People will create the jobs of the future, not simply train for them, and technology is already central. It will undoubtedly play a greater role in the years ahead.
- Jonathan Grudin, Principal Researcher at Microsoft
UK businesses and their workforce should quickly adapt to the technological advances that are progressively being integrated into the workplace to stay competitive and relevant.
According to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), 95% of businesses expect to increase investment in digital skills in the next 3-5 years. However, around 66% of firms are already facing a shortage of digital skills.
Lack of tech-savvy professionals in the UK stems from tech’s rapid pace and integration in the workplace, insufficient workforce training, and limited access to skilled workers. However, on the positive side, maximising the digital skills gap could create new career opportunities for the current and succeeding workforce.
To solve this issue, the CBI recommends that the government invest in educating the whole UK workforce with basic digital skills by 2025. Aside from this, the CBI also suggests that businesses also do their part by understanding the digital skills that they need and coordinate those concerns with the local government, organisations, and educational institutions.
Having said this, what are the digital skills that the workforce needs to learn to close this widening gap? Here are five of the most in-demand digital skills in the UK.
According to data by Burning Glass Nova, the top tech skills this August are programming skills, specifically in C++ and Python. This is not a surprise as programming has continuously been an in-demand digital skill in recent years.
Demand for professionals with programming skills is still expected to rise in the coming years. In fact, Code Institute expects that there will be 150,000 programming-related jobs by 2020.
Current students and professionals who are willing to learn to code online, or take it as a major, will still have a relevant job in the next ten years.
Related Article: 5 Most In-demand Programming Languages This 2019
DevOps is becoming the UK’s standard operating model across enterprises. As a result, it has become one of the fastest-growing in-demand digital skills in the UK.
DevOps helps businesses improve collaboration and increase productivity by automating processes, organising workflows, and regularly checking application performance. According to Verified Market Research, the global DevOps market was worth $3.62bn (£2.9bn) in 2018, and its value is estimated to reach $20.01bn (£16.3bn) by 2026.
To become a DevOps engineer, one must have knowledge and expertise in programming and automation, among other skill sets. Because of the variety of skills needed for the position, consulting firm Robert Half says that it is the most challenging job posts to fill in.
Related Article: 10 Technical Skills to Look for When Hiring DevOps Engineers
Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning
Once used only for advanced technologies, AI and machine learning are now creeping into our daily lives through our smartphones and appliances, among others.
Since AI can now be applied to a vast number of devices and online services, businesses from different industries are exploring AI to improve products or services while lowering costs.
AI-related jobs involve a wide range of skills sets, spanning from programming languages such as Python and C/C++ to big data. Currently, it is a big challenge to find the right professionals for this field as the roles require workers to be adept in more than one discipline.
Related Article: What to Expect from Artificial Intelligence
According to Acorn Recruitment Ltd., 41.9% of organisations in the UK are adopting cloud services. This is significantly higher compared to Europe’s average of 26.2%.
The Internation Data Corporation (IDC) also predicts that the UK will spend $10bn (£8.1bn) on cloud computing this year.
Because of cloud computing’s on-demand availability of data storage and computing power, the cloud computing market has become a popular business solution and a fast-growing industry in recent years.
“Compared with 2014, the increase in the use of cloud computing was highest in the information and communication sector (up 19 percentage points), in the professional, scientific and technical sector (up 16 percentage points) followed by the real estate sector (up 13 percentage points),” according to a statement by Eurostat.
Currently, the major players in cloud computing are Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure, among many others. The cloud computing market is predicted to reach $623.3 billion by 2023 based on figures by Report Linker.
A 2019 study by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) found that a third of all businesses and a fifth of charities in the UK had been under a cyber attack in the past year. Data breach statistics also predict that 146 billion records globally will be exposed between 2019 and 2023.
The rise of cybersecurity attacks in the UK in recent years led cybersecurity to become one of the most in-demand digital skills in the UK. According to the 2017 study Global Information Security Workforce, the UK could have around 100,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2022.
Some of the most in-demand cybersecurity jobs in the UK are cybersecurity consultant, data protection officer, and security analysts, among others. These jobs commonly require candidates to have knowledge and expertise in IT and network systems, and cybersecurity best practices.
Related Article: Top 13 In-demand Tech Jobs This 2019
Why learn these digital skills?
According to the Digital Marketing Institute, 90% of new UK jobs now require digital skills (whether basic or advanced). Unfortunately, that leaves over 12 million people without the proper knowledge and expertise to fill them.
Upskilling the workforce and expanding their current expertise would not only help fill in the digital skills gap but also support the UK’s advances in innovation and, ultimately, aid the economy’s growth.
With no signs of slowing down, the future of work looks like a career fully integrated by technology.
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