IT Career Trends and Predictions 2024 From Industry Insiders

From the impact of AI to the changing role of the CISO, IT leaders and industry insiders share their IT career and workforce trends and predictions for 2024.

Rick Dagley

January 24, 2024

16 Min Read
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How will the workforce — and the IT workforce in particular — change in 2024? How will AI reshape work — will it replace jobs or create new ones in 2024? Will more businesses demand that their employees come back to the office?

These are just a few of the career questions IT leaders and industry insiders attempt to answer here, as part of ITPro Today's 2024 prediction series. They have already made their predictions about security, AI, cloud computing, open source, software development, data analytics and management, and more in 2024:

Below are their predictions about IT career trends — and workforce trends in general — in 2024.

Tech Industry's Predictions About IT Careers in 2024

AI-Assisted Programming Will Reward Higher Level Skills

AI-assisted programming is going to reward software developers who focus on higher level skills: software architecture, understanding users' requirements, thinking about how to solve problems, and, of course, testing. But I don't think there will be any new job titles. There will be a shift in the skills needed — away from low-level coding and toward higher level thinking. — Mike Loukides, Vice President of Emerging Tech Content, O'Reilly Media

Related:Top 10 IT Career Stories of 2023

Demand for AI/ML Talent to Swell

The demand for AI and machine learning talent will continue to surge in 2024, as businesses increasingly integrate AI not just into their products, but into their operational frameworks. Apart from foundational skills in machine learning, statistics, and programming, expect an increased demand for expertise in domain-specific AI applications and AI governance. — Evan Welbourne, Head of AI and Data, Samsara

Generative AI Will Create New Job Opportunities in 2024

Innovation and automation will transform how individuals perform certain tasks, yet open new roles across various industries. In fact, ServiceNow's research with Pearson found that 1 million additional full-time roles will be created to support the implementation of emerging technologies in the U.S. retail industry. That's an amazing opportunity for cashiers or sales floor associates with solid foundational knowledge of the industry to be reskilled for the technical roles that will be needed. As new generative AI solutions and tools emerge, organizations should provide more learning pathways for all workers to grow their skills and technical expertise. — Amy Regan Morehouse, Senior Vice President, Global Education and RiseUp, ServiceNow

Unexpected and Transferrable Soft Skills Will Be in Most Demand Throughout 2024

The demand for "human" skills will only continue to rise because of emerging technology and automation. Holistic skills — communication, collaboration, analytical thinking, and innovation — will be critical for new technical roles created by AI. Curiosity will also rise as the No. 1 skill needed. According to ServiceNow's research with Pearson, 71% of U.S.-based admin assistants are strong candidates for help desk agent and similar roles. Bringing together information to solve challenges and asking the right questions will be critical as generative AI and prompting will continue to be more prevalent in the new year. Companies should offer flexible learning models and curriculum for individuals to upskill or reskill and build in-demand, adaptable skill sets rather than just earning traditional credentials. — Amy Regan Morehouse, Senior Vice President, Global Education and RiseUp, ServiceNow

Remote Work Will Be Redefined

As remote work practices mature, employers in 2024 will focus on interpersonal connections and impactful results aimed at redefining team engagement and productivity. Companies will place a premium on enhanced collaboration and camaraderie with an emphasis on cultivating a sense of belonging within teams, coupled with the adoption of a result-oriented mindset. The new paradigm is all about measuring outcomes comprehensively, instilling a culture that prioritizes tangible achievements from top to bottom.— Aniket Shaligram, VP Technology, Talentica Software

2024 Is the Year of the Digital Worker

As impactful as generative AI was throughout 2023, expect to see even more momentum in 2024 as businesses take a look at how to implement AI solutions into their day-to-day operations.While LLMs will surely drive a quantum leap in interactive applications that will eventually transform the way we work, in 2024 we'll likely see an explosion in how many businesses experiment with turnkey AI solutions that bring the power of "digital workers" into their current operations for more immediate results. Think about it this way: AI digital workers can do today's messy and expensive back office work at accuracy and automation rates previously unheard of, and even surface new opportunities for automation, because they learn from the unique datasets in those tasks and are designed to improve the outcomes. Digital workers thrive on the constant variations in human-generated content that create such problems for the current generation of automation technology in the market today.Brian Weiss, Field CTO, Hyperscience

Accelerated Onboarding for Junior Staff

AI won't replace junior-level IT positions in 2024; rather, it will accelerate the onboarding process, making these roles potentially more impactful sooner. Many companies have hesitated to hire junior programmers due to the time investment required to make them productive in the long term. However, AI will streamline this learning curve and reduce the time it takes for new talent to become efficient. — Phill Rosen, Global CTO, MoneyLion

The Role of IT Leadership Will Change

Our research shows that 30%of IT leaders struggled with a lack of collaboration across their teams in 2023, so in 2024 IT leadership will have to shift strategy to make sure teams are working together to be successful. What once was a strictly technical, skills-based profession is transforming into one that will require more "soft-skills" in order to manage teams in hybrid work scenarios and foster a positive work environment while promoting innovation throughout entire companies. — Vicky Wills, CTO, Exclaimer

Midmarket CIOs Will Be Under Historic Pressure

Midmarket CIOs are under greater pressure than ever entering 2024. Boards will ask CIOs to examine a greater use of AI and demand CIOs to find partners like MSPs (managed service providers)  to facilitate transformation. One big change: A CIO will become a "partner manager" before anything else. — Richard Ricks, founder and CEO, Silver Tree

Tech Workforce Will Have More Control of Work Conditions Than Ever

Despite some executives trying to force workers back to the office, tech workers are still in the driver's seat regarding where and how they work. Individuals with high-demand skills will be able to dictate the terms of their employment, and outcomes will become more critical than "face time" in companies. In-demand workers will walk or refuse offers if they don't meet their terms. — Richard Ricks, founder and CEO, Silver Tree 

IT Leaders Will Be More Thoughtful About Collaboration

Collaborating efficiently will become even more important as we shift to a permanent hybrid workspace. New technologies that improve on services like Zoom will make it easy to be in the same room together, and companies that advance our ability to collaborate will thrive. Boards and executives will demand that disruptive collaboration technology be readily available. — Richard Ricks, founder and CEO, Silver Tree

The Role of Chief Data Officer Will Become a Prerequisite for CIO Hopefuls

In 2024, there will be a new, surefire career path carved out for CIO hopefuls — becoming, and excelling as, a chief data officer. Over the last couple of years, the CDO has evolved from a low-budget advisory role to a critical asset helping businesses get the most out of their data. As more organizations invest in AI and the cloud to democratize their data and spur innovation, CDOs are in the driver's seat — and closer to the CIO, and the success of the business, than ever. Organizations looking for great CIOs will choose the ones who truly understand how data moves, flows through, and influences organizations, meaning that CDOs will have a natural advantage in pursuing that career path and continue to exert tremendous influence in the enterprise. — Heath Thompson, President & GM, Quest Software

Ensuring a Smart Labor and IT Strategy Will Drive Innovation

Being strategic about your workforce is a crucial factor for your company's success. As we step into 2024, it's important to monitor your labor structure. You can achieve a well-balanced labor pyramid by offering career growth opportunities and cross-functional rotations inside and outside your business unit. Empowering your employees with upskilling and reskilling opportunities will be instrumental in creating intentional connections between the skills and competencies needed in the various roles within the organization, paving the way for creating tailored learning and development for team members. Also, if you have promotions or attrition in or out of your organization, hiring leaders should consider the possibility of moving someone up into the vacated role, promoting hiring within your organization and increasing your customer and employee satisfaction. Maintaining a high customer satisfaction score (CSAT) plays a vital role in accurately assessing the quality of service for both customers and employees. While CSAT scores only measure customer satisfaction, the ability to service customers is directly linked to the seamlessness and productivity of the IT team. — Barry Shurkey, CIO, NTT DATA

Due to the rapid technological advancements seen in the past year, the IT environment has grown more complex. This has led to an increased demand for products and solutions that are intuitive and easy to use. Looking ahead into 2024, there will be a pronounced need for simplified IT tools and teams equipped with specialized skills in both AI and cybersecurity. However, the ongoing talent shortage has made recruitment increasingly challenging. In response, organizations will prioritize internal upskilling and training initiatives to bridge the knowledge gap. Hiring leaders will need to continue to embrace remote work as a valuable resource, enabling companies to tap into a new network of candidates by accessing a wider talent pool. — Tony Liau, VP of Product, Object First

Prioritizing Workforce and AI Skills to Drive Hyper-Customized Interactions

Workforce and talent management will need to be top of mind for anyone who is navigating technical solutions and teams. In addition, organizations must focus on AI skills — both within technical teams and business groups. Finally, all AI should lead to  hyper-customized and personalized interactions in our work and personal lives. Organizations will focus on building this and, in 2024, will make investments in  technology and the people who can build these experiences. — Steve Watt, CIO, Hyland

As the Stakes Get Higher, CISOs Cannot 'Quiet Quit'

In the wake of the charges against SolarWinds and reassessment of the Uber CISO's conviction, security leaders are facing much higher stakes for their mistakes; it is no longer just a CISO's job on the line — it's their personal liberties too. While it is naive to place all of the blame on security leads following a breach, the SEC's decision serves as a wakeup call for restructuring the CISO job description. CISOs can no longer be passive. They must pay attention to whether they have the proper cybersecurity budget, headcount, tooling, and what their tech stack looks like. If the stated material truth of their cybersecurity posture is lacking, they either have to be brutally honest or face the consequences. They also have to cut through the noise and demand the ear of the CEO when reporting risk. By becoming the company advocate for incident response, CISOs can more accurately estimate risk and utilize their budgets to better protect their companies. By taking on these actions, added layers of reporting and responsibility will ensure that companies are up to the new security standards and that the CISO is not shouldering all the risk alone. — Ron Reiter, former member of IDF's Unit 8200 and current CTO & co-founder, Sentra

Are you aspiring to become a chief information security officer? If so, take our personality quiz to see if you have what it takes to be an effective CISO.

With New Regulations Proliferating, CISOs Will Have to Take a New Approach to the Role

CISOs' jobs are getting harder. Many are grappling with an onslaught of security threats, and now the legal and regulatory stakes are higher. The new SEC cybersecurity disclosure requirements have many CISOs concerned they'll be left with the liability when an attack occurs. As we've seen with the charges against the SolarWinds CISO, these fears have merit — and we need to prepare ourselves for this. CISOs can't just be technical experts anymore. Their skillset must be more well-rounded in enterprise risk management, requiring a deeper understanding of the laws and regulations in the jurisdictions and industries where their companies operate. They must also tie compliance tightly to corporate objectives. It's also going to require CISOs to (more often) form alliances with other executives who will have to play a bigger role as cybersecurity becomes a board-level issue. — Kayla Williams, CISO, Devo

Rapid AI Adoption Will Require a New Reckoning for Security Professionals

It's been a year since ChatGPT hit the scene, and since its debut, we've seen a massive proliferation of AI tools. To say it's shaken up how organizations approach work would be an understatement. However, as organizations rush to adopt AI, many lack a fundamental understanding of how to implement the right security controls for it. In 2024, security teams' biggest challenge will be properly securing the AI tools and technologies their organizations have already onboarded. We've already seen attacks against GenAI models such as model inversion, data poisoning, and prompt injection; and as the industry adopts more AI tools, AI attack surfaces across these novel applications will expand. This will pose a couple challenges: refining the ways AI is used to help improve efficiency and threat detection while grappling with the new vulnerabilities these tools introduce. Add in the fact that bad actors are also using these tools to help automate development and execution of new threats, and you've created an environment ripe for new security incidents. Just like any new technology, companies will need to balance security, convenience, and innovation as they adopt AI and ensure they understand the potential repercussions of it. — Dr. Chaz Lever, senior director, security research, Devo  

Cybersecurity Leaders Will Need to Embrace Entry-Level Positions and In-House Training

Despite popular belief, the cybersecurity industry is not facing a talent shortage, we are facing a skills shortage. Hiring teams all want a skilled practitioner to join the organization, but in reality, this type of person is expensive and rare. Yet there is a surplus of people looking to enter the cybersecurity field. Organizations are getting thousands of applications for open positions, especially entry-level positions. We're not seeing a shortage of people; there is a shortage of training and of a willingness to hire outside of the traditional skill set. In 2024, as the cybersecurity industry continues to face budgetary constraints, leaders will ultimately have to hire entry-level people inexpensively and give them the opportunity to learn. We'll see more corporations and HR departments partnering to make sure job descriptions truly mean entry level. — Gene Fay, CEO, ThreatX

GenAI Will Change the Nature of Work for Programmers

GenAI will change the nature of work for programmers and how future programmers learn. Writing source code will become easier and faster, but programming is less about grinding out lines of code than it is about solving problems. GenAI will allow programmers to spend more time understanding the problems they need to solve, managing complexity, and testing the results, resulting in better software: software that's more reliable and easier to use. — Mike Loukides, Vice President of Emerging Tech Content, O'Reilly Media

Traditional MSPs and IT Departments Will Start to Fade

In 2024, the IT departments that many of us grew up with will continue to fade away. A digital-first agenda will replace the corner IT office. Companies will still rely on people when face time and complicated issues are essential, but automation will become an even greater force. — Richard Ricks, founder and CEO, Silver Tree

Businesses Will Hire FinOps Experts to Improve Cloud Optimization

FinOps has emerged in the last few years as an important framework for gaining visibility into and managing cloud spend. With the economic slowdown continuing to affect businesses, we're seeing a significant uptick in FinOps adoption. Expect to see the integration of FinOps experts across finance and IT/cloud teams, whether hired internally or outsourced to a third-party provider, to help organizations develop and support their cost optimization strategy. — Tom Monk, Senior Director of Product Management, Navisite

For more 2024 trends stories, check out the list below:

Do you agree or disagree with these IT career predictions, or do you have some of your own that didn't make this list? Let us know in the Comments section below!

About the Author(s)

Rick Dagley

Rick Dagley is senior editor at ITPro Today, covering IT operations and management, cloud computing, edge computing, software development and IT careers. Previously, he was a longtime editor at PCWeek/eWEEK, with stints at Computer Design and Telecommunications magazines before that.

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