This time last year, we were just going into the first UK national lockdown. We were a bit miffed about Easter being “cancelled” and about not being able to enjoy pub beer gardens as the sunshine made an appearance. We thought we were going to be spending 2 weeks at home, “beat the virus”, then move on with our lives. We donned our stiff upper lips, sang Happy Birthday (twice) whilst washing our hands, and we worried a bit about loo roll and pasta.
Well, here we are a year later. Thankfully we’re a little less concerned about loo roll, and we are feeling more optimistic about Easter and beer gardens, but it’s fair to say our lips are a little less stiff and we now live in a world that has been changed immeasurably over the course of events that overtook 2020 and the first quarter of 2021.
The last year has been tough on many for lots of reasons. We have noticed a lot of people have found themselves feeling a little like their careers have been derailed when plans for promotion or the next step on the career ladder has hit a bit of a brick wall.
It’s always upsetting to have hopes dashed, least of all during the isolation of lockdown and without physical shoulders to cry on. In addition to feeling like the future was on hold, many have also had to contend with anxiety and stress in relation to the present. Redundancies, furlough, remote working, salary cuts. For many, their career path has felt out of their control, and for others, it just didn’t feel like the right time to be job hunting.
Take back control of your career
It’s so important to remember that while there are many external circumstances and events we have no control over, we are still in control of our reactions. Ownership of your career still lies very much in your own hands.
The three national lockdowns have given many of us a lot of time to take stock of our lives and careers and we’ve heard really often that people have realised, actually, they aren’t happy or fulfilled in their jobs. Many of us have realised we have been experiencing burn out, but have been too burned out to notice. All this time and upheaval has presented an opportunity for change.
Is it time to pivot?
As well as a newly discovered internal motivation to instigate change, there are also many external factors in the IT jobs market that have contributed to a need or desire to change career direction.
The pandemic, and the changes to our society, infrastructure and how and where we work has transformed the skills profile of many jobs in the tech sector. The challenges presented by the pandemic, social distancing, lockdowns and remote working called for new skills, or rather skills in a new order of priority.
UX, Digital Marketing and eCommerce roles are increasingly available
The rapid acceleration of digitisation resulted in a huge increase in demand for IT professionals who could help deliver rapid change. The need for retailers to totally reinvent themselves and how they interacted with their customers necessitated a switch almost overnight to an exclusively digital sales and marketing strategy, and rapid development of e-commerce platforms. There’s been an increase in eCommerce web development, UX and IT technician roles to design, build and oversee the extensive infrastructure required to run an eCommerce operation.
Skills you may need for UX and eCommerce development roles: collaboration and being a team player, wireframing and UI prototyping, UX writing, coding, experience working with payment platforms, social PayPal, Amazon, eBay, Google checkout, Facebook, YouTube, Google Analytics, experience of multiple content management systems and eCommerce platforms.
Cybersecurity roles are set to continue to grow
The pandemic also placed a greater emphasis on the need for Cybersecurity talent. Distraction provides a perfect opportunity for criminals to do their thing – and 91% of businesses have faced increased cyber-attacks amidst the pandemic.
The pressure on organisations to speed up digital transformation, and the increased risks from remote working, meant cyber really took a front seat in 2020 and this is a trend that is set to continue.
In a post-pandemic world, we will be increasingly reliant on technology to keep us connected. Remote working is expected to continue long after lockdowns are finished, with hybrid working being the new normal.
Skills you need to bag a cyber role: The most in-demand cyber skills that you should be looking to have under your belt are network, web and cloud security, InfoSec and security architecture.
Cloud skills are in demand
A further specialism we have identified as a rapid growth area as a direct result of the pandemic is Cloud. COVID has accelerated consumer demand for cloud services, for obvious reasons, and organisations have to push the pedal to the metal in order to keep up.
Skills you need to build to break into Cloud: Tech republic have ordered the top Cloud skills as: Azure, AWS, Google Cloud, cloud fundamentals, Orchestration (Kubernetes), cloud infrastructure, compute resources, cloud migration, and virtualization.
New opportunities are waiting for you
With opportunities in specialisms like UX, eCommerce, cloud computing and cybersecurity abundant, and these trends set to continue, if it’s a change of scenery you’re looking for, you would be hard-pressed to find more relevant areas to upskill and transition into.
We are always interested in talking to quality candidates about their career aspirations and how we might be able to provide insight, advice and opportunities.
For a taste of the kind of roles we are currently looking to hire for, check out our current vacancies.