IT Career Trends for 2023: Focus on Skills

For many IT professionals, career development and improving job skills were a high priority in 2022. This trend was reflected in articles and surveys throughout the year, and there’s no sign it will change in 2023. 

In this article, we’ll look at in-demand IT skills and other career trends to consider for the coming year.

Growth Opportunities

Employees want to “know how their careers are going to grow,” says Jess Elmquist. “They want to learn and expand their skills. People no longer want to go to work; they want to grow at work.” And, they’re willing to change jobs to pursue growth opportunities. 

According to an Amazon survey, for example, 89 percent of employees said they were highly motivated to advance their skills in 2023, with “millennial and Gen Z workers particularly motivated to quit their jobs due to a lack of skills development opportunities.” 

Learning new skills is always a good idea for career growth, but development of tech skills in particular may also lead to higher pay and greater job security.

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Recession-Proof Skills

“Skilled tech workers are seeing their employment opportunities flourish, says Owen Hughes, “with employers offering ever-higher salaries and flexible working options in an effort to attract candidates.”

Although the risk of a recession may prompt companies to slow or freeze hiring, “the effect on technology hiring will be comparatively small,” Hughes predicts. “Indeed, even in an economic downturn, technology remains (for now at least) a pretty safe place to be,” Hughes says.

In terms of sought-after skills for 2023, certain areas stand out. “Employees with cloud, software development, and IT security skills are most likely to be safe from layoffs,” Hughes says. 

The Open Source Jobs Report shows similar findings, with hiring managers listing the following technologies in high demand: 

  • Cloud/container               
  • Linux 
  • DevOps/GitOps/DevSecOps     
  • Cybersecurity 
  • Web technologies 
  • Artificial intelligence/machine learning

Employees seem to be equally aware of this trend, as respondents in this year’s Salary Survey from ITPro cited the following areas in terms of desired skill development: 

  • Security
  • Cloud 
  • Leadership/professional 
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Databases 

Again, cybersecurity, cloud, and AI are common themes. And, according to Robert Lemos at DarkReading, cybersecurity skills in particular attract higher pay and increased job security. “Company executives continue to voice concerns that a recession is likely in 2023, but cybersecurity professionals — along with IT workers and developers with cybersecurity knowledge — appear well-positioned to weather an economic downturn,” Lemos says.

Other Skills to Note

Data-related jobs are another trend to watch. According to research from Forrester, “by 2025, 70 percent of jobs will involve working directly with data. This means that every organization will need people with the skills to interpret, translate and communicate it,” says Bernard Marr at Forbes. 

Specifically, Marr’s top five skills for 2023 are:

  • Data storytelling 
  • Cybersecurity
  • UX design
  • Digital marketing
  • AI

What Companies Can Do

As employees work to grow their job skills, companies play a key role in helping them reach their career goals. “Organizations must prioritize enabling employees’ personal success through career development,” states the 2022 Workplace Learning Report from LinkedIn. 

“The best thing leaders can do,” Elmquist says, “is create a measurable, meaningful, and inspiring path for career growth and professional development. Let ambitious talent see on day one where they fit into the company’s long-term plans and chart a course for their career path.”

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