When it comes to the most in-demand ICT jobs in 2018, cyber security roles lead the way.

As the former head of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) recently labelled Australia’s cyber security capacity as “relatively weak”, the need for cyber specialists is at an all-time high.

Regional Director at recruitment firm Hays, Robert Beckley, spoke to Information Age about employment trends in ICT, highlighting the impact cyber security concerns will have.

“More organisations are looking for cyber security experts because the implications of being attacked are far reaching, and the after effects can be devastating to a business and its customers,” he said.

“With the threat of a cyber-attack escalating in recent years, cyber security spend has increased dramatically."

Recent research published by research firm Gartner predicts global spending on cyber security to increase by 7% in 2018, growing to be a US$96.3 billion industry.

“As there has been a spate of well-publicised attacks recently, the hiring of these professionals will be on the rise.

“Security experts from Security Analysts to Architects will be sought as Australia adapts to the growing demand for improved security measures.”

The other big jobs

With Telstra having already switched on its Australia-wide Internet of Things (IoT) network, data is increasingly becoming a precious commodity.

Forbes predicted the IoT industry would grow from $US157b in 2016 to $US457b by 2020, with the amount of available data to grow alongside this.

And companies need people who can make sense of this data.

“Data without insight is of no value, which explains why we are seeing a sharp rise in Data Scientist and Data Analyst vacancies,” said Beckley.

“These professionals make sense of a business’ data, helping to turn zeros and ones into actionable insights, whether that’s changes in customer behaviour or new opportunities which haven’t yet been spotted by human eyes.”

He also outlined PHP, Drupal, Native iOS and Android and Microsoft SQL BI developers as other positions that are in high demand, as companies continue to adopt new technology.

Furthermore, a surge in digital transformations and compliance programs are driving need for Change Managers, Business Analysts and Project Managers, Beckley explained.

The impact of AI

With discussion continuing to circulate regarding automation and artificial intelligence (AI) taking jobs, Beckley believes this trend will provide opportunities for ICT workers.

“Automation will likely create new jobs across various industries and sectors including the technology sector,” he said.

“Any company seeking to improve efficiency through AI or machine learning will need to deploy experts in the tech industry to help them on-board the right solutions quickly and efficiently.”

While a recent report from global consultancy firm McKinsey found that one third of jobs could be automated by 2030, it’s physical occupations that are most at risk, leaving professions such as ICT to capitalise on the disruption.

“Further, with the advent of AI, a range of tech start-ups will need to recruit a readily available workforce.

“Temporary and contractor staff will benefit from the flexibility offered by these start-ups, and vice-versa.

“As we look ahead, we can expect more jobs for highly-skilled temporary and contract staff within the ICT sector.

“They will fill knowledge gaps and bring particular expertise that is difficult to find, can’t be automated or where permanent employees are not upskilling quickly enough.”