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The five hottest jobs in IT right now

16 May 2018 · Absolute IT

Tech professionals are a hot commodity in the current job market. With the increasing digitisation of many industries, digital leadership teams across New Zealand are ramping up their IT recruitment and job boards are full of excellent opportunities.

This skyrocketing demand has driven the national median base salary for digital professionals up by 13% over the last six months, from $71,000 in August 2017 to $80,000 as recorded at the end of February 2018.

From user experience gurus to data security pros, there’s an explosion of tech jobs at your fingertips – but which ones are worth pursuing?

Here’s our top five IT jobs with the hottest outlook for 2018:

UX Researcher:

A Day In The Life Of A UX Researcher

As a market analyst, designer and strategist rolled into one, UX researchers are curious about people and their behaviour. They’ll start with studying who the customers are and their needs, and use this information to inform the design of responsive websites, apps and digital interfaces.

A UX researcher is heavily involved in the initial research phase of a project. Drawing on the qualitative and quantitative methods in their UX toolkit, they’ll use interviews, diary studies, persona research, card sorting and usability testing to understand why a consumer will purchase one product over another.

UX Researcher

What Skills Do You Need To Be A UX Researcher?

An analytical and solutions-oriented mind is a must in the UX arena. As a master researcher, you won’t be afraid to ask “why” and dive into the detail. You’ll balance creative and critical thinking with ease – pinpointing both pain points and opportunities at every step of a user interaction.

Rapid prototyping should be a skill in every UX researcher’s arsenal. Based on your research outputs, you’ll be expected to mockup wireframes to map out anything from an app interface to a website’s menu navigation.

It’s easy to see why this IT job is such a valuable asset to any team. After all, a product won’t succeed if the user experience is confusing or clunky! Increasingly, companies are adopting a user-centric approach to product design – particularly in the tech sector. Products with sound UX perform better; in fact, design-centric businesses consistently outperform the industry average by more than double.

DevOps Engineer:

A Day In The Life Of A DevOps Engineer

Operating at the intersection of process design and software development, devops engineers are IT professionals who work with software developers, system operators and other IT staff members to manage code releases.

They are typically experienced developers with an interest in operations. A devops engineer draws upon their technical know-how and deep understanding of a business’s infrastructure to design an efficient deployment process. They’re equally familiar with open source technologies as they are with traditional coding languages such as JavaScript, Java, HTML, CSS and C code.

Devop Engineer

What Skills Do You Need To Be A Devops Engineer?

Not only do devops engineers evaluate existing applications and platforms, they also give recommendations for enhancing deployment performance via gap analyses, identifying the most practical solutions and assisting with risk management. To succeed in devops, you’ll need superior strategy skills and be naturally curious.

A skilled devops engineer will merge silos between software development and testing teams. Devop processes allow for the timely and accurate planning of projects – so expect to be in cahoots with project managers on a daily basis! Devops engineer are unflappable and will often juggle multiple urgent situations at one time.

Organisations using devops practices are incredibly high-functioning – they deploy code up to thirty times more frequently than their competitors and 50% fewer of their deployments fail, according to the 2017 State of DevOps report. It comes as no surprise that demand for this IT job is going through the roof.

Software Developer:

A Day In The Life Of A Software Developer

One of the more well-known IT jobs, a software developer designs and maintains computer software, websites and software applications.

Using their knack for problem solving, software developers feed into every step of the project – from capturing a client’s requirements, transforming these needs into a technical roadmap and ultimately writing a software programme that delivers to the client’s initial brief.

Fluent in a breadth of coding languages, including Java, C++, Smalltalk, Visual Basic, Oracle, Linux and .NET. PHP, software developers are constantly learning on the job, with technology changes happening at an ever-increasing pace.

In any given day, a software developer will liaise with designers on creative concepts, implement data security programs, test a software product in a staging environment or perform regular maintenance and bug fixing on an already-established software program.

Software Engineer

What Skills Do You Need To Be A Software Developer?

With software integrated into every aspect of a business, you better believe communication skills are more important than ever before! You’ll often be working in a cross-discipline team with minimal supervision and are expected to work with designers, UX experts and analysts.

A good developer has patience and persistence. Nothing is constant in the world of software, so you’ll need to be methodical, accurate and willing to take on the unknown.

Over the last five years, software development has consistently ranked in the top-three most in-demand roles from IT employers in New Zealand. If you’re seeking variety and challenge on the regular, this could be the tech job for you!

Product Owner

A Day In The Life Of A Product Owner

When it comes to Agile, product owners are considered the cream of the crop of communication management. Typically a project’s key stakeholder, the product owner has a vision of what they’d like to build and conveys that vision clearly to the Scrum (development) team.

The product owner manages the backlog, which is a prioritised features list for the product. At the end of each sprint, the product owner inspects the product progress and has complete authority to accept or reject the work completed.

While a product owner is not ‘on the tools’ when it comes to building a product, they should speak the technical team’s lingo and understand concepts vital to moving a project forward. A product owner must be in tune with the market, the customer and the business in order to make strategic decisions, particularly when prioritising the features in the product backlog.

Employers in New Zealand typically look for industry certifications. The most relevant Agile certifications for a Product Owner include:

  • Certified SAFe Agilist
  • Scrum Product Owner Certification

Product Owner

What Skills Do You Need To Be A Product Owner?

Relationship management and leadership are skills that underpin the product owner role. An expert communicator, the product owner should explain tech concepts in plain language to the product’s stakeholders.

Agile is all about embracing change, so the product owner is nimble and comfortable with working at a rapid pace while staying anchored to the project’s initial goal. They’re committed to building the best product possible – and that means being actively engaged with their teams.

Companies across all industries are investing heavily to develop software-intensive products and services. They want fast, iterative development in order to get quality products to market quickly. This is where the agile product owner shines – if you thrive in a deadline driven, fast paced environment, this IT job could be your calling.

Systems Engineer

A Day In The Life Of A Systems Engineer

Complex projects and systems engineering go hand in hand – think spacecraft design, computer chip design, robotics and software integration.

As big-picture thinkers, they determine the blueprint for operational systems and consider everything from engineering aspects to finer details like cost, schedules or social issues that may be associated with a project. These IT professionals work alongside data and project managers to overhaul systems, fix software malfunctions and improve performance through hardware upgrades.

The work doesn’t stop once a new system is embedded in an organisation – the system engineer will rigorously test, analyse and retest to maintain structural integrity.

Companies also need engineers to safeguard their systems against cyber attacks. A systems engineer will review a company’s online platforms and recommend the security measures required to protect sensitive data.

Systems Engineer

What Skills Do You Need To Be A Systems Engineer?

Most systems engineers have a background in mathematics, human systems, business or any field that develops logical thinking. While traditional engineers concentrate on the specifics of a system (electronics, mechanics, aerodynamics, software), the systems engineer focuses on the integration of all of these aspects as a coherent and functional system.

Collaboration is key – conflict resolution, analytical, and decision-making skills are crucial to the position. Solid experience in project life cycle management comes in handy too. Due to the complex nature of systems projects, tech employers rate soft skills as hugely valuable. 

Demand for this specialised IT skill set is continuously on the rise and the development of cloud platforms, data driven communications and evolving business technologies account for much of this growth.

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If you’re interested in exploring any of these IT jobs and would like more information about how to go about it, get in touch with us today or check out our latest job listings.