4 key IT skills to grow in 2023

From virtual reality to low-code development, here are four areas that will likely need fresh talent in the coming months, even in a down economy
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The new year is an ideal time to evaluate your career trajectory and target some new skills that will help you reach your goals. Despite widespread fears of a recession and rising unemployment, skills development is an excellent strategy to remain relevant and open to new opportunities.

Whether you’re currently working in the technology field or just getting started, what are some emerging skills that are increasingly in demand? Let’s consider four areas that are ready for takeoff in 2023.

1. Programming for virtual reality

By now, most of us have probably experienced virtual reality (VR) or even explored the metaverse. Admittedly, I was slow to get on the VR bandwagon, but I recently had the opportunity to participate in an advisory committee that took a deep dive into VR and the metaverse. While VR is still in its infancy, I walked away from the advisory committee with a different take on where things are headed. We will likely see a rapid acceleration in bringing immersive VR experiences into the corporate environment.

What types of skills will be most in demand as the VR market likely explodes over the next few years?

[ Also read 4 tips for IT career growth in 2023. ]

If you have a background in software development, the leap into VR is probably well within reach. You'll have a leg up if you’re experienced in one or more mainstream coding languages such as C# or C++. Where you might need some skill-building is learning the underlying game engines and putting everything into practice. 

2. Honing in on cybersecurity

It’s no secret that cybersecurity talent is in short supply globally. According to ISACA’s State of Cybersecurity 2022 report, 63 percent of respondents have open cybersecurity positions that are challenging to fill, while 60 percent of respondents are having a difficult time simply holding onto their existing cybersecurity talent.

Although there’s no easy fix to address the global shortage of cybersecurity professionals, the current job market will ensure that cybersecurity remains prosperous for the foreseeable future.

What are some key skills that are needed in the cybersecurity profession? Not surprisingly, 52 percent of respondents cited cloud computing as the top security skill gap today. As more organizations shift their workloads into the cloud to propel digital transformation, it’s imperative that technology and cybersecurity professionals alike understand how to administer and adequately secure these environments.

The current job market will ensure that cybersecurity remains prosperous for the foreseeable future.

Online courses or provider-specific training can help you grasp cloud concepts quickly.

3. Managing projects using Agile

Do projects at your organization typically come in on time and budget? If so, it’s a testament to solid project management. However, project managers are increasingly challenging to find. A recent report from the Project Management Institute estimates a global need for 25 million project professionals by 2030.

Demand for project managers with Agile experience is especially strong. Once almost exclusively a methodology for software development, Agile is now gaining broader recognition to improve planning, speed, adaptability, and continuous improvement within any project lifecycle. Agile and similar methodologies also promote more “quick wins” during projects by establishing right-sized sprints that keep everyone focused on each iteration.

Several organizations offer training and certification paths for Agile, including the Project Management Institute and Scrum.org.

4. Developing with low-code

To a traditional developer, using graphical no-code or low-code platforms to develop applications might seem like an experienced carpenter purchasing furniture at IKEA. And even as I appreciate IKEA’s ingenuity, I also understand that its products are not up to the standard of a hand-crafted piece that will be handed down through generations.

Still, not every piece of furniture needs to be crafted to that level (at least not in my house). To me, using low-code is similar to shopping at IKEA when you need functional furniture quickly.

According to Gartner, the low-code market is expected to hit $26.9 billion in 2023, so it might be time to get on board if you haven’t already.

I certainly don’t expect traditional development disciplines to evaporate. But I believe we’re headed toward a hybrid model of leveraging no-code and low-code to accelerate certain aspects of development and make it easier for non-technical users to be more hands-on.

There are plenty of free resources available online to learn about different no-code or low-code platforms.

[ Check out essential career advice from 37 award-winning CIOs! Get a variety of insights on leadership, strategy, and career development from IT executives at Mayo Clinic, Dow, Aflac, Liberty Mutual, Nordstrom, and more: Ebook: 37 award-winning CIOs share essential IT career advice. ]

Josh Hamit
Josh Hamit is Senior Vice President and CIO, Information Technology, for Altra Federal Credit Union, a not-for-profit financial cooperative serving nearly 120,000 members across 50 states, with over $2 billion in assets.