9 hiring trends for the most in-demand IT jobs of 2022

From a renewed focus on employee retention to the importance of certifications, here are nine important trends to know when it comes to filling IT roles this year
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Skills development and talent management are both challenges and opportunities that span every industry vertical and role – for companies of all sizes. These challenges are being exacerbated throughout the pandemic as most companies fundamentally shift certain business practices and subsequently fill new or emerging roles, particularly in IT. 

DevOps Institute's Upskilling IT 2022 Report and Survey researched global and regional must-have IT skill capabilities and learned that insufficient resources and skill gaps are the top global challenge. From a global perspective, 40 percent of our respondents said that the resource and skill shortage is one of their top three challenges today. 

The most acute skill gaps are relative to cognitive, technical, process, and framework skills. To identify skill gaps, we leverage eight skill capabilities. Our survey explored the position that business leaders and individuals had toward each of them relative to the gaps they saw. The cognitive skill capability includes analytical capabilities, quantitative and statistical knowledge, statistics, data modeling, and knowledge in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, all essential skills for digital transformation and digital business growth.

9 IT upskilling and hiring trends in 2022

Below are nine upskilling and hiring trends leaders need to know for the top IT roles in 2022:

1. IT Operations professionals are in demand

In 2022, the demand for IT Operations engineers and developers will be high. Sixty percent of our survey respondents said they are recruiting for IT Operations engineering, and 48 percent are looking for a developer in an Ops role.

[ Also read 3 IT talent shortage challenges and how to solve them. ]

2. DevOps Engineer is still the top title being hired

We have had this conversation since the inception of DevOps, and there are many out there saying DevOps Engineer is not a title. In actuality, DevOps Engineer (34 percent) is still the most popular job title being hired. The next title is Software Engineer (34 percent), followed by Site Reliability Engineer (31 percent).

3. There are barriers to skill development

We asked, “What would you say are the current barriers to skill development within your organization?” Some responses: lack of time (53 percent), lack of budget (47 percent), lack of offerings (32 percent), upskilling not being a top priority for leadership (20 percent), and emphasis on hiring instead of upskilling (19 percent).

For those resilient IT individuals eager for training, the predominant model for funding upskilling is that IT enterprise organizations either refund the employee for the training cost or establish a limited budget that can be leveraged.

4. Only 50 percent of enterprise IT organizations have a formal upskilling program

Twenty-seven percent are currently developing one, and upon further probing the stage of the upskilling program, we found that most of these are still in the assessment stage.

5. Skill development is on the rise

In general, people master the skills they need for the job (67 percent), have learned a new skill in the past 12 months (95 percent), and use a newly learned skill frequently (60 percent) or a moderate amount (31 percent).

6. The application of new skills learned is mediocre

While over 95 percent of respondents said that they had learned a new skill in the past 12 months, only 33 percent of respondents said that they had applied the new skill learned.

7. Certifications are very valuable

Most survey respondents (54 percent) perceive different IT certifications as very valuable. With certifications, IT professionals can demonstrate their technical knowledge by being able to apply important DevOps principles and practices to real-world use cases. Certifications also help IT professionals enhance their credibility and stand out from other job applicants by demonstrating they have acquired desired skills for a particular or emerging role.

8. Happiness is relative

When asked if individuals are happy with their job, 31 percent of respondents said they are very happy, whereas four percent said they are very unhappy. A study by Haystack analytics found that 83 percent of developers reported experiencing burnout due to the pandemic. In the study, the top reasons for burnout included higher workload, inefficient processes, and unclear goals and targets. Personal factors, followed by compensation factors, would increase happiness.

Of course, much of this depends on the industry, age, actual job, and other factors.

[ Get more tips: 3 ways CIOs prevent burnout ]

9. Technical skills are more in demand than human skills for today’s hiring managers

IT enterprise managers hire more for technical skills. Fifty percent of respondents look for technical skills, whereas only 33 percent of respondents look for human skills.

IT leadership is squarely in the crosshairs of executive teams and investors. While equipping staff with remote working capabilities and adhering to governance, risk, and compliance regulations, leaders also need to ensure secure access, enable data and application access, as well as focus on collaboration and communication.

All in all, upskilling is both a professional and organizational imperative. For leadership and individuals to jointly own the upskilling of an IT workforce, developing skills and talents cannot be without strategy and planning. Hopefully, the trends and data above help everyone better understand the most pressing needs and challenges surrounding the job roles that need to be filled or developed internally.

[ Discover how priorities are changing. Get the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services report: Maintaining momentum on digital transformation. ]

Eveline Oehrlich is an industry analyst, author, speaker and business advisor focused on digital transformation. Eveline is the Chief Research Director at DevOps Institute where she leads the research and analysis for the Upskilling: Enterprise DevOps Skills Report and other research projects.