2023’s Top 10 IT Careers and Skills Stories

The ongoing technology skills gap persists, with individuals lacking both the technical skills necessary for digital roles and basic digital skills required for everyday life.

As the tech hiring landscape became uncertain in 2023, workers were not only seeking digital skills but also actively searching for new job opportunities. The struggles with the economy and cost of living have heightened the importance of having the right skills and individuals to fill these roles.

Employers have long been grappling with the challenge of finding skilled workers, and 2023 was no exception. Hays discovered that 95% of employers experienced a shortage of tech skills in the past year, representing an increase from the previous year. Consequently, employers are now considering hiring individuals who can be trained on the job rather than seeking those with ready-made skills.

Given the significant IT skills gap in the UK, it is unsurprising that many workers have not received any digital skills training. Moreover, over 60% of people feel unqualified for careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Nevertheless, a third of individuals aged 55 and above expressed a desire to develop their digital skills, as identified by AND Digital. AWS also found that 67% of tech workers in the UK would be interested in digital skills training, although they perceive barriers hindering their progress.

The tech sector experienced uncertainty in early 2023, with a shift towards redundancies in many tech firms due to cost-cutting measures reducing IT spending. Workers began actively seeking positions in other companies to secure their employment, as evidenced by CWJobs finding that more than half of IT workers were already looking for new jobs.

Apprenticeships often go unnoticed as a pathway into the technology sector, but providing apprenticeships is not an easy task. In 2017, the government introduced the apprenticeship levy to assist employers in funding training through a contribution and buyback scheme. However, industry bodies wrote an open letter to the government this year, stating that the scheme is inadequate due to restrictions on how the levy contributions can be utilized. This adds another barrier to IT skills development in the UK.

Another alternative route to enter the technology sector is through coding bootcamps. Computer Weekly spoke to 01 Founders, which has a unique coding bootcamp program guaranteeing job placement for all participants. The rigorous application process ensures that only individuals with the right mindset and dedication are admitted. The course is free, inclusive, and promotes knowledge sharing among students through various projects.

Despite curriculum reforms in 2014, the lack of early education regarding tech jobs remains an ongoing problem in the UK. Nevertheless, there was a positive development in 2023, with an increase in the number of students choosing to study computing at both A-Level and GCSE levels. Additionally, more girls enrolled in computing courses at these levels.

University courses continue to be a popular pathway into technology careers, despite previous challenges in employing computer science graduates. This year, the British Computer Society (BCS) observed a rise in applications to computer science courses at the university level, primarily due to the increased adoption of technologies like artificial intelligence. As young people become more aware of the future demand for roles such as AI, cybersecurity, and data science, they seek out educational routes leading to these careers.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) reassured individuals as the concerns over mass redundancies diminished, revealing that technology roles will be among the top 10 fastest-growing professions in the next decade. Technology is increasingly becoming integrated into every aspect of our lives, necessitating a continual need for skilled professionals in these roles. Over 85% of companies surveyed by WEF identified the rise in digital technology adoption as a driving force for their future transformation.

Not only are technology jobs on the rise, but so are technology salaries. Aspire’s research indicated that salaries in various technology-based roles, including QA engineering, data analysts, and CTO positions, increased over the past year.

Salary serves as a crucial factor for individuals seeking new roles, irrespective of industry. The annual Computer Weekly/TechTarget IT salary survey discovered that many tech professionals searching for new job opportunities are motivated by the desire to earn higher incomes. However, salary is not the sole consideration for the tech workforce; they also prioritize inclusive workplaces that offer flexibility and opportunities for skills development.

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