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Tech Skills Development

Developing one’s tech skills is a necessity for those who want to participate in today’s digital society. Companies and organisations all around the world are heavily invested in technology to carry out daily tasks and business processes. This allows companies and organisations to remain competitive in markets that are often disrupted by innovative technologies. According to Smith (2020) disruptive technology alters existing habits and systems within organisations to the degree that changes the way organisations conduct business. Common technologies that have seen massive disruptions include e-commerce, cloud computing and automation just to mention a few. In order to pursue a role which focuses on working with such disruptive technologies, it is important to have the right technical skills and expertise. So what are some of the trending technology skills that are worth developing to remain employable and relevant in today’s ever changing digital workforce?

Software development

One of the most in demand technology skills is software development. A recent report by Gartner  (2021) revealed that one of the major factors that prevent organisations from adopting new technologies is the skills shortage. The report notes that 64% of businesses believe that the skills shortage is the biggest barrier preventing them from adopting and leveraging the benefits of implementing newer technologies. Companies and organisations that build their own in-house systems are more likely to require software developers to design, build and implement their technology stack. The European Tech Hiring Trends report (2021) highlights that software developers were ranked as one of the most in demand jobs of 2021, which accounted for roughly 250 000 of the 900 000 technology roles posted by employers. This begs the question; which programming languages should one consider learning to meet the demands of industry? Let’s address this in the section that follows.

Popular programming languages

Selecting a programming language can be a lengthy task for new developers entering the space, especially if one has no programming experience to begin with. It can be even more of a daunting task given the plethora of programming languages out there. However, once you have done the research and figured out which technology you would like to target for software development, the next step is to identify the appropriate programming languages that you might want to consider upskilling yourself in. Python is an extremely popular programming language and is used world-wide across many different technology stacks. According to the PYPL index (2021) which ranks programming in terms of popularity world-wide, Python ranks as the most popular programming language to date. This is with good reason, given that many organisations are adopting data driven strategies to enhance business processes and to inform decision making. Python is in essence a data driven programming language with a ton of use cases, including for machine learning and artificial intelligence applications. Further to this, Python is highly favoured by data scientists and analysts for its robust execution, ease of use and the wide array of statistical and scientific libraries that are compatible with the programming language.

Other popular programming languages include JavaScript, the preferred programming language of the web and it is still widely used in a number of web-based applications. JavaScript is quite easy to learn for those who have no experience in programming, it is also used in a couple of really great frameworks such as VueJS and ReactJS that allow you to develop clean and fluid user-interfaces (UIs) rapidly. Java and C# are also very popular languages and are still being used throughout various industries. These languages are class-based functional programming languages which can be very powerful in many applications across a number of computer stacks, however one could make the argument that it is not as easy to learn as languages such as JavaScript.

Develop future proof technology skills

We have already made the case that technology is always changing and that there are ton of programming languages worth considering depending on the types of technology platforms you would like to target. With that being said, when upskilling yourself with a technical skill it is always best to develop a skill that will still be relevant far into the future as technology continues to progress forward. For example, SQL databases were invented in 1974 and yet it is still largely relevant and widely used by many organisations around the world as a backend service for data management. A survey by Stack Overflow (2020) reported that  MySQL was ranked as the most popular database technology among developers. This could be a result of its wide adoption, large community support and open source nature. On the other end of the spectrum, newer technologies have entered the disruptive space thanks to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and many of these technologies have seen mainstream adoption, which is a positive indicator that they are likely to be around for a very long time. One such example is immersive technology which can be broken down into virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR). As these technologies replace our traditional computing systems, we can assume increased mass adoption will naturally create a demand for content development that is suited for immersive technologies – which in turn results in more institutions seeking skilled developers in this space.

In essence, many companies and organisations rely on technology for success and growth. With that being the case it is important to ensure that in order to remain competitive from an employability perspective, one requires a fair amount of technology skills to remain relevant in today’s digital workforce. Apart from this, when investing in the development of technology skills it is important to consider the time horizon associated with how relevant those skills could be in the future.

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