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For job seekers, the demand for specific jobs should factor into their career decisions -- perhaps now more than ever. With the job market affected by events such as the global COVID-19 pandemic, waves of layoffs and the Great Resignation, it's important to know which jobs are still on the upswing.
Learn about nine of the most in-demand tech jobs and IT jobs 2023 has to offer, as well as general job duties, recommended skills for job seekers, why the position is in demand and paths to careers for each position listed. Jobs are not ranked in any order.
All nine jobs have higher-than-average salaries and strong projected job growth. Jobs in these areas are available from a wide range of employers, including small software startups, client firms and large tech companies.
When considering salaries, numbers can vary significantly by location and across industries and companies.
1. Software developer -- also known as software development engineer or software engineer
Median salary: $109,020
Job description. Software developers are engineers who build software programs, applications, networks and OSes. While a large portion of job duties involve building programs through coding, software developers typically are involved in critical analyses of user needs, planning technical feature requirements, documentation and testing. Software developer positions may focus on front-end applications that users interact with; the back end, which includes application or program code; or both.
Recommended skills. Anyone seeking a software developer position should have knowledge of and experience with the following:
- general knowledge of computer science and software development concepts;
- critical thinking; and
- strong communication skills.
For more information on developer skills, click here.
Paths to this career. For entry-level positions, most companies prefer four-year bachelor's degrees in computer science. But some software developers may have only an associate's degree or a certificate of completion from a boot camp for building coding skills. Senior-level positions may require advanced computer science degrees.
Demand. The number of software developer jobs is projected to rise 25% between 2021 and 2031. This equates to the creation of 411,400 new jobs, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
2. Data scientist
Median salary: $100,910
Job description. Data scientists collect, analyze and interpret large amounts of data using advanced analytics technologies, such as machine learning (ML), AI and predictive modeling. Aside from technical acumen, knowledge of technology and math skills, data scientists use critical thinking to make informed interpretations of data. This can help organizations understand market trends, consumer behaviors and other relevant insights for developing their business strategy.
Recommended skills. Data scientist jobs typically require several specific technical and soft skills. This typically involves but is not limited to the following:
- linear algebra;
- data visualization;
- predictive modeling;
- ML and deep learning;
- data wrangling;
- model deployment and production;
- understanding of business and technology concepts;
- communications; and
Learn more by reading this detailed overview of data scientist skills.
Paths to this career. Similar to other top in-demand tech jobs, most companies require a bachelor's degree. This may be in computer science, statistics or mathematics.
Demand. The post-pandemic job market outlook for data scientists remains optimistic. Among career websites such as Glassdoor, data scientist job titles consistently rank as "top jobs" based on criteria such as salary, job market prognosis and job satisfaction. Data scientist is a relatively new position that has grown as a result of the increasing use of big data. The number of data scientist jobs is projected to rise 36% between 2021 and 2031. This equates to the creation of 40,500 new jobs, according to data from the BLS.
3. Artificial intelligence specialist -- also known as machine learning engineer
Median salary: $125,494
Job description. AI specialists develop AI and ML technologies for computer programs and other machines to simulate how the human mind works. Specific job duties can vary but may also include jobs such as ML engineer, business intelligence developer and AI architect.
Recommended skills. AI and ML specialist positions often require specific technical proficiencies, such as the following:
- expertise in AI and ML;
- expertise in deep learning;
- experience working with TensorFlow;
- experience with natural language processing;
- knowledge of the Python programming language;
- experience working with algorithms;
- knowledge of object-oriented and functional design principles;
- development of REST APIs;
- NoSQL design; and
- relational database management system design and optimization.
Paths to this career. At a minimum, AI specialists generally have a bachelor's degree in computer science, plus prior experience working with algorithms and related tools. But employers typically prefer to hire candidates with advanced master's degrees.
Demand. ML engineer was ranked as the fourth-fastest growing job in the U.S. over the past five years, according to the 2022 LinkedIn Jobs on the Rise list. Skills are relatively specific, and demand for the job is spread across multiple industries, including computer software, IT, automotive, defense and communications.
4. IT manager -- also known as information systems manager, IT director, chief information officer and chief technology officer
Median salary: $159,010
Job description. IT managers are responsible for the short-term and long-term visions for the technology needs of an organization. Job duties typically include collaborating with executives and upper management on matters related to technology, such as large purchasing decisions, managing key vendor relationships, managing software and hardware upgrades, and generally overseeing IT tasks, such as security. IT manager positions exist in essentially every industry.
Recommended skills. Effective IT managers typically have the following skills:
- strategic thinking;
- project management;
- work well in high-pressure, high-stress situations;
- effective collaboration;
- broad technical skills;
- general computer science expertise; and
- in-depth awareness of current technologies and market trends.
Paths to this career. IT manager positions typically are not entry-level jobs. Positions may range from intermediate to senior level. IT managers typically have at least a bachelor's degree in computer science, but some IT managers may have a master's degree or advanced degree in a related field. Typically, several years of work experience in IT-related roles is required to become an IT manager.
Demand. From 2021 to 2031, 82,400 new IT manager jobs are expected to be created, according to the BLS. This is largely due to increases in digital transformations across all industries and the need for employees who can help organizations effectively manage their use of technology. Industries with sensitive data, such as retail, require IT managers with knowledge and expertise in cybersecurity.
5. Information security analyst
Median salary: $102,600
Job description. Information security analysts are responsible for protecting company computer systems and networks from malware and other forms of cyber attacks. Job responsibilities may include planning and executing cybersecurity measures, monitoring networks for breaches, investigating and reporting breaches, conducting penetration testing and maintaining cybersecurity defense measures. Positions may require security generalists or focus specifically on network security.
Recommended skills. Information security analysts typically have the following skills:
- knowledge of cybersecurity threats and defense strategies;
- understanding of networks and computer systems;
- technical acumen;
- communication skills;
- collaboration skills; and
- critical thinking skills.
Paths to this career. Information security analysts typically have bachelor's degrees in computer science or related fields, as well as previous work experience in such roles as network, computer systems or database administrator.
Demand. Information security analyst positions are increasing. Between 2021 and 2031, almost 56,500 new jobs are expected to be created in the U.S., according to the BLS. This demand is due to general increases in cyber attacks and expansions in the collection and storage of sensitive data, such as vertical market software products for healthcare and financial industries.
6. Computer systems analyst
Median salary: $99,270
Job description. Computer systems analysts design computer systems for client organizations. These professionals learn about the business models of their clients and research which technologies best fit the organization's specific needs and use cases. The overall goal is to design a computer system for the customer organization with the appropriate hardware, software and network for the organization's budget and needs. Computer systems analysts may be employed by client service firms for computer systems design or work in-house in industries, including banking, healthcare and technology.
Recommended skills. Computer systems analysts typically have the following:
- comprehensive understanding of computer systems and IT;
- comprehensive understanding of business models and how they use technology;
- general computer science knowledge;
- current knowledge of technology and business;
- critical thinking skills;
- research skills;
- communications skills; and
- client-facing skills.
Paths to this career. Computer systems analysts typically have a bachelor's degree in information systems or computer science. Some employers may prefer candidates who have bachelor's degrees in computer science and business-related studies or have a master's degree.
Demand. The need for computer systems analysts is expected to increase from 2021 to 2031, and the BLS projected 50,900 jobs to be created during that period. This is a 9% increase in jobs. Most of these increases are linked to expansions in healthcare IT.
7. Computer network architect
Median salary: $120,520
Job description. Computer network architects are responsible for designing and constructing data communication networks for organizations. These include WANs, LANs and intranets. Tasks for a computer network architect can range from setting up simple connections between offices to setting up multicustomer cloud architectures. Core responsibilities for a computer network architect include building and presenting detailed networking plans to management and maintaining proper maintenance and upgrades for network hardware and software.
Recommended skills. Computer network architects typically have the following skills:
- expertise in networking technology;
- understanding of business IT;
- general computer science knowledge;
- interpersonal and presentation skills;
- ability to understand different business models; and
- knowledge of computer and network administration.
Paths to this career. Typically, computer network architects have a bachelor's degree in computer science, information systems or a related technical field. More competitive positions may prefer candidates with a master's degree in information systems. Computer network architect jobs are not entry-level, as they usually require five to 10 years of work experience in roles such as a network or database administrator or computer systems analyst.
Demand. Between 2021and 2031, there are projected to be around 7,500 new jobs created, as a result of expanding IT needs within companies, according to the BLS.
8. Site reliability engineer
Median salary: $162,337
Job description. Site reliability engineers (SREs) ensure that websites and business applications are operating smoothly using software engineering skill sets to address problems with operations and architecture. Duties between SREs are typically split between developing -- such as automation, scaling and building new features -- and technical troubleshooting to address operational issues that arise.
Recommended skills. SREs typically have the following:
- comprehensive knowledge of software development;
- proficiency coding in programming languages, such as Java and Python;
- strong knowledge of major OSes and their administration;
- familiarity with DevOps engineering practices;
- knowledge of networking, load balancing, protocols such as TCP/IP and services like DNS; and
- thorough knowledge of technology such as servers, storage, virtualization and network monitoring.
Learn more about the skills required and responsibilities of SREs.
Paths to this career. Like many of the other top in-demand tech jobs, SRE roles typically require a bachelor's degree in computer science. Work experience is often required as well. Most employers ask for work experience supporting scalable service environments, as well as coding experience. However, SRE job requirements can vary greatly between companies.
Demand. SRE roles have been experiencing 34% annual growth in the last four years, according to the LinkedIn "2020 Emerging Jobs Report." SREs were also ranked 21st on the fastest-growing jobs in the U.S., according to the 2022 LinkedIn Jobs on the Rise list.
9. DevOps engineer
Median salary: $119,058
Job description. DevOps engineers work on the operational side and solve development problems throughout the software lifecycle. DevOps engineers manage software code releases by working with both developers and IT employees. 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.
Recommended skills. DevOps engineers typically have the following:
- knowledge of coding and scripting with programming languages, such as Python, Java and Ruby;
- familiarity with DevOps tools, such as integration servers, testing tools, containers, monitoring and analytics programs, and network protocols;
- strong automation skills with both manual and program testing;
- analytics skills to determine security needs, diagnose technical problems and develop software updates to fix issues;
- understanding of creating and modifying software codes by using tools such as Git, GitLab and GitHub; and
- working knowledge of databases and SQL.
Learn more about the skills required and responsibilities of DevOps engineers.
Paths to this career. DevOps engineer roles typically require a bachelor's degree in computer science or engineering. Companies prefer work experience in software engineering and application development.
Demand. DevOps engineers are in the top 20 in-demand IT jobs, according to Indeed. The DevOps market is also projected to grow from its value of $6.78 billion in 2020 to $57.90 billion by 2030, according to Allied Market Research.