After a long and challenging 2020, the new year is well underway, bringing with it a host of changes to the IT job market. According to the World Economic Forum, we are on the brink of a massive skills shift in the IT labor force. To remain competitive, at least 50 percent of all workers are expected to upgrade their skill sets with new abilities by 2025.

With that in mind, read on for five hot IT skills in 2021 and the years ahead:

  • Cloud Computing: When the pandemic hit and companies were forced to quickly facilitate remote working, those with a strong cloud deployment could better support this shift and other COVID-related business changes. As a result, the technology has cemented itself as an essential area of enterprise investment. From a skills perspective, cloud expertise in and of itself is nothing new. However, in the coming months, it will be increasingly important for companies to create a cloud strategy, develop cloud-native applications, manage multi-cloud environments, and create more secure and resilient cloud infrastructure. As such, expect to see an increasing demand for these and other strategic cloud-based skills.
  • Artificial Intelligence: It should come as no surprise that AI continues to be a highly sought-after skill. Government, finance, insurance, and healthcare are just a few of the many industries clamoring for new AI talent to help them capitalize on the technology’s potential. It will also become increasingly important that companies find a way to address the ethical concerns inherent in AI. You can explore these concerns further in this previous APEX of Innovation blog.
  • Analytics: As the AI industry matures, it follows that the demand for analytics and data science skills will also increase. Edge computing is another driver, as companies need skilled analysts to help them actualize intelligence gleaned from the edge. These increasingly complex data ecosystems also mean that analytics skills will be critical in virtually every department, not just IT.
  • UX Design: Expect to see user experience (UX) design heat up throughout 2021 and beyond. Because the field requires an understanding of both technological factors and human psychology, it can be relatively difficult for companies to identify and hire for this skill. In light of this, we’ll likely see some additional training programs crop up to help workers bridge the gap and acquire the knowledge necessary to meet user experience demands.
  • Blockchain: Blockchain has been a technology trend for some years now. However, it seems that this interest is finally translating into a demand for skilled labor. Career site Indeed places the technology twelfth on its list of most in-demand skills, and salaries associated with blockchain expertise have increased significantly in the last six months alone.

For more on the above and other highly-sought-after skills in the current job market, check out this recent piece in InformationWeek.