Trends for IT Professionals to Watch in 2018

Trends for IT Professionals to Watch in 2018

The IT industry is faced with rapidly changing trends that affect workforce needs and the types of skills companies are looking for. Last year, some of the most important trends included swift technology adoption, the proliferation of IoT-integrated devices and systems, and a need for talent agility.

In keeping with the rapid pace of technological advancements, this year brings a number of new developments that will impact the IT workforce. These trends have one thing in common: As training is continually outpaced by new technologies, 75 percent of IT employers are impacted by the resulting skills shortage. This is good news for IT professionals as opportunities are strong and demand for skilled talent is high.

To give you insight into the most important trends for 2018 and beyond, Kelly® is pleased to present this concise report of industry trends based on our proprietary research, as well as our ongoing conversations with leading IT companies.

Information security
Although cybercrime is increasingly in the news and there’s an increase in the number of in-house security professionals, overall, organizations remain ill-equipped to handle cyberattacks. One of the main reasons for this is the shortage of IT talent who possess the right programming languages combined with information security credentials. As cybercrime continues to rise, the already heightened need for experienced cybersecurity professionals will become even more acute.

Digital transformation
Digital transformation isn’t a choice: It’s a necessity. Although only 20 percent of organizations are expected to fail to comply with digital transformation—thereby putting their organizations at risk—currently, 60 percent of executives believe their organizations are lagging behind in the digital transformation process. As a result, this year will see an increased demand for IT talent to help organizations achieve digital transformation.

Specialized IT talent gap
While measures like strengthening their use of talent platforms, engaging gig workers, and working with independent contractors will help companies meet some of their talent needs, certain specialized workers such as CX designers, data scientists, and information security analysts will be much harder to find. This is in large part due to the skills scarcity and lack of professionals with experience in these areas. In addition, companies that are more technologically advanced and have already embraced digital transformation will find it easier to attract these professionals, since they’re able to offer more appealing work environments and interesting projects. In contrast, organizations that aren’t as digitally advanced could pay as much as 20 percent above market value for the same type of talent. It’s more and more important today that IT professionals know their value in the job market.

AI investments and intelligent agents
After the initial excitement about AI, companies will start rethinking how they invest in AI in order to improve their ROI. Experts predict that approximately 75 percent of AI projects will fail to impress this year as a result of not accurately taking business considerations into account. Because of this, organizations’ future AI investments are likely to be more strongly linked to defined benefits. One area of AI slated to see both growing investment and a need for talent is the field of developing so-called intelligent agents: autonomous AI units that possess the ability to take action based on environmental actuators. When used in e-commerce, they can guide purchase decisions and positively impact customer satisfaction. In fact, in 2018, an estimated 10 percent of purchase decisions will be influenced by intelligent agents. However, a large number of companies do not yet possess the skills required to leverage this technology. As a result, there will be a heightened demand for IT talent with AI skills, especially in e-commerce, but also in the customer service sector.

Blockchain 2.0
Blockchain is a decentralized digital ledger of transactions. It is permanent and cannot be altered. Although blockchain is typically associated with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, there’s growing interest in the technology itself. In the coming years, blockchain’s business applications will continue to grow, as an increasing number of companies appreciate its value and want to take advantage of the technology, for example by using smart contracts. More than 40 percent of executives agree that blockchain will have a disruptive effect on their industries, and more than half believe their organizations will become less competitive if they fail to adopt blockchain. This means there will be a growing demand for IT talent to help companies apply blockchain in their organizations in industries ranging from finance to manufacturing.

Though much of the conversation surrounding robotics to date has focused on how technology will replace humans, there’s another aspect to consider: Increasingly sophisticated robotics are being developed that can augment the skills of human workers. This will allow employers to maximize their human capital and reduce headcount, as almost 60 percent of CEOs plan to do. As a result, IT talent with robotics skills will be in heightened demand. Many projects in robotic automation have not yielded their full potential, not because of technical aspects but due to poor program management, sponsorship, or a lack of process capture and documentation.

Talent partnership
Due to the ongoing talent scarcity in the IT sector, particularly as it applies to specialized talent, leading companies will opt to work with experienced talent partners for recruiting, staffing, and outsourcing services. On the other side of the equation, you can improve your career prospects by learning from a staffing firm what IT skills those same organizations are seeking today—or, connect with a new opportunity.

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