Is the IT Industry Growing?
The tech industry is renowned for developing at a fast pace, leading to changes in job demands, roles, and general growth within the sector. Here at Computer Futures, we asked our team of specialist consultants to share their predictions for the future of IT in a recent internal survey. After analysing the results, it became clear there were five key areas.
The IT industry will grow
According to Time, there are seven key areas of growth, including security, healthcare, IoT, and wireless innovation. But the industry isn’t just growing, it’s evolving and steadily becoming more customer-centric. BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, believes the modern IT department has to be focused on the customers – especially if it wants to succeed and outperform their competitors. Now more than ever, it’s essential for IT departments to consider each individual user of their software or service and their user satisfaction if they want to demonstrate their value.
In order to better understand customers and the journeys they take, more companies are taking advantage of the data they have as they grow – and this will continue moving forward. Anthony Hodgson, an Associate Recruitment Consultant in our Manchester office says, “There’s a larger focus on reading customer data, to manage internet behaviour.” By having a more in-depth knowledge of what it is their customers are looking for, companies are able to meet requirements and grow.
Job roles and demands in tech will continue to change
When asked whether they’d noticed any changes in requirements for job roles, 100% of our consultants confirmed they had – with almost a third noting the change had been quite dramatic.
Mohammed Khaleed, a Senior Recruitment Consultant at Computer Futures, believes this will continue moving forward. He provided an example, saying, “Some of the roles will become automated (mainly engineering). Artificial intelligence (AI) will design algorithms and the scientists will become more like consultants who understand what the machines are doing. They’ll almost become a translator between businesses and their machines.”
As roles change and evolve over time, it’s going to have an effect on demand. There will be a large need for Engineers with experience of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Augmented Reality. They’ll also need to have a broad range of skills, including Electronics and Embedded Software Experience, Data Analytics, and UI/Web. Alex Tattum, Senior Principal Recruitment Consultant at Computer Futures, says this will be because they’ll need to/be expected to take on whole projects.
The job role for developers is also likely to change as there will be a high demand for those who have an understanding of AI.
Companies will continue to invest in their IT teams
In 2016, £6.8billion was invested in the UK digital tech industry – more than half received by any other European country, according to Tech Nation. The turnover also steadily improved, reaching £170billion in the same year, which is a £30billion increase in five years. This high level of investment is set to continue and will play a part in the number of jobs too. Currently the number of jobs opening up in the tech sector is larger than that of the non-tech, and we expect this to continue.
Companies will also look to create a more inclusive workforce too. The need to improve diversity within the technology industry has become well-known in recent years. BCS recently revealed that the shortage of IT professionals is due, in part, to the gender imbalance. Vince Cable, Key Government Advisor to the Apprenticeship Minister, has also been quoted as saying, “Gender diversity and inclusion should be high priority to the ongoing strategy to recruit apprentices, to enable the UK to bridge the skills gap effectively.” And the problem doesn’t just lie in gender equality or apprenticeships either.
Towards the end of 2016, Tech London Advocates, a network of almost 4,000 tech experts, leaders, and innovators in London, revealed that nearly 1000 technology companies in London had an entirely male workforce. The founder of the network, Russ Shaw, believes a diverse workforce will unlock growth, and improve innovation and creativity. Not only that, it will help create an industry that everyone can be proud of. As such, we’re seeing more companies focused on creating an inclusive working environment and expect that this will become the focus for more businesses in the future.
Cybersecurity will be a key focus for many
Paul Toal, a Client Relationship Manager at Computer Futures, says, “More and more companies are becoming aware of the importance of security. It’s easily the biggest problem every company is going to have to deal with.” With cyberattacks happening more often, and damages becoming more costly, the risks are growing for companies of all sizes. And it’s this awareness that’s led them to grow and develop their security team. However, this increased desire is being met with a lack of professionals.
According to the Centre for Cyber Security and Education, there will be a global shortfall of 1.8 million cybersecurity workers by 2022. Their recent survey suggests that this will happen as a result of the ageing workforce. With more people retiring, there aren’t enough new people entering the industry to replace them. And despite this, companies don’t seem to be willing to hire graduates; in fact, the same survey revealed that only 6% of UK companies will recruit those who have just completed their degree. Harvard Business Review (HBR) has looked at other reasons for this shortage of skills. These include the strong desire to hire people with the more experience and the lack of inclusivity and diversity.
Considering how rapidly the cybercriminal world is growing, and how organised it is, it makes sense to create an inclusive workforce. HBR also suggest artificial intelligence may become more commonplace in the future, in order to make the job of a security team even easier. It could collate the necessary data and present it in a way that’s easy to interpret.
Expect technology to continue evolving
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the IT industry is known for developing at a fast pace – including the technology used. One of the drawbacks to this is that an increasing number of companies are starting to feel like they’re being left behind.
Ryan Hill, Sales Team Manager for Computer Futures, says, “One of the current issues a number of my clients have raised is keeping up to speed with technology. It’s evolving so quickly that they don’t always know how to utilise it within their business.”
And according to an article written for Forbes by Nick Morrison, a freelance journalist, it appears the advancements could also have an impact on new leaders moving forward. As he says, “Changes in technology represent the main challenge facing tomorrow’s business leaders.”
Smartphones are a prime example of how quickly technology changes. If you compare the first one, created in 1994, to one of the latest releases today, the differences would be remarkable. As technology gets better, the demand for a new and improved version grows. In order to keep up, you need to work with experienced and knowledgeable IT professionals.
Opportunities within the IT industry
Here at Computer Futures, we work with companies of all sizes across the world. Having operated in the IT recruitment sector for over 30 years, we have an in-depth understanding of the issues and challenges being faced by clients and candidates. That’s why we partner with you, to discover your individual needs. And, once we know exactly what you’re looking for, we’ll develop a complete recruitment solution that works for you.