11 Tech Skills In Short Supply Now

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In the ever-evolving world of IT, do you have what it takes to stay relevant, or are you headed toward extinction? Here’s a look at the top 11 tech skills IT leaders say are demand today. 

When it comes to tech jobs, staying relevant comes down to having the right skills at the right time. According to the 2016 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO survey, big data and analytics are leading the top 11 tech skills that are in demand for a second consecutive year.

But there are a number of other skills that make up the list, one of which is a newcomer. This year digital skills moved up to the No. 11 spot from No. 13 as demand for chief digital officers rise.

Digital skills pushed testing skills off the top 11 list, according to the survey of 3,352 CIOs and technology leaders in 82 countries who were asked, “Which functions do you feel suffer from a skills shortage?”

“Because, like other innovations, there are so many software advances in automating testing, so it is less of a focus than other skills,” Bob Miano, president and CEO of Harvey Nash USAPAC, told InformationWeek. “Testing does not make you money, unless it breaks. Now, we have all these scripts that do the testing for you.”

While the 11 skills on the list have largely remained in place for a number of years, the ranking shifts from year to year. For example, data analytics may drop down in ranking two years from now while some other skills move up on the list.

“In this field, nothing falls off the cliff,” Miano said. “The marketplace works in an evolutionary mindset.”

Here’s a look at the top 11 skills that are in demand for 2016 and how that demand has shifted over the previous year.

Big Data Analytics

Big data analytics has remained the most in-demand skill for the past two consecutive years. And its popularity has increased further in 2016 with 39% of those surveyed saying they believe their organizations is suffering a skills shortage in the area, compared to 36% the previous year. The amount of data is massive and the ability to look at it and have predictive buying trends is something that will continue to keep this skill in demand for a long period of time.

Project Management

Project Management skills, while No. 2 on the list, dropped slightly in demand this year compared to last year, with 32% of respondents saying that there is a shortage in their organizations versus 34% who said the same thing in 2015. Companies always need project managers, but there are other skill sets that they need more .

Will there be a day when demand for project managers falls off the top 10? “I don’t see that,” noting there will always be a need to oversee people, plan projects, and the like. He added it would be way too drastic for demand for project management skills to drop to the top 15.

Business Analysis

The demand for business analysis skills dipped from 29% in 2015 to 28% in 2016, but  the “decline is not significant.” He noted that there will always be a need for people to research what an end-user is thinking, gather information, and articulate the results so programmers can create something.

This skill calls for looking at a workload (what type of work is being requested by a user), and then diagraming it and developing a solution. It addresses such issues as: What steps are involved from point A to B? Where to get data? What do input and output look like?

Business analysts do not need to be technical with programming skills, but they need to be able to document information and demonstrate interpersonal skills. Business analysts then hand over the information to programmers, who code it.

Software Development

Demand for software developers and programmers remained flat in 2016 over 2015, with 27% of respondents saying there is shortage of the skill in their organizations each year.  C# and Java are still in great demand. This scarcity fuels the need for software developers, and makes the skill No. 4 on the list.

Enterprise Architecture

The enterprise architecture skill attracted the same demand in 2016 as it did in 2015, with 27% of respondents saying there is demand in the area. The person with this skill looks at apps, where they run, and what platform they are running on from a logical perspective, versus a technical one. While a technical architect deals with only the hardware framework, an enterprise architect is more focused on the application side of the business and how apps communicate with one another.

Technical Architecture

The three-point increase — from last year’s 24% to 27% in 2016 — in demand for technical architects is considered a large increase, said Miano. He attributed the jump in demand to the cloud, noting that this position likely encompasses the cloud. “You will need a technical architect to talk about the cloud, and this is the only place where the cloud fits in”.

A technical architect will build IT systems using various types of platforms, programming languages, and private or public clouds.

Security And Resilience

Demand for security and resilience workers shot up a whopping four percentage points — 23% to 27% — from 2015 to 2016.

“Cyber-security is huge, you see banks brag about the resiliency of your funds.” Banks use this ability as a marketing tool, stressing that their IT systems are resilient and won’t delay customers’ transfers of funds. In the disaster and recovery business, otherwise known as business recovery, a resilient system will do such things as automatically copy or mirror data from one system and transfer it to another, often in real-time.

Change Management

Change management, which dropped two percentage points — from 27% in 2015 to 25% in 2016 — is the least sexy skill on the list, but always one that is needed.

This skill is one that is usually possessed by managers or software developers, and is responsible for such tasks as introducing new modules for production and running a new app through testing into production.


IT Strategy

IT strategy is a skill that has seen a two percentage point increase — 22% to 24% — in demand this year over last year. While the skill is usually possessed by a CIO or CTO,  enterprise architects or technical architects may also bring this skill to the table.

Mobile Solutions

Demand for mobile solutions skills edged down one percentage point from 24% in 2015 to 23% this year. we attributed this shift to a greater supply of people who have these skills.

“This shortage has passed. Before, it was who knows iOS and Android, but now it is not a big challenge to find people with familiarity with iOS and Android, said Miano. IT workers with mobile solutions skills typically work on tablets, iPhones, iOS, and Android for devices, he noted. Folks with this skill may also build apps to interface with organizations with a mobile device within the framework.


Chief digital officer is one of those up-and-coming job titles that has helped propel demand for digital skills. The digital skill saw a four percentage point increase, from 19% in 2015 to 23% in 2016. “A CDO, for example, is someone in the organization that takes information from different sources and then monetizes it”. “They will use different platforms to generate revenue.”