The Top IT Career Trends of 2021

By Michelle Tran  |  September 6, 2019

Whether you’re in data analytics, development, or engineering, Australia’s information technology industry has plenty of bright career prospects in store.

According to the latest Hays Salary Guide, 53% of employers intend to increase the IT staff levels in the 2019-2020 financial year. With continuous innovations in the field, embracing these technological changes is necessary for companies to keep ahead of the curb.

In fact, the nation is predicted to need an additional 100,000 workers (making up a total of 758,700 employees) in the profession by 2023. ICT occupations have been reported to be some of the fastest growing titles in Australia’s economy, with a growth forecast of 2.0% per year from 2015-2020. At this point, the industry shows no signs of slowing down.

So if you’re a tech-head looking to get in the industry, or already a professional yourself, be sure to keep an eye out for these rising skill demands in the year’s top career trends.

AI and machine learning

close up of a robot, head and torso

Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to technology that allows for automated, machine-learned processes without required human guidance. With automation predicted to replace approximately 40% of Australian jobs in the next 10-20 years, AI experts should expect an increasingly high demand for their skills as businesses strive to innovate and compete in the evolving market.

In just the past four years, Australian start-ups in the field have increased 20-fold. Other than paving the way for new job opportunities (effectively replacing those it eliminates), research also shows the technology is set to increase the country’s productivity by 40% and place greater importance on interpersonal and critical thinking skills in the workplace.

A few new jobs predicted to emerge by 2030 include bionic interface designers for automated robot technology, health and fitness optimisers for health tracking software, and emotional experience experts for interweaving more “emotionally engaging” customer service experiences with online technology.

In Australia, the top companies seeking candidates for AI roles include CSIRO, followed by IBM, Zendesk, Culture Amp, Macquarie University, and Google. This technological innovation is set to evolve every industry involving any kind of data – from labour-focused (e.g. manufacturing) to higher-skilled professions (e.g. financial and legal services).

Mobile and web development

somebody siting and looking at their phone

The internet era has undoubtedly taken over Australian business, birthing a thriving e-commerce industry that generated a total of $28.6 billion in the last year. Social media continues to play a key role in everyday life, with now 8 in 10 Australians using this mode of communication. Additionally, reports display strong, active smartphone usage globally – predicted to reach 2.1 billion users by 2020.

As they maintain their relevancy, these technologies will continue to seek new and updated skillsets to keep up with innovations, consumer needs, and evolving trends. Job Outlook states a rising demand for both applications programmers and web developers, set to increase to 146,800 and 18,000 workers by 2023, respectively.

Wearable technology and cloud-based, instant, and payment integration apps are all currently rising trends for the mobile app industry. As for web development, businesses are now seeking candidates with a skill for mobile integration, minimalist design concepts, and push notifications. Both fields are currently working towards better chatbot technology, allowing for better customer support and website experience.

Cyber Security

With more businesses embracing the online sphere (and the aforementioned rise in social media users), information has become more accessible than ever.

Unfortunately, this poses greater threat to the privacy and security of user data. Breaches can range from small-scale social media hackings to accessing sensitive government information. Such crimes not only damage community trust, but present extreme economic risk. Financially, cybercrimes are estimated to cost the country more than one billion dollars each year.

There is thus an increasingly heightened focus on cyber security experts and minimizing its skills shortage in the Australian workforce. As of 2019, the government has implemented various strategies for a safer digital landscape, including their Academic Centres of Cyber Security Excellence (ACCSE) initiative – designed to encourage more students in cyber security studies. Plenty of educational materials are now available to the public, including courses by several universities and training providers, for anyone wishing to professionally train in the field.

Lumify Group, for example, offers over a dozen vendor-certified qualifications in cyber security, including CiscoCitrix, and Microsoft courses.

The current job market is also ideal for upcoming cyber security professionals, with a globally wide gap between supply and demand. Due to their unique skills, these individuals are also well-compensated, earning an average of over $75,000 per year – with potential for over $100,000 depending on employer and experience.

Cloud Engineering

Mac keyboard with cloud shapes around it

Finally, we’ve got the growth of cloud computing.

Usage of cloud storage among Australian businesses jumped by nearly 10% since 2015-16, with 42%  of companies now on board. The rising numbers aren’t surprising; cloud services have shown to offer a wide range of benefits, including saved expenses on server equipment and accessibility of information from anywhere with an internet connection.

With increasing popularity and awareness of cloud computing, engineers in the field are now more in demand than ever. These individuals will be required to plan, develop, manage, and support various types of cloud software and infrastructure. In fact, Indeed has reported a 27% increase in related job postings since 2015.

In Australia, expertise in AWS, Azure, and Openstack are some of the leading key skills sought after by the market. Professionals are also expected to have strong technical skills in storage, networking, and virtualisation – the skills required to design and implement cloud technologies. Additionally, a solid knowledge of troubleshooting methodologies such as disaster recovery, redundancy, and failover are beneficial in pursuing cloud engineering roles.

Salary and employer statistics

a pink piggy bank facing straight on

ICT professionals are in luck in this current financial year, with expected pay rises for most employees. According to the recent Hays Salary Guide, 91% of IT and telecommunications workers will receive an increased salary in their next review – bumped from 87% in their previous review.

This conveniently aligns with the top priority among most IT professionals for 2019, with 57% reporting a pay rise as their number one concern.

Those who venture the Media and Telecommunications industry are also most likely to find employment, with the field comprising over 49% of ICT workers. While ICT specialist industries are undoubtedly major employers for these professionals, plenty often find work beyond this area – highlighting the vast opportunity for IT experts across Australia’s economy.

Currently, the highest-employing regions are New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland, making up 82% of all jobs in this industry. Larger businesses and major firms are most likely located in major capitals.

With constant development in Australia’s technological landscape, career prospects are bright and bountiful for IT experts across the nation. Rising demands in technical skills and emerging innovations are sure to open a world of opportunity for those with the right training and expertise.

Looking to sharpen your IT skills?

If you’re ready to dive into this expanding industry yourself, Lumify Learn has the ICT training to get you started. Our courses are nationally-recognised and taught by industry experts, providing you with all the support you need towards your qualification. Best of all, it’s 100% online – helping you build your skills according to your needs and schedule.

Enquire today, and find the ideal course for you.

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