IT Skills

Top Skills IT Engineers Need in 2021

Believe it or not, the ongoing pandemic has changed the IT landscape for good. The ever-evolving tech landscape now demands engineers to cross-train and bring more expertise to the table. I firmly believe, in the post-COVID world, all engineers will now have to be masters of their crafts. They will need to keep their skills sharp, learn the newest techniques, and focus on growth, efficiency, and creativity throughout their career.

With the demand for advanced tech skills skyrocketing, most IT companies are putting more resources into hiring and training the right talent to remain relevant and competitive. But as technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, it can be difficult to know exactly what skill sets are necessary to thrive in different verticals. To discuss what skills IT engineers need to learn to focus on expanding to prepare for 2021 and beyond, I invited two of my colleagues – Steve Sani and Ankur Kumar for a career advancement conversation.

Cloud Computing – the future of enterprise application

Over the past decade, cloud computing has become an integral part of the IT infrastructure for many companies worldwide. The move to the cloud has accelerated in the last few months since the COVID-19 pandemic struck and companies shifted to support remote workforces with video conferencing and team collaboration tools.

As a cloud engineer, one is expected to work with cross-functional teams that include a mix of software, operations, and architecture. This means when it comes to learning these skills, you have quite a few options to choose from. You can pick skills related to Programming (PHP, Java, .NET), Linux, Database (MySQL and Hadoop), Networking, Cloud Services (AWS, Microsoft’s Azure, GCP, and OpenStack), API and Web Services (XML, WSDL, SOAP, and UDDI), DevOps, Virtualization, Security and Recovery to build a recession-proof career in cloud computing.

Cybersecurity – every digital business’ new necessity

In the wake of pandemic, almost every digital business faces security threats, making cybersecurity one of the top technology trends in 2021 and beyond. Cybersecurity matters—from governments and large corporations to small businesses.

The variety of roles to choose from, growth opportunities, constant evolution of threats and the impact of cybersecurity add up to an exciting career. There are dozens of distinct career paths within security making it challenging to anyone with a passion for protecting business infrastructure.

As you learn the latest in cybersecurity, you can explore roles such as security generalist, network security engineer, cloud security engineer, application security, access management engineer, security architecture, penetration tester, malware/forensics analyst, incident response analyst, cryptographer, security trainer, security auditor, governance, risk and compliance professional and cybersecurity engineer.

Automation – the way forward  

In the past, business requirements solely focused on technical expertise. IT companies were only looking for scripting wizards and troubleshooting superheroes. With time, things changed. Today, companies are looking for IT talent with a much wider set of abilities. You need automation engineers who can understand the needs and processes of the business, translate those needs into IT processes, and prioritize and implement them in the most productive way.

Automation technology breaks into automation tools and language. The automation skill you want to learn depends on which type of software application you want to work on. Obviously, there’s always a need for automation professionals with backgrounds in data center operations, systems integration, virtualization, etc. Yet the demand for closer links between IT technologists and business operations implies new skills.

Far beyond the need for technical knowledge, proper automation requires integrating a large number of systems together. For this reason, developing a familiarity with processes and standards, such as ITIL and DevOps philosophy, plays an important role in automation. In addition to this, the ability to define and implement processes such as incident management, information security, business continuity, and disaster recovery is crucial for today’s engineers who will not only have to oversee but manage projects at some point in their careers.

Final Thought: IT engineering is a domain where one’s training never ends, even after years of on-job training. So, it is understood why developing a set of critical technical skills such as cloud computing, automation and cybersecurity is critical for keeping up with the latest business developments.

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