The 10 most in-demand tech jobs for 2021 — and how to hire for them

As companies scramble to adapt to a tight IT job market, they’re doing whatever they can to attract top tech talent. For some that means getting a head start in filling this year’s most in-demand roles, which range from data-focused to security-related positions, according to Robert Half Technology’s 2021 IT salary report .

Source: The 10 most in-demand tech jobs for 2021 — and how to hire for them

As companies scramble to adapt to a tight IT job market, they’re doing whatever they can to attract top tech talent. For some that means getting a head start in filling this year’s most in-demand roles, which range from data-focused to security-related positions, according to Robert Half Technology’s 2021 IT salary report. The survey also reveals the average salaries for each role based on experience.

While Robert Half Technology acknowledges a lot will impact a company’s starting salary, including competition, location, corporate culture, and budgets, there are certain things you can look for to make sure you land the talent you want. Here are 10 jobs expected to be in demand for 2021, the skills and experience you should look for and the average salary you’ll want to pay to stay competitive.

The 10 most in-demand tech jobs for 2021

Job25th percentile50th percentile75th percentile95th percentile
Security professional (information, systems, network, data, cloud)$124,250 (information); $100,000 (systems); $105,500 (network); $112,500 (data)$149,000 (information); $120,500 (systems); $124,500 (network); $134,000 (data)$179,000 (information); $143,500 (systems); $148,250 (network); $159,750 (data)$213,000 (information); $168,500 (systems); $174,500 (network); $190,000 (data)
Cloud architect$121,000$146,000$174,500$202,250
Database administrator$79,750$100,750$120,500$160,000
Programmer analyst$88,750$109,500$131,000$154,500
Systems analyst$81,250$96,500$115,500$136,750
Mobile applications developer$112,750$135,750$161,750$189,750
Network administrator$78,500$95,250$113,500$133,500
Software developer$97,250$118,250$138,000$165,000
DevOps engineer$97,000$120,000$143,000$184,750
Help desk and desktop support professionals$35,250 (tier 1); $41,500 (tier 2); $50,750 (tier 3)$40,500 (tier 1); $50,000 (tier 2); $60,500 (tier 3)$47,500 (tier 1); $56,500 (tier 2); $72,250 (tier 3)$57,250 (tier 1); $67,000 (tier 2); $82,000 (tier 3)
  • 25th percentile: entry-level workers or those in industries with less competition
  • 50th percentile: “average experience,” a job with “average complexity,” or work in industry with moderate competition
  • 75th percentile: above average experience, strong skills, certifications, a more complex role or work in a “fairly competitive” industry
  • 95th percentile: significant experience, certifications, specializations, high level of expertise, work in a strategic and highly complex role or in a highly competitive industry for talent

Security professional (data, information, network, systems, cloud)

Data, information, systems, network, and cloud security professionals are in demand as businesses increasingly rely on data for everyday business operations. These IT professionals ensure that enterprise IT initiatives remain safe from potential threats inside and outside the organization. They’re also tasked with keeping on top of industry compliance regulations and future security trends, and ensuring the business’s hardware, software, and networks remain secure.

Skills and experience to look for:

  • Ability to communicate and implement security policies and procedures
  • Managing security audits, threats, and vulnerabilities
  • Experience with security systems and documenting failures and other incidents
  • Knowledge of compliance laws and regulations for the industry

Cloud architect

Cloud architects oversee the company’s cloud computing strategy and are responsible for deploying, managing, and supporting cloud applications. Cloud architects typically have a strong understanding of multiple operating systems in addition to networking, programming, and security skills. Businesses should look for individuals with a strong knowledge of cloud services such as Amazon Web Services, as well as experience with ITSM, I&O, governance, automation, and vendor management.

Skills and experience to look for:

  • Knowledge of state-of-the-art cloud technologies and architectural principles
  • Experience with scaling cloud applications
  • Understanding of cost, performance, and architecture of cloud systems
  • Collaboration and communication skills

Database administrator

A database administrator (DBA) is responsible for maintaining the software used to manage a database and ensuring the data is easily accessible to those who need it. DBAs ensure that servers remain efficient and operational while overseeing data security, implementation, replication, backup, storage, access, and partitions. You’ll want to hire someone who can not only monitor your servers, but who will also be able to optimize performance and who can be on call in case of emergency.

Skills and experience to look for:

  • Bachelor’s degree in CS or an associate’s degree in database administration
  • Background in IT work or database administration
  • Oracle, Linux, and SQL skills
  • Data analysis and management and reporting skills

Programmer analyst

A programmer analyst is responsible for designing, coding, and testing new programs along with providing detailed documentation of the process using flowcharts and diagrams. These IT pros are tasked with designing programs based on client requirements and determining how much it will cost to build, while working closely with project managers. Programmer analysts also handle debugging and troubleshooting information systems and application programs. You’ll want to look for someone with experience as a systems analyst and computer programmer because the role of programmer analyst is a combination of the two.

  • Bachelor’s degree in CS, IT, or relevant field
  • Experience in programming
  • Knowledge of programming languages such as Java, Java Script, C, C++, and .NET
  • Communication and interpersonal skills to work with departments and vendors

Systems analyst

Systems analysts design techniques to help solve business problems by analyzing IT systems in the organization. They’re responsible for investigating issues and problems and fixing them as efficiently and in a cost-effective manner. Systems analysts need to test programs and databases to make sure they’re working efficiently, and they also need to run security audits and create and maintain documentation on systems in the organization. You’ll want to look for candidates who can think creatively and who have strong communication and problem-solving skills.

  • Bachelor’s degree in CS, IT, engineering, or IS
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Data analysis and programming skills
  • Experience with business and technical analysis as well as project management

Mobile applications developer

Developing mobile applications requires extensive knowledge of the various mobile platforms currently available and how to develop applications that will work on Android, iOS, Windows, and other operating systems. Mobile applications developers typically have experience in programming, UX design, troubleshooting and debugging programs, and development. You’ll want a candidate who can design mobile applications with a user-friendly interface and who can collaborate across departments to design, test, release, and support mobile applications.

  • Bachelor’s degree in CS or relevant field
  • Some experience in mobile development
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Knowledge of iOS, Android, Objective C, HTML, XML, JavaScript

Network administrator

Network administrators are responsible for handling LAN/WAN protocol, software, and hardware. This position involves a lot of time spent troubleshooting, and network administrators typically need to be on call in case of an emergency or failure. What you look for in experience will depend on how extensive your network needs are, but there are certain skills and certifications that can help you find the most qualified workers.

Skills and experience to look for:

  • Troubleshooting and communication skills
  • Analytic and diagnostic skills
  • A willingness to be on call after hours
  • Professional certifications

Software developer

Software developers are responsible for designing, developing, installing, testing, and maintaining software systems. The job requires coding, designing, and building applications, websites, or mobile apps, working with multiple programming languages such as C#, C++, HTML, Java, Microsoft .NET, and SQL Server. Developers need to be able to understand client requirements and be able to provide recommendations for improving web, software, and mobile applications to ensure they meet user needs.

Skills and experience to look for:

  • Knowledge of multiple programming languages
  • Analytical and technical skills
  • Strong communication skills
  • Bachelor’s degree in computer science
  • Two-year associate degree with certifications, bootcamps, and prior work experience

DevOps engineer

DevOps practices encourage faster code deployment with fewer deployment failures, so more companies are hiring engineers with DevOps experience to oversee coding, scripting, and processes development. DevOps engineers often manage IT infrastructure, provision resources, oversee software testing, and monitor performance after release. These workers help simplify code updates, enabling companies to continuously tweak and improve processes in the organization for maximum efficiency.

Skills and experience to look for:

  • Coding and scripting skills
  • Automation, data management, and IT operations skills
  • Deep understanding of DevOps best practices
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills

Help desk and desktop support professionals

For customer-facing businesses, the help desk is an important part of running an efficient business. As the first line of defense for customer service and troubleshooting, help desk workers need to have the right technical and soft skills for the job. Robert Half Technology breaks out the role of help desk technician into three tiers, given that the job description and requirements can vary significantly based on the business.

Skills and experience to look for:

  • Tier 1: for entry-level positions that require less than two years of experience, an associate degree, or coursework at a technical school
  • Tier 2: for positions requiring two to four years of experience, a two-year or bachelor’s degree, and relevant work experience
  • Tier 3: four or more years of experience in a help desk setting, bachelor’s degree in a related field, and professional certifications