cloud professionals, and 20% struggle to hire data scientists, analysts and so on. (Find more data in our report here.)

The evidence is clear. The tech field needs more people to fill specific jobs.

Leaders Struggling to Hire Talent Must Reskill and Upskill Their Workforce

Finding qualified workers — sometimes, just finding workers — is a challenge for many IT leaders today. In turn, organizations experience elevated security risk, slow resolution times, dipping customer satisfaction, and other consequences.

“Finding experienced engineers to match the specific skills for the job is a big challenge today,” said Murali Sastry, SVP of Engineering at Skillsoft. “If you can’t hire the right people, you can’t meet the company’s goals.”

Talent shortages force IT leaders to focus their attention on upskilling and reskilling their existing teams, while bringing in new staff. “Hiring junior engineers and growing the skills of team members have become business critical,” Sastry said. “This approach has proven to help with employee retention and attracting new talent to the company.”

For the 76% of IT leaders who have skills gaps on their teams, it’s important to reskill and upskill your current workforce to meet business objectives.

“Given the global talent shortage, the only thing you can do right now is look to your internal people and train them into the jobs you want to have,” says Mike Hendrickson, VP of technology and development products for Skillsoft.

The joint IDG-Skillsoft survey found that nearly all respondents (98%) have prioritized technical training investments because leaders want to increase their competitive advantage, their ability to deliver advanced solutions and meet client requirements. However, many organizations haven’t aligned their training programs with business goals and desired outcomes, leaving skills shortages at large.

As organizations continue investing in training, they must weigh the needs of the business and then consider how and when people learn. Providing choice and pathways to growth and creating a culture of learning will help build a future-fit workforce. “Internal career development is one of the greatest tools you have,” said Josh Bersin, global industry analyst of HR technology and corporate learning and development.

Our annual Lean Into Learning Report provides more insight into attracting and retaining tech talent and the current digital learning landscape.

Jobs in Cybersecurity, Cloud Computing and Data Science Lead in Highest Demand

For several years running, our research shows cybersecurity, cloud and data science among the leading areas of investment for IT decision-makers.

In addition to surveys and reports, we also looked at findings collected in our learning platform Percipio. We found security training consumption is among the highest areas of growth. Of the 12.7 million digital badges earned by learners in 2021, the five most popular are tied to security training.

The demand for cloud jobs often follows cybersecurity. Our research shows cloud computing remains one of the most difficult areas to hire for given a relatively shallow talent pool coupled with skill shortages in key disciplines, specifically cloud security, which jumped 19 percentage points from 2020 to 2021.

In the last couple of years, we’ve seen demand for data science training rival demand for cloud training. From the essentials to database administration, demand for training continues to climb as more organizations rely on data to inform decision-making big and small.

These factors fuel the need for experienced professionals, but organizations tend to seek out professionals for these roles most of all:

Information Security Analyst

Information security analysts are in great demand, but as is the case with cybersecurity, not always in great supply. These professionals protect an organization’s digital information, intellectual property and more. They audit and analyze networks and systems, identify vulnerabilities, and then act to minimize risk.

Demand: High. Training data from Percipio shows security training grew by 59% from 2020 to 2021, reflecting the need organizations have for professionals like information security analysts.

What’s more, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic (BLS) says growth for this role is much higher than average. Within the next 10 years, the number of jobs is expected to grow by 33%, more than four times the national average.

Employment Gap: The BLS reports there were about 141,000 information security analysts employed in 2020. LinkedIn shows nearly 60,000 job openings today. Projections show organizations will add 16,300 more openings to the market each year through the end of the decade.

Skills and Certifications for the Job:

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Cloud Solutions Architect

The transition to the cloud resulted in high demand for cloud architects, who develop and carry out cloud strategy. They lead cloud implementations, migrations, and upgrades. With hybrid, multi, public and private environments, cloud architects must help meet the organization’s needs by reducing cost and increasing security, agility, and reliability.

Demand: Our IT Skills and Salary Report found the second highest percentage of IT decision-makers (44%) rank cloud as a top investment area in the year ahead, just behind cybersecurity (49%). Percipio data corroborates these findings as demand for cloud architecture training grew substantially from 2020 to 2021. Training related to cloud computing grew by 28% year over year, with the highest growth in cloud security.

In our list of the 15 Top-Paying IT Certifications, cloud architects who certified in Google Cloud or AWS often hold some of the highest salaries, which have also grown since last year.

Employment Gap: Some estimates show organizations employ 143,000+ solutions architects in the U.S., and LinkedIn shows 121,000+ job openings for this role. Online job board Zippia reports solutions architect roles will grow by 8% through 2028.

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Systems Analyst

Systems analysts identify ways to increase efficiency by improving or automating processes. They focus on data analysis and work within databases to extract information that will help in decision-making and problem-solving. This cross-functional role collaborates with others to assess solutions, establish a project plan, determine the risk and benefits of change, and then support development.

Demand: The BLS projects systems analysts jobs will grow at 7% through the end of the decade, with organizations adding 47,500 jobs to the market each year.

Training for topics that fall under data and analytics grew by 35% from 2020 to 2021, with many interested in working with databases. Similarly, we saw increased training consumption for scripting, as well as Python, Java, C#, C++. However, training related to data operations and data architectures remained steady year over year, showing little sign of an increase or decrease in demand.

Employment Gap: In 2020, there were 607,800 systems analysts working in the U.S. Other estimates come in lower at 476,899. On LinkedIn, job searches for systems analysts yield 113,000+ openings. Growth for this role is projected at 9%.

Skills and Certifications for the Job:

  • Database query and data manipulation (Strong familiarity with SQL)
  • Computer programming (Python, Java, JavaScript)
  • Advanced knowledge of Excel (VBA, Power Query/M language, DAX, Power Pivot)
  • Project Management (Project Management Core Concepts)
  • Strong Interpersonal Skills (Communications Essentials)
  • Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)

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Data Scientist

Data scientists create statistical and machine learning models to help solve business challenges and reach desired outcomes. These professionals have a strong background in gathering, analyzing and reporting on large data sets to aid in planning and decision-making.

Demand: As reported elsewhere, Percipio trends show a 35% year-over-year growth in training related to data, specifically for tools, frameworks and core concepts, which showed a rapid increase in demand since 2019. Further, many IT decision-makers plan to prioritize data management, AI, cognitive computing and machine learning in the year ahead, placing these disciplines among the top investment areas.

A report by Burning Glass Technologies also highlights several areas that will need data scientists in the post-COVID-19 recovery. The report shows demand of 1.6 million jobs to aid in what it calls the logistics economy and another 828,000+ for the automated economy, which will rely on industrial big data analytics and machine learning.

Employment Gap: The BLS reports in 2020 there were 59,680 data scientists and mathematical science occupations. In March 2022, LinkedIn job searches show 140,000+ listings. Zippia reports data scientist positions are expected to grow 16% through 2028.

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Database Administrators and Architects

When it comes to database management, both architects and administrators serve as the subject matter experts within their organizations. They build, manage and support databases, and work with others in the organization to use data in support of business outcomes, like resolving active incidents or automating tasks.

Demand: As noted under the Systems Analyst role, data from Percipio shows strong interest and consumption in database training year over year. From 2019 to 2020, training demands grew quickly, and growth remains steady. Data training grew 35% in the past year.

Employment Gap: Organizations will add 13,900 new database administrator jobs per year through 2030. That’s a steady 8% growth rate over the next decade, which is consistent with the national average.

In 2020, organizations employed 168,000 administrators and LinkedIn job searches yield 75,000+ listings in March 2022.

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Programming and Software Craft Training Remain Among the Most In-Demand

At Skillsoft, software craft ranks among the highest areas of training. Since last year, Percipio data shows this category grew by 65%. Programming wasn’t far behind, growing 53%.

Under software craft, topics like Agile and project management attract the lion’s share of learners, while Python, Java, JavaScript and C languages lead the way in programming.


Software Developers and Engineers

Software developers and engineers are the brains and muscle behind many mobile applications and software platforms. Often, developers bring to the job knowledge of several coding and programming languages — most notably Python, Java, C, C++, C# and Microsoft .NET — and know how to debug code, troubleshoot and fix issues that may arise during development. This is a collaborative role that requires professionals to work with other teams to meet business objectives.

Demand: Percipio trends show demand for Python grew by 36%. Java training consumption grew by 58%, surpassing Python training for the first time. Training consumption of other languages showed growth over the past year, including for C++, but demand remained lower for these languages when compared to Python or Java.

Reporting by TechRepublic shows that over one-third of technical recruiters plan to hire 50 or more software developers in 2022, suggesting sustained demand for these professionals.

Employment Gap: In the U.S., there were 1.8 million software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers employed in 2020, according to the BLS. Growth is projected at 22% for these roles, which is almost three times faster than the national average. As many as 321,000 software developer jobs are listed online.

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Website Developer

Web developers work with stakeholders or clients to create web-based properties that help meet business objectives. They design, develop, test and improve websites, applications and other properties. Developers often integrate front-end and back-end systems, which requires they know a variety of markup or programming languages.

Demand: Demand and consumption trends in Percipio show several programming languages rising in popularity, particularly Python and Java. Training consumption for markup languages and front-end development grew in the past year, but demand in these areas remain comparatively low, with some languages plateauing in the past year, like .NET. Our own research also found app and web development in the bottom half of IT decision-makers investment areas.

That said, technology jobs platform Dice found the average salary for web developers jumped more than 20% in the past year, the highest salary hike of any role in its report. What’s more, the BLS predicts web developer jobs to grow by 13% this decade, almost twice as fast as the national average.

Employment Gap: Nearly 200,000 website developers were employed in 2020. Through the end of the decade, the BLS projects this role to grow 13%, with close to 18,000 jobs added annually. That’s almost twice as fast as the national average (8%).

Job searches for website developer roles come in at 39,000+ on LinkedIn in March 2022.

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DevOps Engineer

When it comes to managing complex projects and processes, the DevOps engineer is the one who keeps it all running smoothly. These subject matter experts bring together developers, engineers and operations teams to meet business objectives, streamline and automate processes, and balance priorities and new development with stability and scalability. They have diverse skill sets, since this role requires both technical skill but also leadership and collaboration.

Demand: DevOps training was the third-most in demand under the broader Software Craft catalog, according to Percipio trends. Broadly, project management led the category, followed by Agile. Testing is also high in demand year over year, but gave way to DevOps for the third rank.

Our survey findings support the demand for DevOps roles. Professionals who work in DevOps rank among the highest paid in IT but also among the hardest to find qualified talent.

Employment Gap: According to Zippia, there are about 11,000 employed DevOps engineers in the U.S. and projected growth for this role is 21%, which is almost three times what the BLS reports as the national average. As of March 2022, LinkedIn shows about 60,000 listings for DevOps engineer roles.

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Don’t Overlook These Roles. Organizations Still Need Them…

Broadly, the IT industry needs more workers. The talent shortage makes it hard to find and keep talent. At the same time, reliance on technology and IT won’t let up. Organizations must have skilled workers at every level and across disciplines to help keep end-users productive and operations running smoothly.

Network And Computer Systems Administrator

When a network goes down, systems administrators are likely first on the scene. It’s often these roles have requirements to rotate on-call shifts, because they support and troubleshoot issues that may arise with wired and wireless networks. They develop and install networking solutions, support users, aid in security analysis, and more.

Demand: Professionals with backgrounds in networking rank among the top 10 most challenging to hire, which may be due to slower job growth and this area of IT taking lower priority for IT leaders. Only 10% of leaders rank networking and wireless LAN among their top 20 investment areas in the year ahead.

Despite this, Percipio shows a 44% increase in infrastructure training in the past year, which helps indicate the importance of roles like this one. So much is tethered to the network and without skilled workers to maintain its reliability, some functions within an organization can come to a standstill.

Employment Gap: More than 350,000 network and computer system administrators were employed in 2020. However, the growth of this role is projected lower than the national average at 5%. That said, the BLS reports organizations will add about 24,000 new jobs annual through 2030. On LinkedIn, there are about 50,000 system administrator job listings.

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Help Desk and IT Support Professional

The help desk remains one of the key starting places for entry-level IT professionals and an important asset to organizations overall. Help desk and IT support professionals respond to and resolve end-user issues, often acting as the first point of contact for the technical organization. These professionals must have a broad understanding of software and hardware, which requires them to have a diverse skill set and strong troubleshooting abilities. Strong communication is critical in this role too.

Demand: Training for foundational principles and practices — security essentials, in particular — have grown since last year, according to Percipio data. What’s more, CompTIA reports more than one-third of companies need people with these skills to support PCs and users; one-quarter need help desk professionals for mobile device support, which may increase as more organizations adopt hybrid work models.

Employment Gap: Organizations employed 844,600 computer support specialists in 2020. Job growth for these roles runs slightly higher than the national average at 9%, with the BLS predicting more than 70,000 job openings each year through the end of the decade. On LinkedIn, there are 574,000+ job listings for IT support.

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