The presence of a skills shortage within New Zealand's technology sector is fairly well-publicised, however the extent of the situation was only recently accurately quantified.
The Digital Skills Forum is a coalition of industry associations and government organisations focused on identifying key issues surrounding ICT, high-tech and digital skills in New Zealand. At the end of last year, they released what they claim to be "the most comprehensive report on tech skills in a generation".
The report revealed that approximately 14,000 new jobs were created within the country's tech sector in 2016, and IT services related jobs in all sectors grew to exceed 72,000. Meanwhile, only 5,090 computer science and information technology students graduated in 20151.
So, with a clear deficit between the demand and supply for skilled homegrown tech workers, what fields are most in-demand?
Even other industry businesses may seek the skills of an AI developer.
There were 245 software developer roles unfilled in October 20171. This included artificial intelligence developers and user experience designers.
In 2017, Forbes magazine predicted that the massive productivity improvements available from the employment of AI would fuel demand for machine learning experts2. The Digital Skills Report expects the same for the New Zealand tech sector and encourages educational institutes to foster development of skills in this area.
Even other industry businesses may seek the skills of an AI developer for tools like website chatbots to automate customer service experiences, for example.
Read the Digital Skills for a Digital Nation Report – New Zealand https://t.co/fFi3tPMaU8
— USQ Digital Life Lab (@USQDigitalLife) February 11, 2018
For tech companies, architects represent the bridge between client requests and successful outcomes. That's why 161 architecture roles, including enterprise solution, Internet of Things, and application, cloud and infrastructure architects were advertised in 20161.
An architect takes a creative problem-solving role from the beginning of development through to completion. After meeting with clients, an architect will establish a framework and method of development to be followed and will oversee production. These roles may involve specific application development, interactions between multiple applications, or even the connection between a business' strategy and IT systems.
Engineers sit at the intersection of architects and developers.
Where developers may be more concerned by tackling individual problems with creative approaches, engineers are focused instead on applying scientific virtues to the overall development process. This means a higher level of problem-solving, addressing the completeness, correctness, reusability and maintainability of the solution.
With 127 vacant engineering roles reported1, demand for these skills is high, though more competitive than developers.
In the age of big data, effective analysis of data sets is crucial to most businesses' operations, meaning 108 roles were reported vacant1.
The role of an analyst or data scientist can involve identifying analytical problems within a business, determining correct data sets and variables, handling data and designing relevant algorithms. Moreover, the ability to extract and translate data into actionable missions for a business is what defines an effective analyst.
While these four skills fields are projected to be the most in-demand going forward, skills alone aren't always enough to secure your career. Get in touch with the team at 920 Career Agents for help seizing the best job opportunities.
1– New Zealand Digital Skills Forum, Digital Skills for a Digital Nation report.
2– Forbes, Machine Learning Is Creating A Demand For New Skills, June 2017.