It’s an exciting time to be looking for work in the technology industry. Post-pandemic shifts in the workforce have meant that skilled technicians are more in-demand (and more highly paid!) than ever. So if you have tech skills, you’ve got some serious leverage.

The challenge for YOU is deciding what sort of role you want. With tech work available across every industry, your employment options are wide, wide open. Knowing what tech skills employers are particularly on the lookout for may help you decide on a course of action.

So if you’re starting out your tech career, wanting to flesh out your CV, or aiming for a promotion, here are some of the areas we suggest upskilling in.

1. Artificial intelligence

LinkedIn listed AI Specialist as the #1 emerging job in the US in 2020, and the growing demand for AI skills backs this up. Hiring trends at startups, as well as tech giants like Amazon, Google and Microsoft see more and more AI talent being poached, with the average salary sitting at $126,000 according to Payscale.

So what specific skills do you need to succeed in AI?

Hiring managers from top tech companies report looking for:

  • At least a bachelor’s or master’s degree in computer science, data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence or a related field.
  • Programming experience with Python, C++, Java or similar languages.
  • Experience with SQL.

Hot tip: Entering hackathons and competitions will help you stand out from other candidates. (And we’ve always got something happening! Check out the Girls in Tech Events page for more details.)

2. Machine learning

While ML falls into the field of AI, specialist ML skills are becoming increasingly in demand – and it’s an area in dire need of more women and diverse people. Companies are hiring anywhere from basic entry-level positions to more advanced roles, with an average salary of $109,000 according to Payscale. In terms of specific skills, ML specialists benefit from having:

  • Fluency in Java, C++, Python, or similar development languages.
  • Anything from a master’s degree to a Ph.D., depending on the role. 
  • Knowledge of data tools like H20 and TensorFlow.

Hot tip: Look out for scholarships and opportunities to upskill for free. For example, AWS is currently sponsoring 425 top students to complete the entire AWS Machine Learning Engineer Nanodegree program. Register for the AWS Machine Learning Foundations Course to learn the basics and be eligible for the scholarship.

3. User experience (UX)

Every company benefits from the skills of UX professionals. UX uses analysis and testing to help a business seamlessly meet its users’ needs, with specialist roles available in design, research, writing and more. UX Design was listed by LinkedIn as one of the top 10 hard skills most needed in 2020, and Payscale lists the average salary as just over $76,000. If you’re wondering what role UX Design plays in technology, just take a look at how some of our past hackathon participants have used it to build beautiful apps and platforms. There are some great examples from our 2022 Virtual Hackathon. Specific skills that can help a UX Designer get ahead include:

  • Experience in Adobe Suite, HTML, CAD and CSS.
  • Design Thinking and research methodologies.

Hot tip: Our inaugural Girls in Tech Academy course Asking Better Questions in Design Thinking is a great way to learn the basics of UX research and add to your skillset.

4. Cloud computing

Whether your team works remotely, collaborates across time zones, or produces large amounts of digital data, your organization no doubt relies on the cloud. Cloud engineers are vital in companies that rely on cloud infrastructure, and with cloud computing skills you could earn an average salary of $129,000.

It’s worth noting the three types of cloud services:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS) is an on-demand hosted service that provides access to business applications. 
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) is web-based services and deployment of applications on the cloud. 
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) includes cloud solutions that offer storage. 

And according to BizTech College, these are the skills you need to get ahead in cloud computing:

  • Technical Skills: Knowledge of HTML and computing fundamentals.
  • Business Concepts: Cloud engineers should be aware of terms like ‘ROI’, ‘marketing strategy’, and ‘business plan’. 
  • Data Analysis: How to handle immense data and optimally use ERP systems. 
  • Data Security: Cloud computing also focuses on the security of data, thus employers prefer applicants who have a working knowledge of network security. 
  • Project Management: Knowledge of risk management, service agreements, and integration with other processes.

Hot tip: If you already have knowledge of coding, IT or technology, then a transition to cloud computing is much easier. Check out this guide on How To Learn Cloud Computing.

5. Cybersecurity analytics

The U.S jobs market reflects a global supply and demand problem around recruiting candidates with cybersecurity certification. The need for cybersecurity professionals is skyrocketing, with an employment growth rate of 31%, compared with the average 4% growth rate of other industries.

Payscale estimates that over 80% of cybersecurity analysts are male – making this a profession in need of more female input. And with the Metaverse posing a big change to how we live our lives, cybersecurity skills are more in demand, and more highly paid, than ever before. (The average salary stands at over $117,000.)

Skills you need in cybersecurity include:

  • Risk assessment and management
  • Authentication
  • Linux
  • Information systems
  • Digital forensics
  • Coding languages

Hot tip: You can transition into cybersecurity from IT or other technical backgrounds, or you can gain qualifications without prior experience. How to Get into Cybersecurity, No Matter Your Experience Level is a great resource to read on career pathways in cybersecurity.

6. Data science and analytics

59% of companies around the world are using big data analytics, making data scientists and data analysts hot property. 

Data analysis is the more entry-level of the two, while data science requires more advanced skills and experience (attracting an average salary of $101,000). But in general, Columbia Engineering notes that both require knowledge of:

  1. Data Visualization
  2. Data Cleaning
  4. Python
  5. SQL and NoSQL
  6. Machine Learning
  7. Linear Algebra and Calculus
  8. Microsoft Excel
  9. Critical Thinking
  10. Communication

Hot tip: If you’re starting out, you can obtain a bachelor’s degree in data science to give you a kickstart. But there are also plenty of online courses you can do to learn the basics. Again, entering competitions and hackathons to build a portfolio of work is a great way to get ahead in the jobs market.

7. Software development

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a growth rate of 24% between 2020 and 2030 in software development. But the number of graduates coming through doesn’t meet the number of job openings. That means we’re facing a skilled talent shortage in this area of tech as well.

Software developers design the computer applications and programs upon which much of our society runs, and earn an annual salary of $110,000 on average. 

So what skills do you need to land a job in software development? The UK’s Target Jobs lists these:

  • Mathematical aptitude
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Programming languages 
  • Accuracy and attention to detail
  • Self-development skills to keep up to date with fast-changing trends.

Hot tip: The Girls in Tech Digital Career Fair is specifically calling for software developers to be involved this year. Register to attend to meet one-on-one with top tech companies seeking your skills.

So, have you found an area you’d like to upskill in? 

Remember, Girls in Tech is always releasing new programs that empower women to progress in their careers and thrive in the tech industry. If you’re ready to land your next role, check out the Girls in Tech Jobs Board today. Happy job-hunting!