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5 in-demand tech skills for upskilling

By Ana Isabel Alonsagay

Technology has evolved at a rapid rate, with changes and developments only surging by the year. 

Australia has had an impressive run of over 27 years of uninterrupted economic growth – plenty of which has been spurred by significant opportunities in digital technology. By continuously harnessing these technological advances, the country may see a potential economic boost of $315 billion by the next half decade. 

That said, the tech sector currently holds multiple new industries with ever-widening talent gaps. Those looking to pursue the field or upgrade their skillsets can look to the following in-demand areas for growing career and upskilling opportunities. 

1. Cybersecurity.

Cybercrime currently costs Australian businesses an estimated $29 billion per year; with ransomware, viruses, and adware among the topmost common attack methods. The success of such crimes is mainly due to lacklustre protection methods and security protocols – with 87% of small-to-medium businesses considering themselves “safe” from hackers through anti-virus software alone.

Despite these looming threats and the rising need for expertise, Australia currently faces a severe shortage of job-ready cybersecurity professionals. AustCyber predicts a near 17,000 extra cybersecurity workers needed by 2026, offering plenty of employment and career opportunities for those looking to enter the field. 

And since demand is high, so is salary potential. Cybersecurity skills currently yield an average salary of $98,150 (according to Payscale statistics) – with opportunities for higher pay as experience increases. 

Aside from specialised career paths in security, cybersecurity skills are also valuable in one’s day-to-day digital activities. Upskilling in the field can thus offer any IT worker a more robust, employable skillset – applicable among all sectors.

Fortunately, education providers are working to meet this skills demand through further opportunities in cybersecurity training. Upskilled, for example, currently offers an ICT60215 - Advanced Diploma of Network Security to bolster one’s skills in designing, implementing, configuring, and maintaining a business’ network security systems.

2. Data Science.

data science concept

Data science refers to the practice of gathering, organising, and examining large sets of data to pinpoint certain patterns, correlations, or reap new insights from the raw information. To efficiently predict future trends, data scientists typically make use of statistical methods and machine learning algorithms. These analyses are then used to improve a business’ strategies and decision-making processes.

While data science is currently a field of “competitive strength” for Australia, the country currently faces a growing skills gap in the sector. Deloitte predicts a high of 338,800 data science workers within the 2021-2022 financial year (up from 300,900 between 2016-2017), with an annual growth rate of 2.4%. This is far higher than the 1.5% growth rate of the country’s entire labour force – creating strong demand (and offering salaries at nearly three times the all-jobs average) for those with the appropriate skills and knowledge. 

As with cybersecurity, however, upskilling in data science not only benefits those looking to specialise in the field – but any modern tech professional. The ability to disseminate large sets of data and yield new business insights is a valuable skill for any tech role and company.

Additionally, data science overlaps with skills in machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and in-demand programming languages such as Python, SQL, and Java – offering the opportunity to branch out into other, sought-after tech fields.  

3. AI/Machine Learning.

AI and machine learning are currently posed as a $23 trillion opportunity for Australia’s economy, with its ability to significantly boost productivity, innovation, and data analysis. 

As of now November, 2019, Australia held about 6,600 AI specialists, a bump up from the 650 AI workers in 2014. While this number is predicted to rise, our country is at a current severe shortage of talent – with 160,000 new workers required by the next 10 years. Specific sectors include robotics, computer vision, human language technologies, and data science. 

Tech professionals can thus expand their career opportunities by pursuing the skills required of AI and machine learning. Companies are increasingly seeking the right talents to capitalise on these technologies for higher-quality, more personalised, and efficient customer service and product development. Amidst the current impacts of COVID-19, those with AI and machine learning skills are also needed to further pandemic-related research and assist with supply-chain issues (due to limited human workers) in the corporate sector. 

To succeed in this area, tech workers are recommended to upskill in programming languages such as C++, Java, R, and Python; as well as skills in probability and statistics, data analytics, and distributed computing. 

4. Cloud Computing.

cloud computing concept

With its improvements to customer service, business productivity, collaboration and communication – it’s no wonder cloud computing has taken Australia’s IT sector by storm. By the end of 2020, the country’s spending on public cloud services is predicted to reach $8.1 billion – outpacing the increase in global spending between 2019-2020. 

Yet, with the massive demand for cloud services comes a striking lack of available skills. According to research from Hays, two of the most in-demand IT roles for 2020 are cloud engineers and cloud architects (with cloud product specialists further down the list). 

While the field is seeing a fortunate rise in professionals upskilling in the industry, companies are still on the hunt for those with suitable commercial experience. In particular - skills in Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) are highly sought-after. Tech professionals will continue to see a rising demand for such expertise beyond 2020 – as 75% of medium and large organisations are predicted to adopt hybrid cloud solutions by 2021. 

As with most new IT skills, upskilling in cloud computing can benefit a wide range of tech roles; as the ability to navigate such platforms can effectively improve one’s collaborative and communication abilities in the workplace. Being able to adopt and implement such services can also lead to better data security, saved costs on data storage equipment, and greater business productivity. 

Upskilled currently offers the ICT50718 - Diploma of Software Development, where professionals can learn to create and implement cloud computing services – as well as skills in software creation, management, and testing. 

5. Project Management. 

Finally, project management skills have soared in demand across IT roles in the financial sector – gaining its place as the second most in-demand skillset for the Australian tech field in 2020 (according to Hays statistics). 

To ensure successful adoption of these new technologies and practices, Australia is currently on the hunt for more project managers to assist with the process. Lacking technical skills or knowledge of new advancements are typical barriers to digital adoption – but the right experts can efficiently implement these new developments. 

According to recent studies by the Project Management Institute, the demand for project management skills is set to grow by 33% in 11 countries by 2027 – these including Australia. Within this period, 22 million new jobs are predicted to emerge across these countries – highlighting the potential growth for such opportunity in the IT field.  

Those interested in sharpening their project management skills can pursue plenty of training options online. Upskilled, in particular, currently offers the BSB51415 - Diploma of Project Management that explores all fundamental skills of the practice – including management of project quality, risk, cost, and worker performance. 

The skills acquired from this course are highly applicable to the tech field – as well as any other professional sector. 

Looking to upgrade your tech skills?

Keeping your IT skills relevant and up-to-date will not only expand your opportunities in the field, but also maintain your employability and competitive edge in a rapidly-paced, unpredictable industry. 

As mentioned, Upskilled currently offers a wide variety of IT courses to equip you with the latest expertise. Whether its training yourself in the basics of programming, upgrading your skills in software development, or building your knowledge of networking – their selection of qualifications can offer you the career boost you’re after.

Best of all, each course is delivered online – helping you tailor your training around personal needs and schedule.

Get the tech skills you need for the future, and enquire about a course today. 
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