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10/1/2019
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Cynthia Harvey
Cynthia Harvey
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IT Careers: 12 Job Skills in Demand for 2020

Employers will likely be looking to fill these kinds of IT positions in the coming year, building out their teams' tech skills.



If you're a job seeker, the good news is that the IT employment market remains very hot. That said, some kinds of technical skills are in higher demand than others.

Key technology trends are pushing employers to hire workers with very particular types of experience. In its most recent IT Skills and Certifications Pay Index, Foote Partners noted, "It's difficult to find an employer that isn't struggling to come up with its own unique tech staffing model that balances three things: the urgencies of digital transformation and cybersecurity threats, combating ever-deepening security threats, and keeping increasingly complex systems and networks running smoothly and efficiently."

Similarly, in its 2020 Salary Guide, Robert Half Technology reported that in one of its recent surveys, "67% of IT managers said they want to expand their teams in areas such as security, cloud computing and business intelligence, but 89% reported challenges in recruiting that talent." It added, "For organizations seeking professionals with deep experience in emerging areas like machine learning, AI, XR [augmented, virtual and mixed reality], and blockchain, the challenge is even more difficult."

Those recruiting challenges are pushing employers to offer higher salaries, as well as generous benefits packages and perks like flexible scheduling and work-from-home options. This is particularly noticeable at the top end of the pay scale, but entry-level positions are also seeing pay increases as employers find it increasingly difficult to hire the staff they need.

Many companies are attempting to meet some of their staffing needs by offering more training to their current workers and promoting from within. In fact, 90% of IT managers surveyed said that they planned to upskill some of their workforce.

Which positions are managers training and hiring for? The following slides detail 12 job roles that the Robert Half report highlights as being in particularly high demand for 2020, and detail media salaries identified by Robert Half and other firms.

Image: Pixabay
Image: Pixabay



12. Help Desk

Image: Sikov -stockadobe.com
Image: Sikov -stockadobe.com

The help desk is generally the most junior position in IT, and the pay is among the lowest in the field. As a result, companies often find it difficult to keep people in these roles. With other positions in the IT organization paying more, help desk staff are often quick to jump into new positions as they become available. As a result, employers are finding it necessary to increase pay for these jobs. At the high end of the range, tier 3 help desk employees in the 95th percentile are making as much as $83,000. And median pay for tier 1 workers climbed almost 5% between 2019 and 2020.

Median Help Desk Salaries:

  • Help Desk Tier 3 $60,250
  • Help Desk Tier 2 $50,000
  • Help Desk Tier 1 $40,500

Source: Robert Half Technology



11. Systems Administration

Image: Pixabay
Image: Pixabay

Like help desk workers, systems administrators also tend to be on the lower end of the pay scale, and employers face very similar issues finding people to fill these roles. As a result, median pay for this position climbed by $3,000 between 2019 and 2020. And sysadmins in the 95th percentile will be making six figures -- around $117,250 -- in the coming year. One possible way to boost your pay as a sysadmin is by obtaining a related certification. According to Robert Half, having the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), CompTIA A+, Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA), or Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) credential on your resume could increase pay between 5% and 10%.

Median Systems Administration Salaries:

  • Systems Administrator $84,750

Source: Robert Half Technology



10. Network Administration

Image: alphaspirit - adobestock.com
Image: alphaspirit - adobestock.com

As companies continue to shift more workloads to the cloud and workforces become increasingly mobile, the network is more important than ever. Keeping these complex networks up and running is becoming more difficult at the same time that it is becoming more critical. Median pay for network admins climbed $3,500 between 2019 and 2020, and some are now earning $129,500 or more. As with systems administration, the right certifications can boost your pay. Robert Half calls out the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE), Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), and Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) as being particularly valuable.

Median Network Administration Salaries:

  • Network/Cloud Administrator $92,500

Source: Robert Half Technology



9. Blockchain

Image: Wit - stockadobe.com
Image: Wit - stockadobe.com

Financial services firms are among those doing the most IT-related hiring for 2020, and one skillset they are looking for is particularly hard to find: blockchain. This field is so new that finding anyone with experience in areas such as cryptocurrency can be tremendously difficult. IT workers who can find a way to add some blockchain-related skills to their resume could find themselves in a very enviable position when it comes time to negotiate compensation.

Median Blockchain Salaries:

  • Manager – Blockchain $98,996

Source: Janco Associates, Inc.

 



8. Business Intelligence

Image: SFIO CRACHO - stockadobe.com
Image: SFIO CRACHO - stockadobe.com

Workers who combine business acumen with tech know-how can be particularly valuable to employers, and that is very evident in the high demand for people to fill business intelligence (BI) roles. Median pay for BI analysts climbed 4% over the past year, and those at the top of the pay scale will earn $185,500 for 2020. BI experts with skills in machine learning and artificial intelligence might see even higher pay.

Median Business Intelligence Salaries:

  • Business Intelligence Analyst $110,250
  • Data Analyst/Report Writer $100,250

Source: Robert Half Technology



7. DevOps

Image: anathomy - stockadobe.com
Image: anathomy - stockadobe.com

DevOps is becoming the norm for enterprise IT teams, and those with extensive understanding of and experience with the DevOps approach are in high demand. Median pay for DevOps engineers climbed 4.8% over the past year and could soar even higher for 2020. Those engineers in the 95th percentile are earning as much as $178,250. And Foote Partners also lists DevOps as one of the highest-paying noncertified tech skills.

Median DevOps Salaries:

  • DevOps Engineer $115,750

Source: Robert Half Technology



6. Development

Image: Joao-Pierre S. Ruth
Image: Joao-Pierre S. Ruth

Programming skills have long been among the most coveted for employers, and that isn't changing in 2020. Full-stack developers are particularly sought after, as are those who know .NET, Angular, C#, Go, Java, JavaScript, PHP, Python, ReactJS and React Native, Ruby on Rails, and/or Scala. Pay can vary considerably depending on the type of development a worker does and his or her level of experience, but the list below offers a quick overview.

Median Development Salaries:

  • Senior Web Developer $123,000
  • Software Developer $120,750
  • Developer/Programmer Analyst $108,500
  • Web Developer $104,750
  • Front-End Web Developer $81,750

Source: Robert Half Technology



5. IoT

Image: kerenby - stockadobe.com
Image: kerenby - stockadobe.com

Some of those developers are being asked to create new applications for the Internet of Things (IoT). Companies are also hiring people with hardware development, networking, and analysis skills for IoT roles. The Foote Partners report noted that people who combine IoT experience with skills related to other hot trends, like blockchain, cloud computing, and data analytics, are in exceptionally high demand.

Median IoT Salaries:

  • IoT Engineer $133,263

Source: Indeed.com



4. Cloud

Image: Rawpixel.com - stockadobe.com
Image: Rawpixel.com - stockadobe.com

Today's enterprises are no longer engaged in intense debate about the usefulness of cloud computing. While they aren't moving everything to the cloud, all companies have at least some workloads in the cloud. And that means they need IT staff with cloud expertise. For this year's report, Robert Half added the word "cloud" to several positions that formerly were related only to networking. Network/cloud architecture is particularly lucrative with those at the high end of the pay scale earning $196,250.

Median Cloud Salaries:

  • Network/Cloud Architect $141,750
  • Network/Cloud Engineer $123,750
  • Network/Cloud Manager $120,000
  • Cloud Computing Analyst $98,250

Source: Robert Half Technology



3. AI and Machine Learning

Image: Thananit - stockadobe.com
Image: Thananit - stockadobe.com

For several years, artificial intelligence has been one of the hottest trends in IT, and that is driving increasing demand for AI and machine learning professionals. An experienced AI architect can earn up to $189,000. This is the first year that Robert Half has included the AI architect position in its salary guide, but median pay for data scientists, which also generally involves AI and machine learning, increased $3,750 over the past year.

Median AI and Machine Learning Salaries:

  • AI Architect $143,750
  • Data Scientist $125,250
  • Data Modeler $101,750

Source: Robert Half Technology



2. Data Specialists

Image: metamorworks - stockadobe.com
Image: metamorworks - stockadobe.com

Of course, companies are still doing a lot of things with their data that aren't necessarily related to artificial intelligence and machine learning. Big data engineers in the 95th percentile are earning $219,500 for 2020, and even lowly DBAs are now earning salaries in the six figures. Look for this trend to continue as enterprises continue to look for ways to convert their data into profits.

Median Data Salaries:

  • Big Data Engineer $163,250
  • Data Architect $141,350
  • Database Manager $133,500
  • Database Administrator $100,250

Source: Robert Half Technology



1. Security

Image: TaweeW.asurut - stockadobe.com
Image: TaweeW.asurut - stockadobe.com

With cyberattacks on the rise, cybersecurity is a huge concern for organizations. Many are hoping to add to their security staff, and the chief security officer (CSO) is now the second-highest paying position in IT. Only CIOs earn more, and not even a chief technology officer earns as much. And even the lowest levels of the security team have median salaries in the six figures.

Median Cybersecurity Salaries:

  • Chief Security Officer (CSO) $187,250
  • Information Systems Security Manager $143,250
  • Security Architect $130,750
  • Network Security Engineer $119,750
  • Systems Security Administrator $116,000
  • Network Security Administrator $113,500

Source: Robert Half Technology

Cynthia Harvey is a freelance writer and editor based in the Detroit area. She has been covering the technology industry for more than fifteen years. View Full Bio

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