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The top 7 most in demand tech skills for 2020

Brace yourself, 2020 is approaching faster than you can say “AirPods Pro.” 


As a new decade dawns upon us and the global tech market continues to evolve rapidly, keeping up to date with the most in-demand skills is essential. 


We’ve collated the top seven most sought-after skills from each of the 15 markets we operate in globally, according to feedback from our clients. Upskilling in these areas will help you stay ahead of the pack and help you to secure your ideal career in the changing tech landscape in 2020.


1. Python  

Programming is central to any tech guru’s skillset, and Python is one of the hottest skills out there, named the most in-demand skill for 2020 across nine of our global markets. Supporting everything from functional programming patterns to object-oriented programming, it’s intuitive, simple to learn and a popular choice with developers. 

Not only do its huge libraries suit the data manipulation needs of data scientists, the language blends into the infrastructure and can be used across numerous application platforms. Python is often listed as a core skill for IT contractors, and as a coding language skill, it’s hard to beat. With a 45% increase in global professionals citing Python as a skill since 2018, it’s clear that this is an expertise which is in growing demand. 


2. Data  

In the last two years alone, 90% of the world’s data has been generated. The digital era has helped businesses across all industries to collect and store data in great volumes and this rapid growth isn’t slowing down. In fact, we haven’t even reached the tipping point. Floods of data continue to be gathered, requiring increasing numbers of data specialists to make sense of the stats. 


Demand for data architects, scientists and analytics specialists will continue to soar in 2020, with employers seeking candidates that have strategic mindsets to see beyond the data and tell a story. Since 2018, the talent pool of those possessing these skills has seen a 27% increase. According to LinkedIn there are over 9 million professionals skilled in data science, architecture and analysis around the world, and this is expected to grow. Amongst this hiring pool, top talent will be able to marry the technical, model building side of the work with the ability to simply and clearly explain concepts to stakeholders.


Find out more about the outlook for data science and analytics in our market snapshot


3. CRM

Salesforce vs Dynamics 365 is one of the longstanding rivalries in business IT. We have found that anyone experienced in either of these CRMs has a solid career ahead of them that can transcend industries and sectors. 
A 14% increase in CRM skills since last year has brought the talent pool up to more than 7.2 million professionals globally. Further, with only 3,385 global professionals citing cloud marketing as a skill on LinkedIn, and very high demand in procuring this talent, there is a significant opportunity for employment in this sector.


4. Cyber security

Almost on a weekly basis we hear of personal data reaching the public domain or being sold on the dark web. In May of 2019, GDPR changed the landscape for the EU but also for global companies. The risk of data security threats and cyberattacks has never been higher – and the daily rate for contractors with these skills reflects this fact. Fast-growing and high-paying, cyber security is of paramount importance for any company collecting customer data and/or storing sensitive data of its own. Whether you call it cyber security, data security, or InfoSec, companies are looking for contractors with these skills. With a current talent pool of 1,292,719 professionals skilled in these areas, and a 19% increase in this skillset since 2018, it is evident that this is a growing sector with significant opportunity for employment.


5. Machine learning

The dawn of Skynet is almost upon us. Okay, not quite but Facebook had two machines speaking to each other in a short hand version of human language to communicate more effectively. A Google search for “machine learning skills” produces over 276 million results, and demand for machine learning experts will continue to increase in 2020. At present, hiring demand amongst the talent pool of more than 1.2 million professionals with this skill is very high. The number of professionals citing machine learning as a skill has also increased by a significant 50% since 2018. 


Machine learning is a broad term that is typically associated with AI, providing computers with the ability to perform specific tasks without being explicitly programmed. Skills required include programming languages like Python, C++, R and Java, probability and statistics, distributed computing, data modelling and more. 


However, great candidates should have a deep understanding of a broad set of algorithms and applied math, problem solving and analytical skills, probability and statistics and programming languages.


6. Front-end technology

We are surrounded by apps and companies fighting for our attention, with attention spans supposedly shorter than ever. The evolution of front-end technologies has accelerated rapidly over the last five years with JavaScript frameworks such as react.js and angular.js are most in-demand, with up-and-comer vue.js rising in popularity. At Talent, we are continuing to experience demand for front-end developers and expect this to continue well into 2020 and beyond.


To upskill in these technologies, focus on JSX, Node JS from a technical perspective, as well as enhancing your communication and problem solving abilities in order to convey solutions to clients or management. For someone familiar with these languages the next step might be looking at architecture. While 1.5 million professionals possess skills in React.js, angular.js and vue.js, only 4,212 are skilled in JSX (up 167% since 2018). Upskilling in this area might give you an edge, as demand for this talent is very high.


7. DevOps

With the exception of the Big banks at 2am on Fridays, there is no such thing as ‘downtime’ any longer. Continuous Integration & Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) and the DevOps workflow (and demand for DevOps engineers) remain popular. If you ask an engineer, DevOps is more of a culture shift than a single job, but that hasn’t stopped it becoming one of the hottest tech jobs around. According to a survey of 250 IT managers from OpsRamp, DevOps was listed as the most sought-after IT skill. However the role can vary across companies and go by different names (e.g. site reliability engineer). At present, there are over 60,000 global professionals engaged in a DevOps engineering role, with significant hiring demand for this talent remaining. The Systems Administrator is now an endangered species with PowerShell a minimum prerequisite to future proof your career.


To find out more about the most in-demand skills and get salary data from around the world, check out our 2020 salary guide “More than Money”.