Five Top In-Demand IT Specialities for 2023 and Beyond


February 24, 2023


180 Engineering

As 2023 gains momentum, news about tech sector layoffs keeps rolling in. In the early days of February 2023, Yahoo, Zoom, eBay, Paypal, and Bustle Digital Group (among others) announced staff cuts. To outside observers, the continued layoffs seem worrisome and disconcerting.

But the majority of those who work within the tech industry remain optimistic about their job roles. And they are right to feel that way. Tech giants that overhired during the pandemic are necessarily trimming their sails as people once again embrace offline living and as the world’s economic uncertainty continues. But demand for skilled tech workers has not abated. Tech-related job growth remains strong and there is high demand for tech professionals in industries outside of the tech sector.

As well, technology is constantly changing. As new tech is developed and embraced, companies need to adjust their technology infrastructure. A perfect example is the astonishing growth of cloud computing. Already booming prior to the pandemic, the global cloud computing market grew exponentially as the world shifted online. It’s expected that the market will continue to grow post-pandemic, with a compound annual growth rate of 17.5%. To handle that growth, companies will need to hire an increasingly large complement of cloud specialists.

Yes, mass layoffs are happening and there is some uncertainty for tech workers. But for those who are willing to learn new skills and shift their focus to industries outside of the tech sector, the future remains bright. To prepare, tech professionals should take a close look at their current specialties and consider whether a shift in direction might reap dividends. To help, we’ve taken a look at five of the most in-demand tech jobs in 2023 and beyond.

Software Developer (AKA Software Development Engineer or Software Engineer)

With predicted job growth of 25% between 2021 and 2031, and a median salary that’s currently $109,000 per year, the software developer role promises a secure future with plentiful job opportunities.

What Is A Software Developer? 

Software developers, of course, are the tech professionals who use coding to build software programs, applications, networks, and operating systems. As part of their jobs, software developers may be involved in user analyses, planning, documentation, and testing. As Liz Simmons succinctly explains:

Front-end developers design the visual aspects of websites for users to interact with, including colors, layout, and fonts. Back-end developers create the invisible structure that helps websites function properly. Back-end developers have a different technical skillset and make higher salaries than front-end developers. Full-stack developers work with all parts of a website and use front-end and back-end coding skills.

Job Requirements For Software Developers

Traditionally, companies have preferred candidates who have bachelor’s degrees in computer science. But, in response to the continued struggle to find skilled tech workers, businesses are increasingly relaxing traditional job requirements. As a result, self-taught coders and those with boot camp certifications may find it easier to enter the field.

In addition to being able to code in multiple languages (such as C++, C#, Python, Java, JavaScript, .NET, SQL Server, Ruby, and HTML), software developers should have:

  • Critical thinking skills;
  • Creative problem-solving skills; and
  • Strong communication skills.

Artificial Intelligence Specialist (AKA Machine Learning Engineer or AI Architect)

We are currently witnessing an explosion in machine learning as new AI applications are being developed and AI is becoming more commonplace. As a result, Kerry Halladay points out that, “Demand for machine learning engineers (already in short supply) is high and only expected to grow as the complexity of, and access to, machine learning increases.” That high demand translates to a high median salary, currently around $125,500 annually.

What Is An AI Specialist?

AI specialists work across all sectors, particularly in healthcare, education, marketing, retail and e-commerce, and financial services. They create programs for computers and other machines that simulate the human thought process. Ultimately, the information gathered through AI is often used to improve business decisions.

Job Requirements for AI Specialists 

Many companies require a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, computer science, or information technology for entry-level jobs, with a preference for those who hold advanced master’s degrees in related fields. However, particularly as the field continues to boom and the demand for AI specialists continues to grow, it may be possible to find an entry-level position open to those with certifications from online programs or boot camps.

In addition to demonstrated knowledge of fundamental computer science and programming concepts, AI specialists should have expertise in the following areas:

  • Applied mathematics;
  • Data modeling and evaluation;
  • Object-oriented and functional design principles;
  • Deep learning;
  • TensorFlow;
  • Natural language processing; and
  • Communication.

LinkedIn ranked the machine learning engineer role as the fourth-fastest growing job in America over the past five years. Because of the explosive growth in AI applications and the demand for AI across several sectors of the economy, the demand for AI specialists should be strong for many years to come.

Site Reliability Engineer

Site reliability engineers (SREs) are the superheroes that step in to fix tech issues by finding the root causes and offering solutions. This career niche is growing exponentially, with a growth rate of about 34% between 2016-20. The strong demand for SREs and their highly specialized skillset translates to a high salary; currently about $162,000 per year.

What Is A Site Reliability Engineer? 

With the global move towards online life, businesses are looking for ways to optimize their technology infrastructure and improve their workflows, as this all has a tremendous impact on customer experiences and bottom lines. Further, as the way we develop software continues to shift and as DevOps are increasingly adopted, new skill sets are needed to manage these changes. It has become the role of SREs to “create and implement automated software tools that maximize a system’s reliability and efficiency while working closely with software development and IT operations teams.”

Job Requirements for Site Reliability Engineers

Because of the in-depth knowledge and the finely-tuned communication skills that are required of SREs, most employers prefer to hire candidates with master’s degrees. However, in some cases, a combination of a bachelor’s degree plus prior experience may meet an employer’s criteria. In terms of prior experience, employers often look specifically for candidates who have previously supported scalable service environments and who have coding experience. Candidates who previously worked as DevOps consultants, system engineers, or cloud engineers are well-suited to transition into SRE roles.

As well as a post-secondary degree, employers are looking for talented SREs with demonstrated expertise in the following areas:

  • Software development;
  • Coding in several programming languages;
  • Administration of OSes;
  • Automation;
  • DevOps engineering practices; and
  • General knowledge of technology including servers, storage, virtualization, and network monitoring.

LinkedIn ranked the role of SRE at number 21 on the list of the fastest-growing jobs in the United States in 2022. With such a strong outlook, a career as a systems reliability engineer holds much promise for 2023 and beyond.

DevOps Engineer

DevOps engineers are already in high demand and it’s projected that the DevOps market will grow from $6.78 billion to $57.90 billion between 2020 and 2030. While the current median salary for the role is about $119,000 per year, it’s likely that compensation will rise in tandem with the demand for talented candidates.

What Is A DevOps Engineer?

DevOps engineers need a mix of strong technical and people skills because they lead and coordinate the teams responsible for creating and maintaining a company’s software. As explained in a piece by Amanda Hetler,

They understand both the coding and engineering for successful implementation of software systems and help create and improve existing software to increase efficiency and productivity. DevOps engineers are experts in automation tools for digital pipelines, which include continuous integration and continuous delivery.

Their ultimate goal is to shorten the software development cycle by working with a company’s developers and other IT professionals.

Job Requirements for DevOps Engineers

Although companies have traditionally favored candidates who have bachelor’s degrees for the role of DevOps engineer, it is possible to move into the role with a combination of certifications and experience. Entry-level positions that can provide relevant experience with software maintenance are an excellent stepping stone to a career as a DevOps engineer, particularly system administrator, support, and help desk roles.

Candidates with expertise in the following areas will be in high demand as DevOps engineers:

  • Fundamental engineering skills in mathematics and analytical thinking;
  • Coding and scripting in programming languages;
  • Server administration;
  • DevOps tools, including integration servers, monitoring and analytics programs, and network tools;
  • Communication; and
  • Leadership and coaching.

IT Manager (AKA Information Systems Manager, IT Director, CIO, Chief Technology Officer)

As all sectors undergo increasing digital transformations, the demand for IT managers will continue to rise. Although the current median salary for this role is about $159,000 per year, as more IT manager roles are created, it’s likely that salary levels will increase in tandem with the demand for talented professionals to fill the open roles.

What Is An IT Manager?

The role of IT Manager is complex and requires a highly-specialized skill set that combines business management and technology. IT managers collaborate with management, vendors, and IT team members to plan, implement, and oversee a company’s technology needs. They recommend products, upgrades, and enhancements to management; develop IT policy, including security measures; schedule and supervise IT projects; and manage IT team members.

Job Requirements for IT Managers

While a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, or management; or a master’s degree in a related discipline, including an MBA, may be listed as a job requirement, work experience is critical. IT managers typically enter their roles after working for several years in the IT field. They will need a demonstrated strong background in both technology and people management.

For those interested in pursuing IT manager roles, there are several certifications that can help to advance their career, including:

  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM);
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP);
  • CompTIA Project+; and
  • TOGAF 9 Certification.

Not surprisingly, while IT managers need a solid background in broad technical skills, they also require excellence in people skills and project management, including:

  • Communication;
  • Leadership;
  • Collaboration;
  • Time management;
  • Problem solving;
  • Stress management; and
  • Strategic thinking.

Because IT managers are required across all sectors, the outlook for this career path will remain promising for the foreseeable future.