New Report on High Demand Tech Skills Reflects Changing Industry Needs, Expectations

Posted By Terri Williams on April 21, 2016 at 1:53 pm
New Report on High Demand Tech Skills Reflects Changing Industry Needs, Expectations

Students considering a career in technology will face a drastically different set of expectations than their predecessors. Computer skills are still important, but in the 21st century, the definition of “tech skills” has been expanded to include salesmanship, fellowship, and leadership, among other soft skills.

In other words, employers now expect tech workers to collaborate with colleagues, mentor newbies, successfully pitch products and services, communicate effectively across social media platforms, analyze data to make sound decisions, and help to develop and improve their organization.

And even in the realm of traditional tech skills, some are in greater demand than others.

A recent report by Bentley University and Burning Glass provides a labor market analysis of career trends affecting technical workers. According to their data, below are the top skills:

Keyword/Skill Increase in demand Number of job openings
1 Social media 160% 115,004
2 Business development 50% 475,525
3 Data analysis 82% 278,514
4 SQL 49% 726,698
5 Mathematics 65% 261,243
6 Oracle 56% 565,002
7 SAP 39% 307,728
8 Sales 57% 890,710
9 Decision-making 87% 208,303
10 Collaboration 88% 225,885
11 Mentoring 73% 209,872
12 Process improvement 69% 209,771


“Technical” tech skills still rule

Although there’s an increased demand for well-rounded technical workers, pure technical skills still form the foundation for these jobs. Joe Devine, a partner at Bridge Technical Talent, an IT staffing firm in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, tells GoodCall, “SAP and Oracle sit atop Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) market share lists for nearly every industry sector, so it’s no surprise companies look for employees with these software skills.” Devine explains that according to a recent survey by Bridge Technical Talent and the Tech Collective of Rhode Island businesses, either Oracle or SAP was used by almost one-third of responding companies with 100 or more employees.

So how can college students (and recent graduates) gain experience?  Devine recommends internships and co-ops with large companies. “Try to find an internship that includes working directly with the ERP software; performing data entry, cleaning up data tables, or pulling reports.” He says this type of hands-on experience can help students become comfortable with the software while learning how to store and access data.

“Another option is to apply directly to either SAP or Oracle – both companies hire new college graduates and have great new employee training programs.”

Data science demand

“As our world becomes increasingly digital and companies in all sectors come to realize how important understanding data is to their growth, solving societal problems, and understanding consumers, employers are more and more demanding talent with the ability to apply relevant technology skills,” says Jason Moss, president and co-founder of Metis, which provides data science training in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, in addition to online training.

“In today’s economy, a company that doesn’t understand data is at a significant disadvantage – and having employees like data scientists who can explain data to those who don’t have a background in it is important,” Moss tells GoodCall. Plus, recent reports project that by 2018, close to 190,000 job postings for data scientists will go unfilled, according to Metis.

Terri Williams
Terri Williams graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her education, career, and business articles have been featured on Yahoo! Education, U.S. News & World Report, The Houston Chronicle, and in the print edition of USA Today Special Edition. Terri is also a contributing author to "A Practical Guide to Digital Journalism Ethics," a book published by the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola University Chicago.

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