IT careers: 3 top skills for 2021

Looking for a new IT job in 2021? Focus on developing your skills in cloud, security, and AI technologies
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CIO Anticipating and Architecting the Future of Retail

[Editor's note: This article is part of a series highlighting the most in-demand IT skills in 2021, how job seekers can learn these skills, and how they can stand out in an interview.]

Demand for experienced IT professionals will continue to be strong for the foreseeable future. But if you want an edge in today’s competitive job market, sharpen your "CSI" skills: cloud, security, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies.


More enterprises are hosting their systems and services on cloud platforms for the greater agility and economic advantages they offer, and this trend is expected to grow. For this reason, the ability to develop software that can be easily deployed to the cloud will become increasingly critical.

[ What skills are hottest right now? Read also: IT careers: 10 critical skills to master in 2021. ]


The ability to develop software that can be easily deployed to the cloud will become increasingly critical.
A related skill is a deep understanding of security and privacy challenges and proficiency in secure coding standards. As all business assets go digital and online, their security, integrity, and availability are a top priority. Digital systems must be engineered from the ground up to ensure security and meet privacy regulations.

AI and data science

In 2021 and beyond, systems are increasingly expected to be intelligent: self-learning, self-managing, and requiring little to no human intervention. Building intelligent systems requires proficiency in leveraging data to extract insights and knowledge that can help drive efficiencies of interactions, operations, and automation.

The success of IT organizations in the year ahead will be determined by how well they realize the efficiencies of the cloud to serve the enterprise’s business needs without compromising security. Reducing costs while continuing to deliver dynamic, customer-centric services that meet the business needs of the moment can happen only when intelligence is built into services and operations.

How to build these skills

Start by familiarizing yourself with the infrastructures and services offered by major cloud vendors. Study emerging standards and regulations on cybersecurity and privacy and become proficient in state-of-the-art security and privacy coding and implementations. And finally, learn data science.

Gain practical experience by working on developing or managing systems and services that utilize the technology. Consider online training – UC Berkeley offers a degree in data science, for example, and Coursera also provides learning opportunities. Major cloud providers also offer training on their services that could help you gain expertise. Also, look for degree or certification programs that could help enhance your resume.

[ Read also: 10 valuable cloud computing certifications. ]

How to stand out

On your resume, highlight two or three specific successful projects that you worked on. Be sure to include enough detail to communicate that you have a thorough understanding of both the problem and the solution.

Call out anything that demonstrates your experience developing or working with systems and services that are cloud-ready, secure, and/or intelligent, and showcase any certifications or courses you have completed. Focus on any areas of specific expertise and successful projects that address the specific requirements of the job.

[ Get exercises and approaches that make disparate teams stronger. Read the digital transformation ebook: Transformation Takes Practice. ]

Vishu Krishnamurthy is VP of Product Development at Vishu brings over twenty years of product development experience to his role. Vishu recently held the position of VP in Oracle Data Cloud.

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