What Are the Most Popular Tech Skills This Year?
Technologists are focused on honing their skills in cloud computing, cybersecurity and programming more than any other area. That should be music to the ears of HR and tech leaders who struggle with gaps in these disciplines.
Skillsoft's latest Lean Into Learning Report shows the most popular skills technologists focused on last year, revealing many sought to expand their skill set.
The report compiles platform data from Skillsoft Percipio — our LXP — to analyze what learners completed in the past year. In many ways, it delivers the state of skills and shares notable trends in learning and development.
This year, you'll find (on page 24 to be exact) a year-over-year comparison of the trending topics in technology.
Cloud security remains at the top of the list as organizations adapt to new ways of working and prioritize projects that help transform operations — with an emphasis on protecting their data and securing their platforms.
What's more, Scrum has stuck to this list for good reason. Completing big, difficult projects takes an organized, disciplined approach to be successful.
But what about the rest? Let's break them down.
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#1 Cloud Security
Cloud security at the top of this list validates what many organizations say are top priorities in 2023. "As more companies migrate to the cloud, security becomes even more important," says Mike Hendrickson, Vice President of Technology & Developer Products at Skillsoft.
Skillsoft's annual IT Skills and Salary Report found most IT leaders struggle with skills gaps in cloud and cybersecurity, making these two areas top investments in the coming year — with a focus on Microsoft, AWS, Google Cloud, VMware, among others. (See the data here.)
Part of the reason for these major gaps in cloud and security is due to talent scarcity.
Many thousands of jobs remain open in cybersecurity, and skills in cloud have been steadily in demand as more organizations realize the benefits of a cloud, hybrid or multi-cloud environment.
#2 Networking Core Concepts
Having at least a baseline knowledge of networking concepts helps open doors to many careers in IT.
Naturally, a network administrator or engineer must have more advanced knowledge, but it's also essential for cybersecurity professionals and systems architects. People in these roles must have a holistic understanding of an organization's infrastructure to help strengthen vulnerabilities or make improvements by way of efficiency or cost savings.
The demand for network admins is climbing, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS projects 24,000 new admin jobs opening every year through 2030.
Read next: 10 of the Most In-demand IT Jobs — and Why
#3 IT Hardware Admins, Specialists, Techicians
Installing, servicing and troubleshooting IT devices — from phones to computers and servers — are skills that a professional will bring with them throughout their careers.
According to CompTIA, IT support specialists are among the most popular job listings in tech. Job growth projections for computer specialists or technicians will remain steady throughout the decade, with an estimated 75,000 job openings each year.
The demand for tech workers is ceaseless, and that's true at virtually every level. CompTIA's A+ certification is the industry's most popular for those starting their careers, serving as a credible indicator of one's knowledge in managing IT hardware.
If you're after a job in IT or an organization reskilling talent, this certification is the beginning to a fruitful career in IT.
Java is among the most popular programming languages. It's true for those who learned with Skillsoft Percipio last year too.
Learners spent the most time with Java on average, just ahead of Python. However, it's worth noting that Python attracted the most unique learners to Skillsoft Percipio, where as Java came second.
Even so, Java is at the top of the list for many due to its versatility, longstanding use, and high-paying jobs. Many enterprises keep Java in play to develop apps, manage data, create AI models and more.
Interested in Java? Read whether it's the right programming language for you. If you're already learning Java, check out these code challenges from Codecademy:
MEASURE YOUR JAVA SKILLS
There are 50+ tests available in Skillsoft Percipio to help you assess your abilities and find courses to hone your skills.
#5 Cloud Basics
As mentioned, cloud is the top investment area for IT leadership — but it's also the toughest to hire for. Many in IT leadership say they struggle to hire candidates with the right skills. Instead, many look at their existing teams and invest in training.
Having basic cloud computing knowledge provides a jumping off point for roles in administration, development, architecture and cybersecurity.
What's more, some of the highest-paying roles in tech focus on cloud computing. Naturally, this benefits technologists interested in cloud, but reskilling or upskilling in this area also serves their employers by adding needed capability to the organization.
Read Next: 15 Top-Paying IT Certifications of 2022
Regardless of what a team must accomplish, it'll go smoother if there is a process in place. Scrum is a project management framework. Popular among software developers, Scrum helps break large projects into smaller bites and provides more flexibility for change.
It helps people work together closely to complete work, assess what went well and what could be improved, and continually burn down the backlog.
At Skillsoft, there are dozens of courses on Scrum that teach the foundations of the framework, how to successfully implement it, and more effectively tackle projects.
#7 Security Core Concepts
Essential security training benefits all digital citizens today. Foundational training like this can help lower the risk of a breach and prevent the consequences that follow.
As cybersecurity threats rise and more data passes between people online, having a clear understanding of the following will help protect employees and employers alike:
- Compliance — Whether it's the law or company policy, everyone must be aware of what it means to remain compliant. Doing so protects data from falling into the wrong hands.
- Attack Types — Phishing, malware, insider threats. These are all common types of attacks that target people at every rank in an organization. Knowing how bad actors will try to access data can help people discern what's cause for concern.
Further Reading: How to Improve Adoption of Cybersecurity Training
#8 Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE Programmer
As mentioned in #4, Java has remains a popular programming language, especially at enterprise organizations. It's a reliable, powerful language that can be applied to numerous business cases from application development to data analysis and more.
Becoming a certified Java programmer comes with several advantages. Many who earn certifications feel more engaged at work, while others enjoy a promotion or pay raises. And according to Glassdoor, Java developers can make in excess of $170,000+ annually.
At Skillsoft, you can find 11 prep courses — spanning 8+ hours — to help learn the concepts, study for the test, and earn this certification.
#9 Microsoft Certified Azure Fundamentals
With investments in cloud taking priority, IT staff who are trained in confidently managing their Azure instances will add value to their organizations. In fact, most IT leaders agree certified staff add more value — up to $30,000 or more — to their organizations over non-certified staff. (See more on that here.)
This certification benefits those starting their careers in cloud or planning to specialize in Azure services. It validates a professional's knowledge of cloud computing concepts and models, as well as specific ways Azure supports security, identity, compliance and more.
You should have some experience with these concepts before you sit the exam:
- Application development
- Application support
But, if you're ready to start the process, check out this study guide to help pass the test.
Further reading: 6 Tips For Passing a Microsoft Certification Exam (From Someone Who Hates Taking Tests)
#10 Linux Administration
With more organizations migrating their applications to the cloud, it's important for them to employ professionals who can administer web servers and know how to work with the Linux operating system (OS), Mike says.
As the world's largest open source project, the Linux OS remains reliable and widely distributed for a number of uses: servers, computers, smartphones and far more. For companies and people, getting started with Linux can have its advantages over proprietary operating systems — namely accessibility, cost, security and a vast network of contributing talent.
At Skillsoft, learners can find courses that teach everything from Linux installation to advanced management.
These Top 10 Tech Skills All Work Together
Within an enterprise, all of these skills come together to help push the bounds of what's possible.
Think of the recent AI buzz. Leaps in innovation, breakthroughs in technology — these don't happen overnight. The progress looks more incremental, iterative. It's the result of blocks built on top of one another over time.
As people continually work toward the goal, a recipe comes together for something truly great. You could say that's true for this list as well. All of these skills build off one another, working together in a way to help businesses, employees and patrons thrive in today's tech-driven world.
However, deficiencies in these areas could slow progress and delay desired results. As an organization, it's important to understand your workforce's capabilities.
"Have a concerted effort to get benchmark data and understand where you are today," says Mike. "If your people aren't proficient, create a prescriptive plan to remediate those skills and help them get to the next level."
Doing so will continue diversifying your organization's capabilities in these critical areas.
Download Skillsoft's annual Lean Into Learning Report to learn more about the top skills people are building.