In another month of mixed signals for tech employment, hiring within the technology sector was up but tech employment across all occupations took a step back, according to CompTIA's latest tech jobs report for April.
The report, based on CompTIA's analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, found tech companies added 18,795 workers in April, the largest total since last August. However, throughout the economy tech occupations declined by 99,000 positions.
At the same time, employer job postings for tech positions surpassed 300,000 in April, a level last reached in October 2022.
"This step back was largely expected after a sustained period of growth in technology positions, and the pause is likely to be temporary as job postings for tech positions topped 300,000 for the first time this year," said Seth Robinson, vice president of industry analysis for CompTIA.
Within the technology sector, there were employment gains in technology services, cloud infrastructure, and technology manufacturing.
Robinson noted that while hiring may focus on a wide range of both technical and non-technical positions at these organizations, two common priorities across all companies are software development and data management/analysis, as companies try to improve the solutions they are building and the insights that come from corporate data.
"Tech hiring is moving back up again after dipping in the second half of 2022," he said. "It is difficult to say exactly how hiring will play out given many other macroeconomic trends, but the prioritization of digital transformation as a strategy for resiliency will likely result in relatively strong hiring and relatively low-tech unemployment rates."
Demand Is High for Data Analytics and Cybersecurity Professionals
Robinson advises technology workers to remain aware of changes in the economy that could suddenly change hiring intentions, but they should also recognize that areas of high demand such as data analytics or cybersecurity are likely to face supply shortages for the foreseeable future.
"Building skills in those areas will help candidates remain competitive even as the economic winds change," he said. "Several areas within technology are expected to greatly outpace the overall employment growth rate over the next 10 years."
Data management and analytics, which includes database administrators, data engineers, data analysts, and data scientists, is expected to grow 266% by 2033.
Following close behind is the field of cybersecurity, which includes cybersecurity analysts, penetration testers, and compliance officers. Expected growth in cybersecurity is 242% by 2033.
"Other jobs in technology, including many roles within software development and infrastructure management, may not see growth that it quite as dramatic, but they are still projected to grow above the national rate as organizations must invest in all facets of digital systems to meet long-term objectives," Robinson noted.
Expect Growth in AI-Specific Jobs
Robinson pointed out that generative AI and large language models (LLMs) are capturing attention thanks to the potential they offer as a platform for new solutions.
"While most businesses may not build their own application on top of an LLM, many will explore building on top of tools provided by other firms," he said.
This means that there will be some growth in AI-specific jobs that involve building new algorithms and training datasets, but there will be many more existing jobs that evolve to incorporate skills related to working productively with AI-enabled systems.
Other IT skill areas experiencing growth in recent months beyond cybersecurity and data analytics include cloud and automation, as pioneering organizations are combining automation technologies such as Ansible with machine learning.
After a year of mass layoffs from tech giants from Meta to Microsoft, fear of missing out on the AI wave is in fact boosting jobs in Silicon Valley.
About the authorNathan Eddy is a freelance writer for ITPro Today. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin.