In the IT industry, technologies change very frequently. So, continuously learning and updating your skillset is very important to stay competitive in the job market. A key part of this is identifying the most valuable skills which will help you in your professional growth.
So what are employers looking for in 2022?
Many of today's most in-demand IT skills align with trailblazing technologies like cloud computing, 5G technology, artificial intelligence/machine learning and DevOps.
Here are 5 IT skills to boost your resume this year:
1. Infrastructure as a Service & Cloud Networking
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) cloud platforms are in-demand for managing IT infrastructure.
Organizations are also taking advantage of these ready-to-use infrastructure services for managing their needs. These infrastructure cloud platforms are different from vendor to vendor. For example, leading cloud vendors like AWS , Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure each have their own proprietary process for infrastructure deployment, monitoring, maintenance and networking. So, it is very important to learn vendor-specific networking services and their management.
On the other hand, many organizations are now opting for hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructure deployment because they are cost-effective and aligned to organizational goals. Thus, it's worthwhile to understand the advanced networking concepts necessary to interact with different cloud infrastructures. This is another critical skill to manage multiple cloud deployments. (Also read: Hybrid Cloud: Benefits and Barriers.)
2. Container Management & DevOps
Container-based development has become very popular across various infrastructure and cloud platforms.
A container can be defined as a complete unit of software, including the code base, dependencies and runtime environment (RTE). This software package unit is lightweight, independent and executable. Containerized units can run on any computing environment and be based in any IT infrastructure. Container images become the holding container while it is executed at runtime. Containers help us decouple the software units from their environments. As a result, the software unit runs uniformly irrespective of its development environment.
The advantages of container-based development can be summarized as follows:
- Standardization. Container technology is quite standard in the IT industry; so the applications built on containers are portable.
- Safety and security. Container-based applications are safe and secure because the operating system (OS) is shared by multiple applications and thus a proper isolation strategy is implemented. Each application feels as though they have their own OS.
- Server efficiency. Containerized applications share the same host operating system. So, there is no need to have separate OS for each and every application. This improves the server usage and reduces licensing expenses.
Containers are different from virtual machines. Containers virtualize the operating system while virtual machines virtualize the underlying hardware. As a result, containers are more portable and server-efficient.
Containers are very popular in DevOps environment because they're easy to deploy across multiple cloud environments. So, DevOps professionals need to adopt container skills and include it in their DevOps workflow. (Also read: Pursuing a Job in DevOps: What Every Engineer Must Know in 2022.)
3. 5G Network Management
5G technology is going to disrupt traditional networking technologies. It has a tremendous potential to deliver new generations of high-speed services with low latency. The full potential of 5G networks can be realized when the processing can be done near the end user — which is popularly known as "edge computing."
Some of the skills relevant to 5G networking include:
- NFV and SDN technologies. Network functions virtualization (NFV) is one of the key aspects of 5G network infrastructure. NFV helps to achieve virtual network functions in place of a single physical network device. These virtualized network functions are responsible for connecting virtual machines. Additionally, software-defined networking (SDN) is responsible for making the network more agile and flexible. The SDN helps redefine the network architecture and meet 5G requirements. SDN is one of the key enablers of 5G infrastructure.
- Cloud-based networking. Cloud-based virtual networks are another important requirement for the growth of 5G networks. To get the full benefit of 5G, cloud-based networking is a must. Cloud-based virtual networks make 5G management simple and expansion easy. So, the combination of 5G and virtual cloud networks is another important skill to learn.
- Network-based DevOps. Continuous development and operation (DevOps) is important for advanced network operations. DevOps is a lean way of managing cloud-based virtual networks because it manages the network services, operations and life-cycle management.
- AI-enabled networks. In today's IT industry, automation is everywhere. So, network automation is also very important in the world of virtualization and the cloud. On a related note, artificial intelligence (AI) also plays an important role in network management. (Also read: What does 5G technology mean for AI?)
4. Infrastructure Security & The Zero-Trust Model
Infrastructure security is always a high priority for organizations. With the increase of data volume (e.g., big data), endpoints, interconnected devices and many more parameters, it becomes critical to ensure infrastructure security. (Also read: How to Protect Critical Infrastructure From Cyber Attack.)
In the case of a hybrid cloud model, data and the applications are distributed across boundaries — so securing data is even more complex. Thus, most organizations are investing more on new and emerging security tools and platforms, like:
- Zero-trust network access (ZTNA). ZTNA can be defined as a product/service to create identity- and context-based logical access boundaries around the application and data. Access to these resources is restricted through a trust broker, which verifies a user's identity, context and policies before allowing entry into a network.
- Endpoint protection platforms (EPPs). An EPP is a suite of security solutions deployed at the endpoint to prevent security threats. EPP solutions include technologies like anti-virus software, malware prevention, data loss protection and encryption.
- Cloud workload protection platforms (CWPPs). A cloud workload can be defined as all the network resources and processes required to run cloud applications. Cloud workloads must be secured uniquely to protect the cloud environment. CWPPs are built to secure the cloud workload — whether it resides in a private, public, hybrid or multi-cloud environment.
- Secure access service edge (SASE). SASE can be defined as a framework consists of cloud native security tools/technologies with WAN capabilities. It helps to connect users, endpoints and systems securely.
Artificial intelligence for IT operations (AIOps) is basically the implementation of AI capabilities in to IT service management. In the context of IT infrastructure, AIOps is primarily used to manage and monitor network traffic, device health, security and many more IT parameters.
With the evolution of IT infrastructure, the old static and pre-defined rule-based systems are no longer useful. Instead, AIOps uses machine learning algorithms and models to get real-time updates about infrastructural issues. As a result, corrective actions can be taken quickly and can be automated.
AIOps is mainly based on the following parameters:
- Data identification.
- Pattern identification.
- Root cause analysis (RCA).
In this age of digital transformation, IT infrastructure skills are in high demand and organizations are facing roadblocks due to the shortage of critical IT infrastructure skills. Moreover, the latest technology trends are cloud computing, AI/ML, IoT and edge computing — all of which are impacting the IT job market.
In short, the need of the hour is to learn and upgrade your skills to meet current industry requirements and get hired. (Also read: 6 Tips For A Standout IT Resume.)