IT Professionals need to update skills as new technologies transform traditional roles

Posted: 17 Sep 2019

IT Professionals need to update skills as new technologies transform traditional roles

Artificial Intelligence, IoT, Blockchain, 5G and Natural Language Interfaces are among the advanced technologies opening up new opportunities for IT professionals.

With new technologies emerging faster than ever before, there is currently a healthy pipeline of opportunities for IT professionals; however, willingness to acquire new skills is critical for candidates seeking long term career success.

In a recent survey of thought leaders by US-headquartered research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, 60% to 70% of respondents cited Artificial Intelligence, IoT, Blockchain, 5G and Natural Language Interfaces as technologies that will have a transformative impact in the next 10 years and more than half (57%) noted that enhancing customer experience is the key driver for their organisation to adopt new technologies. The focus on CX is largely powered by AI which 40% named as the most game-changing technology in their industry.

Closer to home, the Irish Government’s Future Jobs Ireland 2019 report predicts that by 2025, workers and enterprises will be operating in a changed economy where certain job roles will disappear or be redefined, and emerging job roles will require new and different skill-sets.

Cutting edge technologies such as AI, Augmented and Virtual Reality, Data Analytics, IoT and Blockchain are key as companies develop solutions in areas such as AgriFoodTech, MarineTech, Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, Advanced Manufacturing, and Smart Cities.

In the AgriFood sector, for example, companies like MagGrow are already leading the way. Their innovative crop spraying technology reduces spray drift by up to 70% and increases coverage by up to 40%, allowing farmers to produce more food. The company’s markets include North America, Europe and South Africa, and will soon include South America and Asia. Another Irish company, Dairymaster, who recently formed an R&D partnership with the Institute of Technology Tralee and the Science Foundation Ireland research centre Lero, is using artificial intelligence and autonomous systems to improve efficiency on dairy farms.

Increasingly, as advanced technologies like AI and robotics make inroads into all types of businesses, there is a knock-on impact for IT workers. The OECD has commented on the dependence of these technologies on large data sets and says that to thrive in the digital era, workers will need to be equipped with a wide set of skills, encompassing cognitive as well as non-cognitive and social skills (notably ICT, STEM and self-organisation skills).

In March 2019, Forecasting the Future Demand for High-Level ICT Skills in Ireland, 2017-2022 highlighted that Big Data relies on relatively new technologies such as highly scalable relational and non-relational databases (e.g., Hadoop, NoSQL) and advanced visualisation tools, and data analysis and management tools. This will create demand for a new generation of data scientists to make sense of the vast amount of data being generated. Indeed, at Eolas Recruitment, we are already seeing good opportunities for data analysts and scientists who can produce insights and predictions using visualizations, bring data to life and deliver scalable solutions such as dashboards, self-service analysis and automated reporting. The same report cites studies which have found that European Big Data users struggle to find appropriate skills to consolidate all the data in one place. It points out that data lakes are often deployed using non-relational technologies such as Hadoop and NoSQL databases and include open source frameworks such as Spark, Hive and R. Database administrators, solution architects and data engineers will need to be upskilled or reskilled to handle these environments, the report states.

Security is another area where opportunities are emerging as increased adoption of IoT, cloud and mobility has made organisations more vulnerable to cyber threats. Employers are looking for candidates with analysis, forensics and reverse engineering skills to investigate, monitor and diagnose threats to their systems. Candidates need to be able to show that they keep up-to-date on the latest news within the industry and monitor potential risks that could affect their organisation or clients.

With the boundaries between ICT and business skills blurring, candidates also need to be aware of the shifting trends in cognitive and non-cognitive skills. In some instances, soft skills such as team work and problem solving can be almost as important as technical skills. A positive attitude, good communication skills, motivation for continuous development and an ability to learn from feedback are increasingly important.

As specialists in the IT sector, Eolas Recruitment can help you keep pace with evolving trends and find out about the most sought-after skills in your sector. Contact us for more information and details of current opportunities.

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