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Five Ways to Future-proof Your Tech Career

Few industries move as fast as tech. Carving out a long, fulfilling career can be challenging when it’s hard to know which emerging or current technologies will help advance your chances.

Finding the right balance between tech skills that are in demand and ones that will stay in demand takes a bit of thinking. To get you started, we’ve done a little bit of that for you….

Cloud: Every cloud has a silver lining and Ireland’s reputation for cold, gloomy weather has been spun into a data centre boom.  All the major global providers have a healthy presence here, including Amazon, Apple, DataPlex, Google, Microsoft and TeleCity.

With more than 90 per cent of US companies using some form of cloud computing, Cloud has moved beyond growing trend and is consolidating into tech fact-of-life status. This is fuelling growth in demand for a broad spectrum of tech skills – from cloud security to big data analysts, capacity managers, software developers (SQL, Java, Linux), DevOps and Quality Assurance among the in-demand skills for Cloud. Regardless of your current tech skill set, time spent working in a cloud/data centre environment could form the foundation of a long career.

Security: ISACA’s 2015 Global Cybersecurity Status Report says 92 per cent of its members are planning to hire more cybersecurity professionals this year. Eighty-six per cent believe there’s a global cybersecurity skills-gap – in 2014, Cisco estimated a shortage of over a million IT Security professionals worldwide. There’s a lot of work out there.

From data privacy and regulatory compliance to cloud security, penetration testing and ethical hacking, application and network security engineers, CISOs and risk managers, the career opportunities are as plentiful as they’re varied.

Analytics/Big Data: Massive data volumes are rapidly becoming the fuel for the next-generation of business applications. Early-adopter businesses are already hiring analytics managers, data architects and data integration engineers to build and plan the infrastructures they’ll need to support future requirements.

In addition to current high-demand tech jobs such as Hadoop developer, big data engineer and enterprise data architect, the future holds great potential for tech workers with their sights on leadership roles – business-savvy IT workers who can help companies make sense of the data, develop strategy around it and use it to drive business growth.

Software Development: Somebody has to build all the good things the future promises. We’ve written about the popularity and longevity of various programming languages here before. And while the likes of the TIOBE Index can keep you up to speed on what’s hot/not the seeming indestructability of COBOL should tell you that constantly honing your expertise on languages that are widely used in business is a good move.

Taking a lead from the Big Data and Cloud trends above, SQL, Java, Perl and Ruby expertise will do no harm to your prospects, but you might want to take a look at the rapidly expanding R to really future proof yourself. The much-hyped Internet of Things will soon be feeding the Big Data beast, making API developers a valuable asset to businesses  – especially if they can also bring data architecture knowledge to the table. The fact that many API developers are already earning a good living working with existing technologies like mobile makes it worthwhile keeping up to speed with future trends.

The all rounder: “Jack of all trades, master of none” is the old adage, but technology companies are increasingly looking for experienced IT professionals with strong business skills and familiarity with a broad spectrum of languages and platforms. As businesses look to make the most of new developments in technology, there will always be a senior role available to ambitious tech professionals who understand the company’s operational and business needs.

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