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By Kieran Scully, Senior Manager of Technology recruitment, Morgan McKinley UK

Cloud computing, DevOps and AI and other technology skills in demand

New research conducted by us as part of our 2024 Salary Guide has revealed that 76% of technology hiring managers found recruitment ‘very’ or ‘quite’ competitive in 2023 across the UK. The key challenges for 2024, with 25% of hiring managers citing shortage of skilled candidates as their primary obstacle. Other challenges included difficulties in competing on pay and benefits (22%) and a lack of approval for new headcount (19%).

It’s no secret that there has been a distinct shortage of technology skills for some time. Despite the tech layoffs in the first half of 2023, the demand for skilled talent is on the rise again. This is fueled by the continuous innovation in digital tools and technology over the last few decades. There isn’t enough people to fill the gaps. From a professional’s perspective, upskilling and improving your knowledge of key areas within Tech is a great way to improve your career prospects as you navigate these volatile markets.

The hot new trends and demand for talent are around Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, where most companies continue to struggle with a shortage of skilled talent. We’re seeing that the most in demand roles and skills will be across Data, AI, Cyber and Cloud. This will come as companies continue to build out their strength in these ever-evolving fields to make sure they are protected from potential threats and adequately equipped to deal with whatever new progressions develop.

However, the lack of skilled professionals in these fields will make hiring competitive. The shortage of talent in some markets will see salaries continually increase, particularly across the areas mentioned earlier, whilst we expect them to stabilise more in Software Development.

We’ve identified some of the most important technology skills that employers look for when hiring into their tech teams:

Cyber Security: Cyber security is a key focus area for organisations. With cyber threats evolving at breakneck speed, data, network, device, and system protection is more critical than ever. Expertise in security architecture and penetration testing is vital for building a stronghold against malicious attacks. With the many threats that companies face, experience in technology risk assurance is also currently in high demand. It helps an organisation proactively assess, manage, and remediate IT-related risks.

DevOps Security (DevSecOps): Integrating security into the development process is now a must rather than an option when it comes to DevSecOps. DevSecOps expertise guarantees safe apps from the start. DevSecOps skills empower practitioners to integrate security seamlessly into the software development life cycle, preventing vulnerabilities from the outset and building robust applications that are secure by design.

Data Architecture: Designing and maintaining an effective data architecture is essential in today’s data-driven environment to produce actionable insights and support well-informed decision-making. Cloud-based data platforms and data modelling are essential for navigating the ever-expanding ocean of data. Understanding and experience of data architecture will help a professional look for optimisations across how an organisation’s IT infrastructure can support its data strategy.

Big Data: Big Data is transforming every business, from banking to healthcare. Gaining proficiency with technologies such as Hadoop and Spark enables you to drive innovation and uncover patterns inside large datasets, enabling businesses to solve complex problems, optimise operations, and gain a competitive edge in a data-driven landscape.

Cloud Technologies: Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services over the Internet in a flexible pay-as-you-go model, including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence. More and more companies are moving to the cloud as it offers faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale to meet traffic demands. It is imperative to know at least one major cloud platform, such as Azure, Google Cloud Platform or AWS, to develop and implement cloud applications that offer enterprises cost-effectiveness, scalability, and flexibility in the ever-changing business landscape.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Machine Learning (ML): AI and ML are unavoidable, with both becoming increasingly common and influential. Understanding AI and ML empowers professionals to leverage these transformative technologies to automate tasks, optimise processes, and develop intelligent solutions, revolutionising industries and driving innovation across all sectors. Having experience using tools within your particular area of expertise will set you in good stead for the future.

Core Programming Skills: From crafting web interfaces that captivate users to crafting algorithms that solve complex problems, mastering languages like Python, Java, or C# is the cornerstone for building efficient and scalable software solutions, enabling professionals to translate ideas into tangible applications. Whether you aspire to be a software developer, data scientist, or even a digital entrepreneur, a firm grasp of core programming skills empowers you to become problem-solvers, and innovators in a world increasingly driven by code.

JavaScript: Not to be confused with Java, the programming language, JavaScript is a scripting language used to create dynamic web pages, heavily linked to improving user’s interaction with a website or application. Because JavaScript is the most popular language for web development, knowing how to leverage frameworks like Angular and React is a great way to create dynamic and interactive user interfaces.

QA and Testing: Expertise in QA and Testing ensures the delivery of high-quality software by identifying and resolving bugs before they reach users. This translates to a seamless user experience, builds trust and brand loyalty, and reduces the risk of costly post-release issues.

Interpersonal, soft skills:

As well as the more technical Technology skills, there are a key interpersonal, soft skills that will boost your Technology abilities.

  • Problem-solving
  • Inquisitiveness and continuous learning
  • Strong self-learning ability
  • Logical and analytical thinking
  • Understanding of regulatory requirements
  • Customer-first attitude

Kieran ScullyAbout the author

Kieran Scully, Senior Manager, Morgan McKinley – works within the Technology recruitment team at Morgan McKinley, based in London. As a Senior Manager, and with the support of my team, he helps to connect hiring organisations with some of the best specialist talent in the Technology space.