The 7 Toughest Areas of Tech to Hire For

January 24, 2024 | What's Hot | 7 min read

Over the past few decades, technology has evolved at an astronomical rate, bringing about new roles and responsibilities in the tech landscape.

Now, IT decision-makers are experiencing a series of challenges when it comes to preparing their teams for the new responsibilities and expectations that come with working in tech today, mostly having to do with hiring qualified employees.

Findings from Skillsoft’s most recent IT Skills and Salary survey show that hiring tech workers has been one of the biggest challenges IT leaders have had to face over the past year.

And there’s an obvious trend.

As specialties like artificial intelligence and machine learning, cloud, cybersecurity, and data science are becoming more sought after, they have also become some of the toughest areas of tech to hire for.

This is because the demand for the skills remains extremely high, especially considering the rate of change in artificial intelligence, the severity of cyber-attacks, and the reliance on cloud solutions at work and at home.

Now, tech leaders are struggling with how to keep up.

Gathering data from 5,700+ IT professionals, the Skillsoft survey provides insight into the global state of the tech industry.

Let’s dive into some of the toughest areas of tech to hire for and see how you and your team can work to overcome these challenges.

Artificial Intelligence

Over the past year, artificial intelligence has become essential for businesses across industries, drastically altering our professional landscape.

As the demand for AI skills rises, this year’s survey results show that these specialists have become the toughest to hire for, with 43% of tech leaders saying their team’s skills in AI need improvement and 30% of survey respondents reporting that they have the most difficulty hiring qualified AI professionals.

This is largely because teams are unable to keep up with the rapid pace of change in the industry. This challenge has left leaders with few other options than to invest in training their teams.

The majority of IT decision-makers who participated in our survey responded that they believe that reskilling and upskilling is the path forward.

A recent survey from Deloitte showed that a lack of AI skills was a main issue for many organizations, yet few were investing in AI training. This has led to a major lack of supply in a field that is rapidly increasing in demand.

In order to recognize the full potential of AI, leaders must empower their teams to work effectively with the technology, and the best way to do that is by focusing on acquiring the skills and knowledge needed to excel.

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Cloud Computing

In recent years, the rapid adoption and maturation of cloud technologies has revolutionized many organizations’ digital initiatives. This trend has had an immense impact on tech jobs, leading to a surge in demand for professionals skilled in this area, evidenced by the fact that 82% of IT decision-makers reported that the demand for cloud computing skills is increasing within their organizations.

One of the biggest changes brought by cloud computing is lower IT costs due to the shift from on-premise solutions to cloud-based ones. This has created a demand for tech workers proficient in cloud computing who are able to help their companies transfer data and applications to the cloud.

Cloud architects, specifically, are some of the most sought-after new hires, yet finding employees whose talent as architects also translates to the specific cloud specializations required to fill these roles has proved challenging for team leaders.

Nearly all IT leaders agree that certified staff add immense value to their organizations, and this year, certifications in multiple Google Cloud professions were the most sought-after and are shown to be some of the highest-paying certifications in 2024.

As businesses continue to utilize cloud technology, the need for skilled cloud architects will remain an important part of successful cloud implementations.


As the cybersecurity landscape continues to evolve, companies are increasingly looking for ways to keep up with the threats that ensue.

From ransomware attacks and data breaches to attacks driven by AI, cybersecurity technologies and vulnerabilities look much different than they did in the past.

Today, cybersecurity specialists require expertise in the latest security technologies and techniques, and most importantly, they must continuously update their skills to stay ahead of new threats. But this can be challenging, especially when the landscape is evolving so quickly and even tech decision-makers are struggling to keep up.

Committing to upskilling and investing in adequate cybersecurity training are crucial steps in gaining the skills necessary to work within the evolving demands of the industry, and it ensures that your workforce is ready to face the challenges that will arise in the future.

Get the Guide:How to Manage Your Organization's Cybersecurity Learning Program in the Evolving Threat Landscape

Data Engineers

As data and its application become much more critical in how people make decisions, roles like data scientists and engineers have continued to grow in demand.

Ranked second in our list of the Top-Paying IT Certifications of 2024, the crucial importance of data engineers in organizations has not gone unnoticed. In order to excel in the field, professionals looking to pursue a career in data science should master a few key skills such as the ability to develop data processing systems and create secure, scalable, and reliable data solutions.

With proper training and the completion of IT-certified upskilling courses, professionals can help fill in the gaps that tech decision-makers are struggling to hire for in these areas.

IT Project Managers

Another major skill gap that professionals are struggling to hire for is project management.

IT project managers play a crucial role in planning, initiating, and executing software development projects. As organizations work to stay up to date with current trends in the tech landscape, effective project leaders are essential for achieving desired success.

However, finding qualified candidates for these roles can be challenging. The Project Management Institute recently reported that 25 million project management professionals are needed by 2030 to close the existing skill gap.

In order to be successful in this role, individuals must have strong leadership skills, substantial experience, and advanced technical expertise, assets that were reported as being some of the most important in our IT Skills and Salary survey.

Software Engineers

Like most of the other job areas, the main problem with hiring software engineers is that there are not enough people with the right skills.

“Software engineering” is a broad term that covers a wide range of skills. Because of this, businesses frequently require employees with specialized skill sets.

That’s where reskilling and upskilling come in. By honing your skill sets and technical abilities, you make yourself an asset to tech teams, providing a solution to IT decision-makers who are struggling to find qualified people for the jobs they are hiring for.

UI/UX Designers

Collaboration and communication skills are of utmost importance for UI/UX designers as their job often requires them to collaborate with cross-functional teams.

It is also imperative that people in these roles are both artistically creative and technically experienced, as they are responsible for building user-friendly and visually captivating digital interfaces.

This mix of communication, creativity, and technical expertise generates a high demand in the tech field since many positions often don’t require all three, even though their growing importance in the industry has not gone unnoticed.

Today, the changing nature of the tech industry is further stressing the importance of power skills among technical employees. Notably, findings from our survey reveal that power skills like communication are among the most important for those in leadership positions and are making a marked difference in professionals’ career trajectories.

Having the ability to solve problems with remarkable, innovative solutions is incredibly important, and skilling, upskilling, and reskilling are vital for workforce transformations, and the ability to hire for more roles.

The Importance of Training to Close Talent Gaps

We are now going through times of incredible change throughout the workplace. Technology is ever-evolving, new jobs are forming, and leaders are worried about their teams being left behind.

That’s why, now more than ever, having capable professionals you can trust is invaluable. While other factors impact one’s ability to find work, certifications signal to employers that candidates can effectively do the job. What’s most, an audit of one’s abilities can help show which skills are sharpest or may need more support. Ongoing assessments and training can help bolster efforts to fill a skill gap.

To learn more about the current trends in the tech industry and how they are impacting tech roles, you can read the entirety of this year’s IT Skills and Salary Report today.