Information Technology is a vast and broad field that offers various options for a professional or an individual to kickstart their career. In this post, we will cover some of the popular IT skills and their current trends in the market. This post should help you start your journey and find a high paying job in the IT industry even if you lack any prior experience. 

Let’s get started.

Machine Learning

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are probably the most innovative, cutting-edge and exciting IT fields that hold a great future. If you've mastered them both, you can call yourself a Jedi Knight of the IT industry. This is because the number of data scientists out there is feeble compared to the actual demand in the market. 

Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant and other chatbots available in the market are built on top of ML algorithms. Apart from that, predictive analysis, self-driving cars, and the news feed on your favorite social networking application are all using machine learning to make human-like decisions. This is the technology of the future and has a number of different uses that will be unveiled in the next few years.

One of the leading technology solutions providers in India expects up to a 60% increase in demand for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning specialists by the end of 2018.

A discussion on Machine Learning will be incomplete without touching briefly on Google’s Tensorflow. TensorFlow is an open source software library primarily used for data flow programming across a wide range of tasks. Developed by Google, it is a symbolic math library used for Machine Learning applications like neural networks.

TensorFlow provides an official Python and C API. It also provides experimental APIs for C++, Go and Java.

Some quick facts about Machine Learning:

  • The average salary of a Machine Learning engineer is, on an average, in excess of $135K annually

  • 2016 saw about 550 Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning start-ups receiving about $5 billion in funding

  • The popular media streaming platform, Netflix, uses Machine Learning to suggest recommendations to its subscribers

  • A quick search on LinkedIn revealed 2000 open positions listed for data scientists. This translates to roughly, a 10x increase from 5 years ago

Cloud Development

Jobs related to the Cloud Computing field are seeing an uptick in demand as an increasing number of organizations are making the switch from an on-premise server infrastructure to cloud solutions. The dominant cloud service platforms in the market today are Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.

These cloud computing platforms offer content delivery, database storage, data archiving and tiering, data analytics, real-time hosting etc. The total number of services provided are often in excess of 50.

Average cloud computing specialists are engineers, cloud architects, and system administrators. IT professionals who are certified in one of the platforms mentioned above often tend to earn a higher salary than their non-certified colleagues. The average salary in this field is approximately $114,000 annually. It is regarded as being among the top 5 best-paying certifications in the US and Canada.

JavaScript Development

JavaScript, or JS, is among the fundamental pillars for development in the modern web. JavaScript enables developers to not only define how users interact with their applications on the client-side but also to define the server code.

JavaScript has fast evolved to become one of the major contributors to developing a web application. While HTML is used to determine the content and CSS is used to decide the final look of the said content, JavaScript is used to enable user interactivity.

According to a Developer Survey conducted in 2018 by Stack Overflow, Full Stack Web Development has emerged as the most popular developer occupation.  

While building a full-fledged web application, enterprises and startups need to make certain of architectural decisions. Some of them are listed below: 

  • Choose technologies that enable the rapid and efficient development

  • Allow repeated iteration, speed, robustness and minimal downtime

  • Success in the short term with minimal long-term maintenance required

Most developers find that Full Stack JavaScript checks all these boxes. Full-stack JavaScript allows the developer to write the entire codebase in a single language - JavaScript. There are lots of full-stack JavaScript strategies out there and the most popular among them is the MEAN stack. MEAN stack is a technology bundle that includes Express, Node.js, MongoDB, and AngularJS.

A JavaScript developer usually uses Angular, React, or Vue for the frontend and a technology like Node.js, Express.js or Meteor for the backend. For the database, MongoDB is the de-facto standard because it supports JSON by default.

Apart from MEAN, there are other popular stacks built on top of these frameworks. MERN, for instance, comprises of MongoDB, ExpressJS, React and Node.

Pros of Full-Stack JavaScript Development

  • Fewer resources because the entire codebase is dependent on just one language

  • An extensive amount of reusable code

  • High performance coupled with speed because the client-side is separated from the backend

  • The popularity of the language provides a large talent pool and knowledge base

  • A free and open source toolset

Cons of Full-Stack JavaScript Development

  • Insufficiency when used for a computation-heavy backend

  • Relatively young and recently developed technologies

  • Have to work around the drawbacks of every tool in the S\stack combined.

Mobile App Development

It is estimated that by the end of 2018, there will be an excess of 2.5 billion smartphone users in the world. For companies that want to stay in the game, they need to develop mobile applications in addition to their existing web apps.

An exciting direction that mobile apps are taking is in the field of Augmented Reality. Mobile apps such as Pokemon Go and the awaited Harry Potter: Wizards Unite game, engage with the real world through augmented reality.

Some key statistics about mobile app development as a career choice include:

  • The average salary of a mobile app developer is around $97K annually. The starting salary can go as high as $75K annually.

  • Among the in-demand skills ranked on LinkedIn, mobile app development came in at the 9th position.

  • The mobile development economy is predicted to reach $6.3 trillion by 2021.

  • With the innovations in fields like the Internet of Things, AR and VR, mobile app development is no longer restricted to smartphones.

SEO/SEM Marketing

Organizations and businesses today are in search of specialists who can improve their company’s web presence and visibility via their digital marketing skills. The most obvious reason for this is that an increase in the number of users potentially translates into increased conversations, customers as well as revenue.

For those who are data-minded, the SEO or SEM field can be a great fit. Reason being, this roles largely involves testing, measuring as well as experimenting with different approaches to check what solution drives the most results. It also involves constant changes based on analytics, metrics and key performance indicators.

Here are some quick facts about SEO and SEM jobs:

  • According to LinkedIn, it is ranked 8th as the most in-demand skills for 2018

  • The top 5 organic search results get more than 75% of clicks. Thus, it pays to have your company’s website optimized for search engine results

  • Over 80% of businesses surveyed said they were not satisfied with their current conversion rates

UI/UX Design

Although UI and UX can seem fairly similar, they are actually quite different. UI or User Interface focuses on the design of websites and apps so that they are visually appealing, have a good, well-thought outflow, and easy to navigate.

UX specialists, on the other hand, conduct a lot of research and testing to replicate almost every element of how a user can interact with the company and its website and coordinates these findings with the developers and the UI designers.

This career choice is ideal for a person who is both creative as well as analytical. UI is better suited for those who prefer to focus on visuals, general layout and look and feel of the page or product. UX is a better choice for those who prefer to use analytics and testing for a data-driven solution to help businesses meet the needs of their users.

Some quick facts about UIUX design as a potential career option include:

  • A survey conducted by Adobe found that 87% of managers in the study claimed that hiring more UX designers is the top priority for their respective organization(s).

  • The US alone has about 14,000 UX designer jobs, while Europe has around 24,000 such available positions.

  • The current demand for UI and UX designer jobs is mostly limited to mobile platforms. However, demand for innovative design, especially in VR, AR, AI and wearable tech is growing at a rapid pace. 

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