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Data and Machine Learning Propel Rise of Tech Jobs Through 2023

According to a new analysis by International Data Corp. (IDC), the fastest growing roles in technology over the next five years will be data scientist (13.7 percent growth over that period), machine learning design/development/engineer (13.6 percent growth) and data engineer (12.9 percent growth). In the area of IT and technology, cybersecurity roles will have the biggest rise, growing over the next five years by 9.6 percent.

These projections came from a new "Worldwide Technology Employment Impact Guide," which examines technology employment from multiple dimensions: job role, transformation type, industry and geography. The analyst firm explained that all information and communications technology (ICT) job roles are part of any type of industry and don't just tie explicitly to the software, hardware and IT services segments.

Overall, IDC reported, technology job roles will see "steady growth" through 2023, led by data and machine learning positions. However, roles will vary in their level of importance to the market. Of 40 different technology job roles covered in the guide, three are expected to make up almost a third of all ICT jobs: software developer/engineer, user support specialist and systems analyst.

The biggest groupings of roles are: 1) the "applications" group, which encompasses eight roles tied to software development and management; 2) the "other IT/technical" group, which covers five different graphic, multimedia and web design roles; and 3) the "technical support" group with five roles. In total, these three groupings will account for about three-quarters of all ICT full-time employees. That "other" group will stay "essentially flat," with a tenth of a percent five-year growth rate, the analysts projected.

Overall, full-time ICT employment will reach 55.3 million worldwide this year, IDC noted, a jump of almost 4 percent over 2019. The IT analyst firm expected that pace of growth to continue throughout the 2019-2023 forecast period, topping out at 62 million workers in 2023, representing a five-year growth rate of 3.8 percent.

The full guide (available to non-IDC customers for $4,500) also examines the impact wrought by digital transformation (DX) initiatives and how those will affect the needs of the organization for specific roles or skills. Job roles for DX-related work focus on the strategic initiatives: use of data, making business operations more responsive, speeding up workforce transformation, improving the customer experience and ramping up the value of products and services delivered to customers and partners. Non-DX job roles handle the tactical or "day-to-day" activities, the company explained. While DX roles make up four in 10 ICT jobs currently, that's expected to rise to more than half (52 percent) by 2023.

"The IT skill set needed to deliver DX projects is changing, with some of the fastest growing demand for IT roles centered around data and intelligence," said Craig Simpson, research manager for the Customer Insights & Analysis Group, in a statement. "We are moving away from IT employees being focused around basic IT installation and maintenance roles and shifting toward roles that can build database architecture and functionality to derive intelligence and insights from an organization's DX efforts."

As digital transformation gains momentum, added Eileen Smith, program vice president in IDC's Customer Insights & Analysis Group, new skills and roles will be "needed to shape technology roadmaps, and support and implement these changes." Where will that work dominate? She pinpointed three industries: discrete manufacturing, process manufacturing and banking. These "are expected to employ the most [full-time employees] for these digital transformational efforts, as they look to technology roles in areas like applications and technical support to design software and services to enhance the customer experience."

In fact, emphasized Cushing Anderson, program vice president of IDC's IT Education and Certification, as DX and innovation become more predominant in IT activities, the success of those efforts will be dependent on how well the IT organization can "adjust who it hires, how IT employees are developed, and the career progression of IT professionals."

Learn more about the technology employment impact guide on the IDC website.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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