New tech jobs point to new directions for IT

Positions that are just starting to pop up in job postings reflect the evolution of mobility, security and analytics over the past few years. The flipside of newer tech jobs surging in demand, of course, is that older ones inevitably start to fall by the wayside.

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Apple, originator of so many technology trends, is also the birthplace of the zany tech job title.

Guy Kawasaki started working at Apple in 1983, only seven years after it was founded. One of his first job titles was ‘software evangelist’; he was later promoted to the position of ‘chief evangelist.’ Those titles provide some pretty deep insight into the mindset of Steve Jobs. He wasn’t just trying to sell people Apple products; he was out to create Apple converts.

You can learn a lot from the job titles posted on IT recruiting sites, too: how businesses are using technology and the skills they’re seeking to get the most value out of it. Every year, new IT job titles pop up and surge in popularity, indicating some of the biggest emerging trends in technology. With that in mind, here’s a look at the hottest new IT jobs:

Top new tech jobs today

According to, five of the top 10 jobs in the U.S. for 2017 are tech related. Here’s how the site ranks them based on demand, salary and growth opportunity:

• full stack developer
• data scientist
• DevOps engineer
• Salesforce developer
• cloud engineer

Believe it or not, not a single one of those tech jobs made a similar list just five years ago. In 2012 (can that really be five years ago already?), Robert Half ranked the top seven tech jobs in the U.S. this way:

• mobile app developer
• data warehouse analyst
• user experience (UX) designer
• data security analyst
• search engine specialist
• network engineer
• Web developer

A glance at the two lists shows how drastically enterprise IT priorities have shifted in five short years. In 2012, organizations were busy going mobile, moving from the desktop world to smartphones and tablets; laying early groundwork for analytics; and leaving clunky keyboards behind to explore UX involving touch, voice command and gestures.

A couple of the ‘hot’ IT jobs from 2012 seem quaintly out of date now. For example, search engine specialists were in high demand back then, as companies realized they couldn’t just exist online but had to become visible and searchable. Just five years later, however, much of SEO has been automated and requires far less human talent to deploy.

What do the hot new tech jobs of 2017 tell us about where enterprise IT is headed today?

Full Stack Developer: Organizations are looking to consolidate their development processes by hiring talent who can work with the front-end, the backend and almost every aspect in between, especially as they move to DevOps.

Data Scientist: It’s all about data, from knowing your customers to predicting their next move and tracking your inventory through the entire product lifecycle.

DevOps Engineer: Development gets automated and becomes continuous.

Salesforce Developer: Enterprise integrates many key business processes into low-cost, user-friendly, social CRM platforms.

Cloud Engineer: Early fears about cloud complexity and security have been trumped by the cost savings, storage capacity and scalability of Everything-as-a-Service.

Positions that are just starting to pop up in job postings reflect the evolution of mobility, security and analytics over the past few years. One of those new jobs, CIoTO (chief Internet of Things Officer), reflects the shift from simple mobile apps toward constant mobile connectivity and data-based intelligence.

It’s hard to fathom that security didn’t even make the list of top 10 IT jobs in 2012. Now, newer (and more specific) positions like infosec administrator, infosec manager and systems/application security analyst indicate how complex and challenging cybersecurity has become. Global IT staffing firm Modis predicts the number of cybersecurity jobs will grow 18 per cent by 2024, outpacing average job growth of 6.5 per cent across non-tech industries.

Analytics skills have also become prevalent in job postings. “The hottest technology trends of 2017 revolve around development and data analysis,” according to Randstad Canada’s report on the 2017 IT job market.

This is mirrored in Packt Publishing’s 2017 survey of 4,700 developers in 43 countries. The skills that commanded the highest salary in this year’s survey are all related to big data, with the top three being Splunk, Hadoop and Kafka.

On the wane

The flipside of newer tech jobs surging in demand, of course, is that older ones inevitably start to fall by the wayside. A 2013 Oxford University study goes even further, predicting which jobs in various industry sectors are most likely to be completely replaced by machine learning and mobile robotics.

Although the researchers assessed 702 positions in sectors ranging from farming to pharmaceuticals, here are the estimated probability rates of certain IT jobs becoming extinct due to advances in AI:

• computer support specialists: 65 per cent
• computer programmers: 48 per cent
• computer hardware engineers: 22 per cent
• computer occupations, all other: 22 per cent
• systems software developers: 13 per cent

There are a few worrisome things about this study. One, what the heck does “computer occupations, all other” mean exactly? Two, are they saying “all other” computer jobs are 22 per cent likely to disappear? Three, nuclear technicians and nuclear power reactor operators are way more likely (at 85 and 95 per cent respectively) to be replaced by AI and robots than IT workers.

Guy Kawasaki, the technology industry’s very first evangelist, may be interested to know that clergy people — the kind who pray for souls instead of software sales, and lead worship at places other than the temple of iOS — have less than a one per cent likelihood of being replaced by machines.

Image: Free Digital Photos

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