In a recent article we had exposed the statistics inherent in the expansion, worldwide, of professions related to the “Information Technology” field.

Today we’ll delve into the specifics by briefly analyzing what are, according to a report compiled earlier this year by Randstad USA (an American provider of human resources and personnel services), the top-rated IT professions and the skills needed to access them.

  • Big Data Engineer and Data Scientist.The data processing skills typical of these two professions are in high demand, as the ability to work with large amounts of information is essential in order to guide business strategies. The Big Data Engineer, mainly, deals with the development and maintenance of the technological architecture of an enterprise by managing large-scale data base systems (Big Data), nodes and clusters. The Data Scientist, on the other hand, has the role of filtering and organizing data by outlining statistics, operating on algorithms and designing new business models. He is an expert in data mining – the ability to extract useful information from large amounts of data – and of machine learning, i.e. a method that provides the computer with the ability to automate the creation of analytical models, thus learning without being explicitly programmed. Big Data Engineer and Data Scientist are therefore two different profiles that have in part common knowledge; working side by side they allow the company to navigate among millions of data, making simple some complex decisions and providing predictive analysis aimed at maximizing results. They are among the highest-paid people in the IT industry.
  • Full-stack developers. The full-stack developer, conceptually could be translated to “Full-stack developer”. A stack data structure is a type of data structure that a program can implement and use for its own operation; the full-stack developer knows how to operate on all the layers present and consequently create a complete product. Currently, web services are offering experiences that are increasingly similar and interconnected to mobile apps, businesses are moving away from traditional platforms, and therefore the demand for developers who are able to have an overview and blend front and back end skills with PHP, Python, Node.JS and HTML/CSS experience is only increasing.
  • IoT Engineers. The internet of things is continuously expanding -we are already surrounded by networked and interconnected tools such as computers, cell phones, consoles, smartTv etc- and according to most of the experts in the field “smart objects” will radically change our lifestyle thanks to the “decision-making ability” that distinguishes them and will allow us to save energy at a private and macro level, as in the case of smart city and smart grid. On the other hand, there are those who do not agree with this rosy vision of the future and perceive the evolution underway as a dangerous siege to privacy, recalling how these objects are similar to many small “spies” able to see, record, process and influence our every habit. And if this is now true for smartphones, computers and smartTvs, it will probably soon be true for a large number of other everyday tools. Among these, for example, we could include in the near future the automated car connected to the network (there are already many prototypes) that, in the unfortunate (but potentially possible) case in which it were to end up under the control of malicious hackers could embody a serious threat to physical safety. Be that as it may, beyond more or less motivated enthusiasms and fears, Gartner Inc. -a multinational corporation and world leader in strategic consulting, research and analysis in the field of Information Technology- predicts that by 2020 there will be 20 billion (compared to about 8 billion today) of connected devices all over the planet, and it is one of the most morigerent forecasts, since other institutes speak of 100 billion! It is therefore legitimate to foresee a steady increase in the demand for IT specialists able to manage, analyze and protect “intelligent devices”, channeling and interpreting the data flows contained in them in order to obtain information valid for the strategic orientation and economic growth of companies and individuals.
  • VR/AR Engineers. Virtual and Augmented Reality are making waves in Gaming, but thanks to specific applications and tools -such as the latest version of Google Glass- they will be increasingly adopted in the working field. In the CAD design sphere, for example, with the new and already validated augmented reality applications, engineers will be able to visualize their models in the real world, and stakeholders involved in the analysis process will be able to interact with the project to better evaluate its size, scale factor and aesthetics. All of this will save a great deal of time and money, and greatly simplify the task of gathering useful feedback from stakeholders across the department/organization. According to Gartner’s predictions, augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed solutions will account for 20% of the total slice inherent in enterprise digital transformation plans by 2020. This explains why IT professions related to VR and AR are already among the most popular.
  • Architects/Security Engineers. The cybersecurity engineer role has become critical since the internet, and with it the threat of viruses and malware, entered our lives. As technology advances and virtual storage, exchange and communication systems pervade individual and corporate daily life, the amount of data entrusted to the network increases exponentially. In addition, the availability of objects that are physically distant but at the same time part of the same project or company requires increasingly secure protocols. Within the modern collaboration model based on the absence of disciplinary and geographical boundaries, the security engineer will have to guarantee protection both of the data network and of the intellectual property. A very current role, therefore, that requires great preparation and responsibility.

We’ve seen how the skills required to fill the ever-increasing IT roles vary from sector to sector, but there are undoubtedly some basic common characteristics, such as in-depth IT development and programming skills with relevant certifications. In addition to technical/theoretical expertise, however, a unique set of skills that no university can teach are often assessed for hiring purposes; they’re called “soft skills,” and they’re essential for contributing to the harmony and success of a company: empathy, social intelligence, critical thinking, autonomy, confidence, flexibility, stress resistance, resilience… just to name a few. Recruiters, especially in large, successful companies, know the importance of these “X-factors” and take special note of them. That’s why it can happen that a candidate with an “excellent resume” can sometimes be overtaken by someone with a lesser background who has one or more of the aforementioned innatequalities.

In conclusion, here are the questions that three different business leaders like to ask point-blank during interviews. Quirky questions, not at all related to computer skills, but on whose answers the careers of aspiring employees depend.

“Are you the smartest person you know?” Larry Ellison, executive chairman of Oracle.

“Tell me something that’s true, but that almost no one agrees with.” Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal.

“What haven’t you had a chance to include about yourself on your resume?” Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group.

You have the answers!

Marcello Argenti