Top 10 In-Demand Tech Skills You Should Master in 2021


Companies are finding that they have more IT openings than there are professionals with the necessary skills to fill them. But despite the number of job openings, competition for high-paying jobs is fierce. You need to possess at least some of the most sought-after tech skills to stand out from the rest and grab top-paying tech roles in 2021.

Here are the top 10 in-demand tech skills you should consider working towards today: 

(The tech skills are listed in alphabetical order) 

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)

Pegged as the fastest-growing technology, the World Economic Forum Opens a new window says artificial intelligence (AI) will create 133 million new jobs by 2025. At its core, AI refers to programs that can perform tasks such as image and speech recognition, image classification and facial recognition. Because AI can perform these tasks faster and more accurately than humans, AI skills are becoming highly sought-after skills.  

Machine learning (ML) is an application of AI that mines data to deliver insights and execute rule-based tasks efficiently. ML applications are applied for data analytics, data mining, and pattern recognition. 

Skills: ML pros can specialize by acquiring skills in neural networks, natural language processing (NLP), robotics and deep learning.  Skills such as TensorFlow, Python, Java, R, and NLP are in the highest demand and in fact learning to build chatbots is another in-demand skill that comes under ML. Machine Learning jobs include ML engineers, developers, researchers, and robotics and computer vision engineers.  

2. Cybersecurity

In the wake of pandemic recovery, organizations have made cybersecurity a top business priority. Almost every digital business faces cybersecurity threats, making cybersecurity one of the top technology trends in 2020 and beyond. Job roles for cybersecurity professionals range from the ethical hacker to security engineer to Chief Security Officer. 

According to a 2018 global IT skills and salary study conducted by Global KnowledgeOpens a new window , IT professionals with security certifications tend to have significantly higher average salaries — around 15% more — than those without them.  Hence, those wanting to advance in their careers by specializing in security will find that certification is an effective way to validate pertinent skills and show a current or prospective employer that they’re qualified and properly trained. To learn more, go to  

Skills: Cybersecurity, Information Security, Network Security, and Vulnerability Assessment are the best skills to learn to obtain a job as a Cybersecurity Specialist. Other skills include knowledge of programming language basics, network fundamentals, systems administration, how to mitigate vulnerabilities, how to perform digital forensic analysis, and risk assessment.

Learn More: Top 10 In-Demand Cybersecurity Jobs in the Age of Coronavirus 

3. Cloud Computing

Safe to say, the pandemic showed IT leaders how to make cloud work for their businesses. One of the strongest tech careers to be in 2020, the coronavirus crisis boosted growth in cloud computing. The cloud explosion will open up job opportunities for cloud computing engineers who can design, plan, manage, maintain and support cloud computing. GartnerOpens a new window predicts by 2022, the public cloud market will be a $331.2 billion market opportunity dominated by market leader Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.  

Skills: The most in-demand cloud computing skills include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, GCP, Java, Linux, software development, DevOps, Docker, Kubernetes, and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). (Note that AWS-certified IT professionals typically earn more than their non-certified counterparts.) 

4. Data Analytics and Data Science

Data science was pegged as the fastest-growing job in 2017 by LinkedIn and widely referred to as the sexiest job of the 21st century.  It is still ruling the roost in the pandemic era. With more and more businesses relying on data to drive decision-making, data-driven skills are highly valued and that’s why demand for Data Analysts, BI Analysts, Data Architects, Database Administrators, Business Analysts, Chief Data Officers, and similar roles continues to rise.  A 2018 Future of JobsOpens a new window report crowned Data Scientists and Data Analysts as the top emerging in-demand role by 2022. 

Skills required for these positions include fundamentals of data analysis and knowledge of how data is collected, stored, organized, analyzed and interpreted, and how to specifically apply these skills to different domains including finance, sales, marketing, operational management and human resource management.

Data science obtains insights and information out of data, using a combination of various tools, algorithms, and machine learning principles. Data scientists are much needed in key industries like finance, banking, and healthcare. 

Skills: Some of the data science skills sought after by employers include programming skills, statistics, data wrangling, data intuition and software engineering, and machine learning, including supervised learning using tree-based models and neural networks, as well as unsupervised learning using k-means clustering technique and hierarchical clustering. Specific programming skills for data scientists include Python, R, Java, Julia, Go and Scala. A data scientist who is also skilled in data visualization is highly sought-after. 

5. Software Development (web, mobile)

Developers are responsible for designing, installing, testing and maintaining appropriate systems for web, mobile and software. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, software developer jobs are expected to increase by 21% by 2028 and application developer jobs by 28%. The reason for this growth is the increasing demand for computer software and mobile phone apps.

Skills: Those looking to specialize in mobile development should gain Android and iOS mobile developer skills. Those looking to specialize in web development should acquire Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Manager skills along with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) skills.  

6. Internet of Things and Edge Computing

As the quantity of data continues to increase, cloud computing shortcomings in terms of latency have become apparent. Edge computing bypasses the latency caused by cloud computing by processing data closer to where it needs to happen. For this reason, edge computing can be used to process time-sensitive data in remote locations with limited or no connectivity to a centralized location. 

Edge computing will increase as the use of the Internet of Things (IoT) devices increases. By 2022, the global edge computing market is expected to reach $6.72 billionOpens a new window . As with any growing market, this will create various jobs, primarily for software engineers, with an understanding of the technologies and conditions necessary for successful integration of the Internet of Things (IoT) in a business context.

Skills: IoT specialists design IoT solutions and networks, identify components required, understand how data management fits in, and analyze security risks. Skills needed by professionals versed in IOT include IoT security, cloud computing knowledge, data analytics, automation, understanding of embedded systems, and device knowledge. 

7. Information Systems Management

According to the Bureau of Labor StatisticsOpens a new window , the demand for Information Systems Managers  is expected to grow  10% from 2019 to 2029. Information Systems Managers are responsible for developing an information systems strategy that aligns with broader business objectives and supports business functions.

Skills: In addition to an IT-related Bachelor’s Degree, Information Systems Managers require technical expertise in and knowledge of computer-related technologies. Some employers prefer to hire IT Managers with proven business management skills, and would prefer a graduate degree such as a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) . Courses in computer programming, software development and mathematics are required. One option is a Management Information Systems (MIS) degree which includes business-related classes as well as the necessary computer-based courses.

Learn More: 10 High-Paying Remote Tech Jobs & 16 Job Sites to Find Them 

8. Project Management

“At a time when uncertainty is rampant, you need project management skills that help teams focus on providing the right value for their employers,” said Sean BralyOpens a new window , senior agile project manager and scrum master at Global Knowledge. “Pursuing excellence in project management by continued education and improvement allows you to deliver that value consistently and with high quality.” 

A Project Management Institute-commissioned report Opens a new window reckons by 2027, organizations will need 88 million professionals for project management roles. 

According to Braly, change management and communication are two of the most valuable project management skills. A project manager must respond to change, set expectations, resolve conflicts and communicate to multiple audiences.

Skills: To qualify for a project management position, it is helpful to hold the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. Furthermore, pairing the PMP credential with other popular certifications can significantly advance a career in project management.

Learn More: 8 Security Certifications for the Biggest Pay Raises in 2021  

9. Programming

A strong foundation in in-demand programming language skills can open up a wide range of career opportunities. Currently, most in-demand coding languages across the globe are Go, JavaScript, Java, and Python. JavaScript is also the most commonly used programming language while. React and Angular are in-demand front-end tech skills. Meanwhile, Django and Spring are used for back-end framework skills. Some of the newer languages with low developer familiarity such as Scala, Typescript and Kotlin are also some top in-demand skills. 

As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor StatisticsOpens a new window , the job outlook for software developers is expected to grow 22% from 2019 to 2029. 

Skills & Certification: There are several resources to spruce up coding skills, including documentation, blogs and online coding platforms like HackerRank, Topcoder and CodeChef. As per Stack Overflow 2020 developer surveyOpens a new window , Scala, Go and Objective C are the top-paying programming languages. 

10. Virtualization

According to a essidsolutions’ The State of Virtualization Technology report, virtualization adoption is expected to experience double-digit growth in the next two years. Server virtualization is already used by 92% of businesses, but areas like storage virtualization and application virtualization are experiencing higher adoption rates. essidsolutions predicts application virtualization rates will grow from 39% currently to 56% by 2021.

Skills: To qualify for positions in computer virtualization, it is best to obtain the VMware Certified Professional 6 – Data Center Virtualization certification and/or the Citrix Certified Professional – Virtualization certification. 

Begin Now to Prepare for Your Future IT Career

The World Economic Forum has identified education as the number one way to prepare for the next two decades of work. Continuously pursuing new skill sets that can expand your knowledge and capabilities is the way to set yourself apart from other tech professionals and receive the more attractive offers. Begin now to plan to acquire or upgrade to the in-demand tech skills that match your career goals, and by this time next year you could be in your next high paying position.

 Do you think organizations should play a proactive role in reskilling and upskilling workers? Comment below or let us know on LinkedInOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , or FacebookOpens a new window . We’d love to hear from you!