IT professionals in the US – these are the in-demand skills for 2020

SOURCE: Jeenah Moon/Getty Images/AFP
IT professionals - are your skills up to date?

By U2B Staff 

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It’s a tough job market, but professionals who remain open to upskilling themselves are better equipped to seize opportunities that come their way. This remains true for IT professionals who continuously strive to upskill their IT skills. 

The field is continuously evolving, necessitating IT professionals to bolster their efforts into staying updated or risk falling behind with antiquated skills that serve little purpose as we trudge into the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 

However, with numerous IT or tech-related skills in the field, which are some of the top rated skills that will give professionals better ROIs?

Global research institute Indeed Hiring Labs has looked at the millions of US tech jobs posted on over the past five years – between 2014 and 2019 – to provide IT professionals some insights.

In a post about the research, Andrew Flowers, a former economist with Indeed Hiring Labs, said the following are the top five in-demand skills for tech professionals:

  1. SQL
  2. Java
  3. Python
  4. Linux
  5. JavaScript

SQL (Structured Query Language) –  a standard language for accessing and manipulating databases – leads the pack as the most in-demand tech skill, but its popularity is waning.


“Its percentage of appearances in all tech jobs postings fell 7% in the five years ended in September 2019,” said Flowers.

Meanwhile, Python has leapfrogged into third place from 15th in 2014. 

To explain its popularity, Flowers said software engineers and full stack developers – two common tech job titles – increasingly use Python as well as AWS (Amazon Web Services).

“But a big reason behind the exceptional growth of Python and AWS is that the underlying tech job mix is changing in ways that favor these programming languages,” he said, adding that it is also partly driven by the explosion of data science jobs. 

“Think of it this way: Tech skills can rise or fall for two reasons. One, more tech jobs require that skill or, two, tech jobs that disproportionately use that skill increase or decrease more than tech jobs overall.”

How can IT professionals upskill?

With technology advancing at breakneck speed, it becomes essential – more than ever – for IT professionals to upskill, regardless of what stage they are in their careers.

There are numerous ways of doing so.

For busy professionals, online courses, including massive open online courses (MOOCs) can be a saviour. They are typically offered for free or at a low-cost, making it a viable option for cash-strapped professionals, while they are flexible in nature, allowing you to learn at your own pace.

MOOCs also have interactive sessions and forums for students to participate and engage in discussions.


If you prefer a more structured approach, there are numerous IT-related master’s programmes available with different specialities to choose from. While they cost considerably more than an online course, it’s worth highlighting that employers continue to value degrees.

For a more hands-on approach, IT professionals can also consider taking on side projects or joining apprenticeship programmes in companies that will help you learn new skills. Professionals can also look into how they can get involved with new projects at work. This way, you’ll not only learn by doing but you’ll also give yourself the opportunity to learn from others in your team.

Whichever way you choose to upskill, it’s worth remembering that the changing environment means continuous education is critical for the survival of IT professionals.