Five In-Demand Tech Jobs for 2024


November 26, 2023


180 Engineering

Layoffs in the tech sector continue to make the news as 2023 winds down. Prominent tech-based companies, including Bandcamp, Stack Overflow, LinkedIn, Waymo, Google, and Expedia announced layoffs in October. However, those numbers were relatively minor compared to the massive layoffs earlier in 2023. Unemployment in the tech sector actually decreased from 2.2% in September to 2.1% in October.

Experts predict that layoffs notwithstanding, talented tech professionals will remain in high demand for 2024 and beyond. The historic low unemployment rates in the field, combined with emerging tech, a strong demand for tech talent across all industries, and an anticipated increase in spending on IT services in 2024, means that skilled talent will have a strong edge in the labour market.

But tech jobs span every industry and technology shifts at breakneck speed. For tech professionals who want to explore employment options in 2024, which jobs will be in the highest demand? Which roles will provide the most lucrative salaries? Which specialties hold the most promise for the future?

Cloud Network Architect

As companies embrace cloud computing, it’s essential that they have strong cloud network architects on their IT teams. These professionals are responsible for designing and implementing the architecture of a company’s networks and for moving network management to the cloud, which may include developing cloud adoption plans, determining cloud application design, and creating the systems needed to manage and maintain the cloud system.

The role of cloud network architect is complex and requires a strong mix of soft and technical skills. The professionals in that role typically need to lead teams, interact with vendors and upper management, evaluate budgets, and develop, establish, and maintain cloud infrastructures. Some specific duties of cloud network architects include:

  • Designing the overall structure of cloud-based systems, based on the company’s needs;
  • Evaluating and selecting the most appropriate hardware, software, and cloud service providers;
  • Monitoring, troubleshooting, and optimizing the cloud systems to ensure efficiency and security;
  • Integrating security measures;
  • Closely collaborating on projects with stakeholders including other members of the IT group, vendors, and upper management;
  • Creating comprehensive documentation, including diagrams, specifications, and configurations;
  • Evaluating budgets and optimizing costs;
  • Anticipating future growth and planning accordingly for the scalability of the cloud infrastructure; and
  • Staying up-to-date about emerging technologies, trends, and best practices.

The complexity of the role requires a high degree of competency in both soft and technical skills. Employers favor candidates who have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or business, but approximately a quarter of cloud architects have a master’s degree. Additionally, Coursera advises that additional qualifications include at least eight years of relevant work experience, CCNP or CCIE certifications, and deep familiarity with programming languages, tools, networking technologies, disaster recovery, and public clouds.

The extensive qualification requirements pay off when it comes to salaries. In the United States, cloud architects earn an average of $159,000 annually, with the potential to earn up to $200,000 per year.

AI/Machine Learning Engineer

While some people use the terms “artificial intelligence” and “machine learning” interchangeably, the two technologies are interconnected but not the same. Essentially, machine learning (ML) is a tool or pathway that can be used to create artificial intelligence (AI) systems. Along those lines, then, Rice University explains the difference between AI and ML engineers:

Machine learning engineers create the tools, processes, and systems to extend machine learning beyond the controlled environment of the laboratory. AI engineers guide the development and deployment of AI and machine learning in dynamic, complex environments where they are needed most for everyday applications.

AI and ML engineering can be a terrific fit for those already working within the tech sector as software engineers or developers. For those considering a move into tech from high school or another industry, it’s notable that a degree is not required for AI and ML engineering; the required tech skills can be developed through online courses, certifications, and boot camps. While tech employers are increasingly looking for candidates with excellent soft skills, AI and ML engineers don’t necessarily require the same breadth of soft skills as the other roles discussed here since their main responsibilities are tech-oriented, including:

  • Identifying problems and defining how AI can be used to implement solutions;
  • Identifying and collecting relevant data to use for training AI models;
  • Choosing appropriate algorithms or developing custom algorithms that address the problem;
  • Creating, monitoring, and managing the development process of new projects;
  • Evaluating and assessing performance and results;
  • Deploying models into production, ensuring seamless integration; and
  • Pursuing continual, life-long learning to stay abreast of advancements in the field.

Both AI and ML engineers are in high demand, with a strong job market outlook. The rapid emergence of these technologies means that there is a considerable talent gap, with few professionals who are skilled and knowledgeable within the specialty. As companies scramble to hire AI and ML engineers, compensation will increase to appeal to the most talented candidates. As of November 2023, the salary range for AI engineers is $111,545 to $138,637 USD annually.

Cybersecurity Engineer

As the world moves increasingly online, breaches in cybersecurity are becoming more prevalent. Statista reports that, globally, there were 5.5 billion malware attacks in 2022, which was an increase of 100 million over 2021. Further, the number of data breaches in America roughly quadrupled between 2012 and 2022, from 447 to 1800.

A data security breach can have serious long-term consequences for companies, with 83% of American consumers saying that they will stop doing business for several months with companies that experience a data breach and 21% claiming that they will never do business with that company again.

Cybersecurity engineers are critical in protecting a company’s sensitive information, data, networks, and computer systems from cyber threats. While their duties vary between companies, these tech professionals typically design, implement, and maintain hardware, software, and policies related to cybersecurity. Specifically, their work may include:

  • Performing risk assessments to identify and assess potential security risks and vulnerabilities;
  • Designing and implementing security architectures;
  • Configuring and managing firewalls;
  • Developing and implementing incident response plans;
  • Developing security policies for the company, ensuring compliance with security regulations and best practices;
  • Educating employees and other users about the company’s security measures; and
  • Pursuing professional development to stay abreast of cybersecurity issues and technologies.

Typically, a cybersecurity engineer needs advanced education and training to perform their complex duties. Most companies will require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and two years of related experience but Indeed suggests pursuing an internship, advanced degree, and/or relevant certifications. This is not an entry-level position. According to Glassdoor, the average annual total pay for a cybersecurity engineer in the United States as of November 2023 is approximately $149,500, which includes $118,500 in base pay and $31,000 in additional pay such as cash bonuses, commissions, and profit-sharing.

Data Scientist

As data gains importance in the decisions that businesses make, the demand for data scientists has risen proportionally. Coursera defines data scientists as those who “determine the questions their team should be asking and figure out how to answer those questions using data.” They use a combination of statistical, mathematical, programming, and domain-specific skills to analyze and interpret complex data sets, with the end goal of helping businesses make decisions and solve problems.

Because of the level of complex knowledge that is required for the position, data scientists traditionally have a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, statistics, or computer science. Data science has also emerged as an academic field in post-secondary institutions and it is possible to earn a degree in data science. However, as demand for data scientists rises, employers who need to fill open roles will have little choice but to hire those who have demonstrable skills, regardless of how they developed them.

Whether entering the field with a undergraduate degree or after completing online courses and bootcamps, data scientists require a well-developed skillset that includes:

  • Programming languages;
  • Statistics and probability;
  • Data wrangling and database management;
  • Machine learning and deep learning;
  • Data visualization;
  • Cloud computing; and
  • Interpersonal skills.

Data scientists will be in high demand as businesses outside of the tech sector, such as healthcare, finance, e-commerce, and media and communications increasingly turn to data to make decisions. While median salary will depend on their education level, years of experience, the industry they work in, and their location, the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median salary for data scientists was $103,500 per year as of 2022.

Product Manager

Product managers are responsible for the strategy, development, and overall success of a product, and for ensuring that the product meets the needs of both the users and the business. Their role may involve both researching and developing new products as well as relaunching and repositioning existing or old products. Although product managers often have a background in technology, they require a broad skillset that includes business, creative, and superb soft skills as well.

Product managers are team leaders, setting goals and motivating a team that likely includes engineers, designers, marketers, researchers, and customer support staff. As part of their role, product managers engage in:

  • Market research, to understand user needs and market trends;
  • Product strategy, to define the product’s vision, goals, and metrics of success;
  • Roadmap planning, to prioritize features and enhancements;
  • Release planning, to coordinate and plan product releases in line with quality standards, deadlines, and budgetary constraints;
  • User experience (UX) design, to ensure that the product provides a positive user experience;
  • Measuring metrics and analytics, to define and track performance indicators;
  • Risk management;
  • Budget management; and
  • Product evangelism, to promote the product to all internal and external stakeholders as well as to customers.

Because of the broad skillset that is required of product managers, employers typically look for a combination of education and skills acquired through experience. Whether your background is in tech, business, marketing, or something entirely different, having an entrepreneurial spirit, a desire to learn on the job, and strong interpersonal and leadership skills can help you land a product management role.

The job market is promising for skilled and intuitive product managers as the role continues to grow and expand into industries outside of tech. Currently, the average base salary for product managers in the United States is $102, 220.

Technology and the tech industry evolve quickly. Regardless of which specialty area and roles you’re currently most interested in, if you stay informed about tech innovations and trends, are willing to pivot into another specialty or industry, and embrace lifelong learning, your career should remain interesting, fulfilling, and successful.