In-Demand Hard Skills for 2021

Global Employability

The year 2020 was a washout – in more ways than one. Now, the world is slowly getting back on its feet and recalibrating itself to a new way of life – to the realities of a post-pandemic living.

The jobs landscape, for instance, has undergone significant changes – and it’s important to stay on top of the trends if you are planning a career (or a career change).

Here’s a look at the Top 10 IT skills in-demand for 2021.

System Analyst

With the median salary of a System Analyst held at (approx.) $90,920 per year, i.e., $43.71 per hour, and a predicted growth rate of 7% (2019 – 2029), System Analyst remains a top in-demand skill. Predicted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), this growth is anticipated as the further adoption of cloud computing by both large and small businesses, and the increasing use of IT services in healthcare settings are expected to increase demands for this position and professionals.

What System Analysts do:
  • Survey and diagnose database program issue
  • Resolve user issues
  • Advise management about systems innovations to improve productivity
  • Research the latest technologies in database and system design to upgrade infrastructures and train employees, clients, and patients to access systems efficiently.
Level of study required:
  • Bachelor of Science (BS)
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Master of Science (MS) in Computer Science
Major subjects include:
  • Math and Statistics
  • Computer Science
  • Other AI Core subjects
Top Skills in Demand - 2021
  • Microsoft
  • SQL
  • System Administration
  • Good communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Business & technical analysis
AI & Machine Learning

The transformational reach of AI and Machine Learning has led to the creation of huge job opportunities across a wide range of industries. This has also made it an indispensable demand-skill. LinkedIn’s Top 15 In-Demand Jobs in 2021 placed AI practitioners in the top 15. The fact that 9 out of 10 Americans use AI services in one form or another every day only goes on to prove how AI and Machine Learning will be a vying demand skill even in 2021.

Source: Burning Glass

What do AI & Machine Learning professionals do?
  • Carry out statistical analysis
  • Train and retrain systems
  • Work on frameworks
  • Undertaking machine learning experiments and test
  • Fine tuning test results
  • Designing machine learning programs
  • Developing deep learning systems
  • Implementing suitable AI/ML algorithms
What to study
  • Bachelor of Science (BS)
  • Master of Science (MS) in Computer Science
Primary subjects include
  • Information technology
  • Information system
  • Systems design
  • Programming
  • Operating systems
  • Computer algorithms
Top skills in demand
  • C++,
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Python (Programming Language)
  • Machine Learning Frameworks
  • Cloud Platforms
  • Workflow Management Systems
Cloud Architect

The year 2020 led millions of companies to shift to cloud services for business continuity and cost efficiency. According to Indeed, Cloud Architect came in among the best jobs based on highest average base salary and expected growth. This is a reflection of how this demand is sure to stay on even in 2021as more companies move to cloud platforms. Topped with this demand is also its good salary package, i.e., average salary of a cloud Architect is $106,100 year (US) and ₹1,897K / year (India).

What do Cloud Architects do?
  • Oversee the company’s cloud computing strategy
  • Responsible for deploying, managing, and supporting cloud applications
  • Bridge the gaps between complex business problems and solutions in the cloud
What to study
  • Bachelor of Science (BS) and/or Bachelor’s degree
  • Master of Science (MS) in Computer Science and/or Master’s Degree
  • Certificate course
Major subjects include
  • Cloud Computing Models
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Google Cloud Platform.
High demand skills
  • Operating system (Linux, Unix, Solaris, Ubuntu, Windows)
  • Networking (TCP/IP, IP addresses, HTTP, DNS.)
  • Programming Languages (Java, Perl, Python, and C#)
  • Security
  • Multi-cloud Architecture
  • Experience with scaling cloud applications
  • Collaboration and communication skills
Cybersecurity Skills

With cyber-attacks becoming more frequent, cybersecurity jobs have become a necessity, especially for companies dealing with large data online. The 2019/2020 Official Annual Cybersecurity Jobs Report showed 350% growth in open cybersecurity positions from 2013 to 2021. However, even as growth is seen, there is a huge gap in cyberspace talent as the NY Times reported a talent crunch with 3.5 million unfilled jobs globally by 2021. The good news is more and more companies and ramping up their security by increasing their budgets in cybersecurity.

What Cybersecurity Professionals do?
  • Safeguard files and network of the company
  • Install firewalls
  • Create security plans
  • Monitor activity
  • Identify problem (in case of breach) and find solution
What to study:
  • Bachelor of Science (BS), Bachelor of Technology (B. Tech) and/or Bachelor’s degree
  • Master of Science (MS) in Computer Science and/or Master’s Degree
  • Certificate/Diploma course
Major subjects include
  • Cyber Defence
  • Information Systems
  • Security Systems
  • Information Technology
  • Data Communications & Networking
  • Digital Forensics
  • Ethics, Law & Policy
Skills required
  • Problem Solving Skills
  • Fundamental Computer Forensics Skills
  • Understanding of Hacking
  • Technical Aptitude
  • Communication Skills
Mobile Application Developers

The mobile market share (worldwide) is recorded at 55.73% in December 2020, overtaking the desktop and tablet market share. The truth is that phones are no longer just ‘phones’ – they are now lifelines that combine everything from cameras and alarm clocks to being connected and updated with news and information. People spend 90% of their time on applications while using their phones. As businesses attempt to catch up with the changing trend, mobile technology is becoming more and more competitive, making Mobile Application Developers among the top in-demand skills in 2021.

What do cybersecurity professionals do?
  • Develop application programming interfaces (APIs)
  • Keep up to date with the terminology, concepts and best practices for coding mobile apps
  • Use and adapt existing web applications for apps
  • Constantly innovate app functionality and design
What to study
  • Bachelor of Science (BS), Bachelor of Technology (B. Tech) and/or Bachelor’s degree
  • Master of Science (MS) in Computer Science and/or Master’s Degree
  • Certificate/Diploma course
Major subjects include
  • Application Development
  • Security and hacking
  • Android studios
  • iOS development
  • Mobile application UI/UX Design
  • Web& Enterprise Technologies for mobile platforms
Skills required
  • Mobile User Interface Design
  • Backend computing
  • Modern Language Programming Skills (Java, objective- C, etc)
  • Creativity skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Mathematical aptitude

Given that these in-demand (tech) skills, here’s a look at globally ranked universities in Computer Science & Information Systems (based on two renowned ranking platforms- QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020: Computer Science & Information Systems, and THE World University Rankings 2021 by subject: computer science)

University Country QS ranking THE Ranking
Massachusetts Institute of Technology United States 01 03
Stanford University United States 02 02
Carnegie Mellon University United States 03 05
University of California, Berkeley United States 04 09
University of Oxford United Kingdom 05 01
University of Cambridge United Kingdom 06 06
Harvard University United States 07 07
EPFL Switzerland 08 =16
ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Switzerland 09 04
University of Toronto Canada 10 23
Princeton University United States 11 11
National University of Singapore (NUS) Singapore 12 08
Tsinghua University China (Mainland) 13 12
Imperial College London United States 14 10
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) United States 15 =16

As remote work becomes more real, companies across the globe scramble to adapt to the IT job market. This is an ideal time to consider one getting the in-demand skills while deciding on the subject/course you wish to undertake.

It’s a tech-first world and you need to be prepared for it, no matter what field you choose.

Find our more about most in-demand jobs in Canada in 2021.

Date added

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Global Employability


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