The global IT industry continues to grow at a rapid pace and it now accounts for an estimated $5 trillion of the international economy. Many companies have responded to this growth by expanding their in-house development teams and by collaborating with IT outsourcing services to hire costly specialists as-needed.

Business owners and executives interested in developing custom software must understand the most important development trends for the next several years, which include the continued growth of mobile applications, data science, and machine learning.

This guide will explain the most in-demand positions in the tech industry heading into 2020--including how each position can influence software development projects and impact a business' bottom line.

1. Software Development

Software developers continue to be one of the most in-demand types of IT workers. That's because the demand for custom software only increases every year. The total market for software development will be an estimated $481 billion in 2019 alone. 

Companies are responding to the rising demand for custom software by hiring software developers in large numbers. That's one reason why the unemployment rate for these specialists is at a historically low rate of 1.9%. This makes hiring experienced, full-time software engineers a major challenge.

Many businesses have responded to this hiring crisis by collaborating with IT software outsourcing companies to find contractors located outside of the United States. Many of these outsourcing partners ensure quality by only hiring the top talent in their region. 

VentureDive is one of the leading IT software outsourcing companies and a partner of choice for scale-ups and enterprises, due to its cost effective pricing and record of maximizing ROI within the clients' time and budget. A full-service custom software development & product design partner, VentureDive specializes in mobile app development, web development, cloud, product design, and data & analytics. It has deep expertise in creating software for a range of industries, including Financial Services, Healthcare, Mobility, Logistics, & On-demand Solutions. 

2. Web Development

Companies continue to search for web developers in droves. This trend is expected to continue indefinitely given the importance of websites to modern businesses. 

The most in-demand web developers are capable of building highly functional websites that can operate smoothly across a range of devices, including computers, tablets, and smartphones. Website programmers should also be capable of integrating dynamic effects, cross-browser compatibility, and SEO-friendly elements into their websites.

Prospective web developers should focus on mastering the JavaScript programming language. An estimated 95% of websites utilize it, making it the most in-demand skill for web developers. 

3. Mobile Applications 

Mobile apps have rapidly become a major revenue-generating tool for tech companies. The industry quickly grew from a small niche area to a field that is expected to generate more than $188 billion in revenue by 2020

The increased capabilities of modern smartphones, combined with increasing smartphone ownership numbers, means that the mobile developer is becoming one of the most in-demand positions in the tech industry.

The best mobile developers will be capable of building applications that run seamlessly on all of the major operating systems, including iOS and Android. They'll also increase customer engagement by thoroughly researching existing customers, competing products, and user design trends before finalizing their work. 

4. Data Scientist

Data scientists and business intelligence analysts just may be the most in-demand specialists in the IT industry within the next two decades. That's because data mining and analysis is becoming a requirement for businesses interested in positioning themselves for the future.

The global predictive analytics market is expected to top $12 billion by 2020, with an annual growth rate of more than 22%. Because of the lack of experienced data scientists and the salaries that they command, many companies opt to hire them as-needed through an IT outsourcing arrangement. 

Prospective data scientists should prepare themselves by studying computer science and advanced statistics. The best of these experts are capable of helping their clients increase efficiency, find new customers, and prepare for future market trends through predictive analysis. 

5. Machine Learning 

Machine learning is the most talked-about trend in information technology--for good reason. Machine learning combines important components of computer science, mathematics, statistics, and artificial intelligence into a single, powerful discipline. 

Companies are so excited about machine learning because it promises to automate so many tasks. Rather than write a program to carry out a specific task, computer engineers will soon be able to write an algorithm that will teach computers how to write their own programs. 

These computers should also be "intelligent" in the sense that they can learn from past interactions and improve their capabilities over time. 

Expect the demand for machine learning engineers to continue to rise as voice-activated assistants become more widespread. In addition, experts predict that machine learning will become fully integrated into the logistics, manufacturing, and retail industries within a short amount of time. 

6. User Experience Design

User experience (UX) design refers to the way that software functions for the end-user. Quality software should work seamlessly out-of-the-box and the end-user should not experience any frustration when using it.

Apple is one of the most well-known examples of quality UX design. The company not only creates beautiful products with an excellent user interface, but it also offers a great experience. First-time customers often note that there is little to no learning curve involved with Apple products. The company's success is a big reason why UX is so important today.

Companies of all sizes are looking for UX design experts for their development projects in order to increase customer satisfaction and create better quality software. The best UX designers will focus on mastering market research and viewing software from the customer's point-of-view.

7. User Interface Design

User interface (UI) design, on the other hand, refers to how a piece of software looks and feels. The user interface is what the customer sees when they first open the product. The audio streaming service Spotify is well-known for its striking and easy-to-navigate user interface. 

This position has become incredibly important over the past decade as consumers demand better-looking software from corporations. However, a lack of qualified workers has led many businesses to source these specialists from IT outsourcing companies.

Experienced UI experts are capable of creating truly beautiful software that works seamlessly. They'll pay special attention to designing a clean mobile layout, easy navigation, and clear fonts. 

8. Software Security

Software security is the single-most-important challenge facing tech executives today. That's because the number of data breaches continues to increase every year--with billions of sensitive consumer records being compromised. 

This data privacy crisis is the main reason why software security specialists are among the most in-demand IT workers in 2019. In addition, the expansion of the Internet of Things and cloud computing means that more and more data will be stored online, where it is ripe for theft.

Data privacy specialists should have a solid understanding of the software security trends in the industry, as well as the most popular software security methodologies used by tech companies.  Project managers should also ensure that these experts are consulted throughout every step of the software development lifecycle, from the goals and requirements stage through maintenance. 

9. Software Developer Engineer in Test

A software developer engineer in test is a specialized QA role that has been adopted by the tech industry over the past decade. These experts are capable of writing automated software that will proactively look for problems in software.

The title originated at software and was created to help their development team avoid embarrassing, buggy software and improve the quality of their products across-the-board. 

Modern software developer engineers in test are capable of assessing software performance across a range of devices, including desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. They are also customer-focused and will serve as a crucial consumer advocate during the final stages of the development lifecycle. 

10. Manual Testers

Manual testers do not require the same skillset or independent reasoning skills as software developer engineers in test, but they fulfill a crucial role nonetheless.

These workers do not need to know any specialized testing tools, although they do need to have a solid understanding of the development process. They are simply responsible for manually testing software from the customer's point of view without any automation tools. 

Manual testers will help identify broken pathways, frustrating software layouts, and other defects. In order to do this, they'll need to complete black and white box testing, unit testing, and system testing. 

In Summary

The global tech field is one of the largest industries on the planet--largely as a result of increased demand for custom software and mobile applications. Companies of all sizes have responded to this growth by doubling their hiring efforts and building in-house development teams.

However, the demand for tech workers currently outpaces supply. As a result, many businesses are turning to IT outsourcing partners to hire costly specialists as-needed. These experts include software and mobile developers, software security experts, data analysis and machine learning specialists, and more.

Managers should focus their in-house hiring and outsourcing efforts on the positions explored in this article. This will help ensure that their team builds high-quality custom software that meets all customer expectations.

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