Computer Futures

The latest trends, skill demands, and predictions for the IT industry

Biggest Changes and Trends in the IT industry

As part of the survey we conducted internally, our consultants were asked to share some of the developments they’d noticed taking place in the IT industry. Their answers are based on their own research, what they’re experiencing on a day-to-day basis, and insight gained from the relationships with their clients.

We analysed the data to develop a list of the biggest trends and changes. Below are the results: 

Are these the expected IT industry trends?

For the most part, there were no surprises when it comes to trends. Interestingly though, despite Business Insider UK predicting there will be 24 billion IoT devices installed by 2020, only a small number of respondents saw this as being a key trend.

Big Data, on the other hand, was ranked as the key trend of the year so far. As Whitehall Media explain, companies of all sizes are capturing more data than ever before. In fact, it’s almost doubling each year. With this data comes the opportunity to better understand their target audience and make informed decisions, so it’s clear to see why organisations are putting it at the forefront of their focus.

Similarly, Technology was also considered to be one of the key areas of concentration. Lauren Campbell, a Recruitment Consultant at Computer Futures said, “There’s a constant movement in technologies. I meet with as many clients as possible so I can learn more from their perspective and provide my network with clarity.” There’s a wealth of opportunity for companies when it comes to technology, which can be broken down to include apps, Smart Home products, and more.

How to use the IT trends to your advantage

Having an understanding of what companies are focusing on helps to give a clearer picture of what the IT industry could look like in the future. With the majority of consultants deeming Big Data to be the largest area of growth, it suggests companies are looking to harness their data in order to improve service and performance. Making the most of your data allows you to personalise the customer experience which, according to Aureus Insights, is something 94% of marketing and customer insights professionals say is extremely important for their business.

Now that we’ve identified the main trends and changes, it’s time to look at how they’re affecting the demand for certain job roles, and what this means for companies and the professionals working in the industry

The most in demand IT jobs

As part of an internal survey that was conducted by Computer Futures, we also asked consultants to list the IT jobs that they had seen grow in demand. The results allow us to look at whether the sought after jobs meet the latest trends in the industry. 

Working closely with both candidates and clients allows our consultants to spot changes in demands for jobs, such as a dramatic increase or steady decline. Below are the top IT jobs that our consultants have seen rise in popularity recently.

The relationship between IT jobs and industry trends

Given that Big Data and Technology were identified by consultants as the two biggest trends, it makes sense that the majority of the jobs listed above play their part in the two disciplines. This indicates that the trends identified in the industry are having an impact on the demand for specific jobs.

In January 2017, The Enterprisers Project revealed their four key IT trends for the year. Two of which focused on machines (including cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and machine learning) and data visualisation, something that Anthony Hodgson, an Associate Recruitment Consultant in our Manchester office agrees with. He says, “There’s a larger focus on reading customer data, to manage internet behaviour.” This comes as no surprise, as a number of jobs that are in demand centre on big data and data analytics.

These trends match the results of our survey too. We identified six key trends and focuses within the IT industry; Big Data, Technology, Security, Cloud, Artificial Intelligence, and IoT. And, as expected, we’re seeing a clear correlation between the areas featuring the biggest changes and the jobs with an increasing demand. 

Rachel Rickard, a Senior Recruitment Consultant in our Bristol office explains, “The industry is going to keep growing. As a result, more companies are going to continue to hire the greatest minds in the IT industry.” 

Further insight and predictions for the future

As previously mentioned, we spotted a number of recurring trends in the results of our survey. Technology, Security, Automation, Hiring Growth, and Data frequently appeared in the predictions. Given the jobs that are currently in demand, these trends are what we’d expect to see. They also imply that the key trends we’re seeing currently will continue in the future. 

As the rise of technology takes shape, the traditional automotive industry faces a period of profound change, as businesses such as Google, Uber and Tesla enter, all with the agenda to change the way that people travel by car, permanently.

Amongst the technology companies seeking to enter this market, Google has led the way. Now with the formation of Waymo, they have struck a deal with Fiat Chrysler which will allow for an auto drive, ride sharing service, which is due to take effect within the next twelve months. Whilst there will be only around 100 vehicles in this first phase, such vehicles are a sign of things to come, where their mission, to enable self driving technology so people can travel easily and safely without needing a driver is starting to take shape.

At a smaller scale, technological advancements have also led to a significantly improved performance for petrol cars, resulting in diesel models declining in popularity. This combined with the rise of electric cars means the very function of IT is changing. Indeed in a recent survey of automotive IT professionals by Computer Futures, the number one challenge cited was securing the right talent.

The other key finding worth noting is where the focus of technological development currently is. Interestingly autonomous technologies are the fourth category, behind Hybrid, Connected tech and electrified.

Looking forward, the fundamental question will be whether in the future consumers will want to own their own vehicles, or prefer to pay per journey. For example services such as zipcar now offer viable alternatives to ownership. How that is resolved will determine whether global car sales will continue to grow as they have, where the consumer is the primary purchaser, or if instead we will move to a new model, where companies own the hardware and charge for usage.

The fact that Data and Automation appear in our list suggests that IT departments of the future will be looking to improve efficiency and provide a better customer experience, something that Gartner believes to be the top priority for businesses in 2017.

Changes expected in IT roles

Automation, including Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, is also predicted to change the way roles are performed in the future. Mohammed Khaleed, a Senior Recruitment Consultant at our London office says, “Some of the roles will become automated - mainly engineering. Artificial intelligence will design algorithms and the scientists will become more like consultants who understand what the machines are doing. In essence, they’ll become a translator between businesses and their machines.”

And for the engineering roles that aren’t expected to be automated, there will also be change. An increasing number of companies are looking for engineers that are able to offer a more complete package. Alex Tattum, Senior Principal Recruitment Consultant at Computer Futures says, “There will be a large demand for engineers with experience of robotics, artificial intelligence and augmented reality. These IoT type engineers will need to have a broad range of skills so they can take on whole projects. For example, they might work on a project that requires them to have Electronics & Embedded Software Experience, as well as Data Analytics skills, and UI/Web Skills. So they need to provide the full package, in order to be seen as a potential hire.”

Cybersecurity is still a priority

In Kroll’s latest Global Fraud and Risk Report, they revealed that 92% of UK businesses felt exposure to fraud has increased, with almost half saying this was a result of high staff turnover. The report also looked at the frequency in which attacks occurred and the possible reasons behind them. 82% experienced security incidents in the last 12 months, citing their employees as the most common reason these attacks happened.

This could perhaps explain why security was only ranked 5th in key priorities for the future by our consultants. As so many companies are currently aware of the increasing number of risks associated with poor cyber security, they’re looking to grow and develop their security teams. Although cyberattacks are going to be an ongoing issue, if people are acting now and increased levels of protection in place, there may be less of a need to focus so intently on in moving forward. Instead, it could be a case of improving over time.

Using data to improve customer experience

With the advantages of utilising the vast amounts of accessible data becoming better known, companies are looking to hire professionals in the field in order to improve customer experience. Lauren Campbell gives an example, saying, “As opposed to being SQL BI, there will be more emphasis on data analytics and data science. Because of this, we’re already seeing a demand for professionals with experience in these areas.”

Data driven decisions allow companies of all sizes, across all industries, to better interact with the customers. And, as Forbes explains, it can allow them to create personalised journeys for their audience. Not only that, it will also help them see what’s working and what’s not, and ensure they can respond faster. All of this combined will improve the overall customer experience, satisfaction, and loyalty.