The past year was a bit of a wild ride when it came to technology. No one will ever forget the exploding phone debacle, the emergence of the Mirai botnet, or the lack of a headphone jack in the iPhone 7. Then there was Apple vs. the FBI, and the time fake news took over Facebook…
Thankfully, in the midst of this technological madness, there was one thing we could count on: a solid arsenal of tech skills that made employees more marketable, more in demand, and more highly compensated—no matter the circumstances.
THE 6 MOST IN-DEMAND TECH SKILLS OF 2016
User interface design
Ever refused to click on a mysteriously abstract icon? Or spent precious time filling out a long webform, only to receive an error message that doesn’t actually tell you what you did wrong? Or wondered why that high-tech website speaks to you like you’ve never seen a computer before?
You were a victim of poor user interface design — so you know just how frustrating it is when technology makes you work harder than you should.
Technology became increasingly more complex and data-driven over the past year, and along with that came the desire for more dynamic, personalized, and intuitive user experiences. That’s why employers were on the hunt for user interface designers, whose job is to humanize technology and make it easy and enjoyable for people to interact with brands and their products.
Oh, that ever-ominous cloud. There was no escaping the cloud in 2016. Private clouds, public clouds, hybrid-clouds, multi-clouds—clouds became the new normal for tech companies looking to cut costs, increase collaboration, boost flexibility, avoid data-loss disasters, and test-drive the wealth of new cloud features that had just sprouted.
The setup, deployment, and management of these cloud environments spawned an endless array of cloud-related jobs, from cloud software engineers and cloud security specialists to cloud app developers and cloud product managers. If you were a full-stack cloud expert, or could tack on a cloud specialization to an existing tech skill, chances are you could find a job.
From sophisticated tactics to high-profile data breaches, there was a definite upswing in the calibre of cyber attacks in 2016. So, to keep their infrastructure and data safe from both outside intruders and internal threats, organizations of all sizes brought their cyber security in-house.
They weren’t hiring only dedicated security experts, either. Security is strongest when it’s built from the ground up, so everyone with this skillset, whether they were web developers or customer service professionals, had the competitive edge.
According to IBM, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day.
In fact, 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone.
That’s a lot of data. So much, actually, that traditional analyzing methods just can’t keep up. This past year, larger businesses were in hot pursuit of employees who could tackle the challenges associated with collecting, storing, and leveraging this Big Data to gain powerful insights into customer behaviours and patterns.
Ruby on Rails
Rails, as it’s affectionately called, was one of the most in-demand programming languages of 2016. More and more companies began to adopt this web application framework due to its quick launch times, developmental freedom, versatility, ease of use, and low cost (Rails is open source, which makes it free!). It’s also ideal for agile software development, which was the go-to methodology for startups and tech companies over the past year.
And with Rails’ fantastic community, programmer-friendly language, and killer salaries (PayScale reports the average salary for a Ruby developer in Canada is about $77,000), it was win-win for everyone.
With Canada’s tech industry on the upswing yet again (thanks in part to 2016’s tech-friendly federal budget), it’s no wonder that project management was a highly sought-after skill. More money meant more projects, and that meant more people were needed to pull together teams, technologies, and solutions.
Project management isn’t a new skill, but in 2016, employers were looking for a particular breed of project manager: one who thrives in a DevOps environment, and one with quick execution skills and the ability to learn and adapt to new technologies. It’s the next generation of project management, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
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