2024’s Hottest IT Skills Trends in the UK

Looking ahead to 2024, there may be a more positive outlook for IT professionals in the U.K. following a challenging year in 2023 marked by job cuts from major tech companies. Those seeking new roles in the tech industry may find a particular demand for expertise in artificial intelligence and cloud computing, as well as a need for softer skills in communication and team management.

The U.K. has been grappling with a long-term shortage of IT skills. While about two million people work in tech in the U.K., there is still a demand for more skilled workers. Government figures show a high level of “skills-shortage vacancies” in the information and communications sector, with the percentage rising from 25% in 2017 to 43% in 2022. This shortage has been ongoing, with evidence indicating a need for more tech staff in the country.

Research conducted by Amazon Web Services in 2023 revealed that 68% of UK businesses found it challenging to hire the digital workers they needed, with 45% attributing this difficulty to a shortage of qualified applicants. Another survey conducted by Gigged.AI found that 91% of respondents in the UK reported facing some degree of tech skills shortage, with approximately 34% facing significant shortages.

The most in-demand tech jobs in 2024 in the U.K., according to LinkedIn and recruitment company Robert Half, include artificial intelligence engineer, security operations center analyst, cyber security manager, cyber security architect, data governance manager, and data engineer. These roles reflect the growing focus on AI, data security, and data handling in the tech industry.

The most sought-after tech skills for 2024 in the U.K. include cloud computing (such as Amazon Web Services, Azure, and Google Cloud), Microsoft Dynamics, Netsuite, SAP, Python, and SQL. Cybersecurity, machine learning, AI, data handling, storytelling, user experience design, and cloud knowledge are also highly valued skills in the industry. Traditional network engineering and on-premise infrastructure skills are experiencing a decline due to the increasing importance of cloud-based resources.

The highest paying IT job in the U.K. is Chief Information Officer, with salaries ranging between £105,000 and £176,000. Chief Technology Officers, Chief Information Security Officers, and Chief Architects also command similar pay ranges. In comparison, a front-end developer can expect to earn between £44,000 and £76,000.

Looking ahead to the future, there will continue to be a high demand for skilled technology resources, driven primarily by SME businesses. Sectors such as SaaS, education, healthcare, financial services, retail, and government are investing in tech development. An emerging trend in the industry is fractional working, where individuals work on freelance or contract basis with multiple part-time assignments simultaneously.

In terms of future-proofing your career, it’s important to stay up to date with the latest tech trends. AI, cloud computing, and cybersecurity are expected to create steady demand in the coming years. It’s also beneficial to develop softer skills such as communication, stakeholder management, and people management. Candidates with strategic thinking and business skills are highly valued in the tech industry.

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