Technology persistently evolves at a swift pace and with each year comes the advanced, most in-demand IT skills. While change and evolution have always been the only constant for humanity, the onset of the global pandemic made it even more dynamic and unpredictable. This drastic shift pushed several industries to turn digital to stay afloat while providing a plethora of opportunities for the tech world.
With the accelerated digital transformation, technology has infiltrated every single walk of life. As a result of this rapid surge in technology adoption, several skills came into the center stage as critical positions were required to be filled by almost every organization and enterprise. Let’s try to put together some of the IT skills to look for in 2021 for aspiring tech companies and employees.
The changing trends
As the trend remains the same in terms of focus on practical applications of AI/ML, there has been a growing emphasis on Cloud Native Development. About 5 years ago, cloud migration was apparently the overall strategic roadmap for many customers and during the last three years, we have seen the customer demand to utilize the possibilities of cloud widening, which eventually lead to the boom of Cloud-Native Development.
With the world turning digital, we have also seen an increased demand in Blockchain Technology, especially from the Banking & financial sector. There were many requirements for Hyperion’s blockchain earlier, but concrete use cases are coming into the picture of late.
Front-end technology skills are also in high demand since businesses are looking for advanced and user centric UX/UI. People are looking forward to moving out of their legacy technologies to the newest trending REACT or Angular-based front-end technologies. We also have end-customers looking for full-stack developers apart from the usual front-end and back-end developers.
Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) still holds a vital space while talking about high in-demand skill sets. As you build innovative applications for different use cases, AI/ML becomes an integral part of that journey. Whether we are building a document management system or any other system for that matter, there is a demand for specialists in AI/ML to enhance the user experience by providing better recommendations. Particularly for fields like RPA, advanced Intelligent Process Automation is imperative. Furthermore, industries have also started thinking about creative, advanced, and pragmatic usage of AI/ML rather than just pure technology.
Customer requirements for technology services firm should always be in alignment with industry trends as far as IT skills are concerned including AI/ML, Blockchain, Cloud, IoT, Front-end Technology, and Intelligent Process Automation. It’s a global phenomenon that the industry is short of these digital skills. We must select and train people on these skills – this includes cross-training the current talent pool as well as fresh joiners. For a technology services firm, it is only a question of filling up some small skill gaps and upgrading to newer versions of these technologies since such firms don’t deal with too much legacy technology.
We have also seen an increase in omnichannel experience particularly concerning the B2C sector. Many of the customers have a lot of legacy within their landscape and look to IT service partners to provide them with a roadmap on how to move out of their legacy or how to advance with their legacy and build in some of these capabilities from a digital standpoint. The pandemic forced businesses with brick-and-mortar setup to move online and many of them are investing extensively in digital transformation leading to a peak in the IT industry.
Along with hardcore IT skills, we must also look for soft skills, such as logical and analytical skills, and their drive to learn. Technology keeps evolving and hence the need to understand these changing concepts. The ability to think differently and program for these scenarios are some sets of skills we look for.
The competitiveness of IT companies lies in uniformly skilling their people, not just in technical skills but also in decision making and communication skills. This is quite challenging at times, given how our education system has shaped our student community. Most Indian employees shy away from conversations. Employers must take it upon themselves to inculcate the habit of questioning the requirements or solutions, suggest better ways of using technology or processes, and highlighting it to the customer. However, these days, the modus operandi has changed significantly. Processes are defined such that there are retrospective meetings at the end of an agile sprint where the team discusses what could have been done better. This makes it important for team members to adapt quickly and contribute more, even to the extent of grooming user stories and making estimations. Here, we give people the responsibility of thinking on their feet along with the freedom to execute. This change in mindset has set in but it will take time for us to be on par with the West.
By Aju Mathew, Vice President, Development Services, Aspire Systems