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What Tech Skills are Most in Demand in 2023 & Command Top Salaries?

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As 2023 unfolds, changes in the market have led to particular tech skills and roles taking precedence over others (and commanding higher salaries). Hired’s 2023 State of Tech Salaries report uncovered the most sought-after tech skills for the top five in-demand roles and why employers need them. 

Generative AI’s impact on tech work

Everyone in tech is no stranger to the explosion of GenAI these days. With the emphasis on artificial intelligence applications, companies are seeking more engineers ready to innovate with it and, in some cases, tame it. 

As quoted by the Washington Post, Vijay Pande, a general partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, said, “There’s a lot of excitement about AI right now. The technology has gone from being cute and interesting to where actually [people] can see it being deployed.”

Outside of healthcare and technology, finance and science are also seeking machine learning engineers and researchers to apply AI technology to their space.

This increased funding, technological advancement, and new use cases has led to a 21% year-over-year increase in demand for AI professionals according to Hired’s salary negotiation partner, Rora, and data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Given that the number of AI professionals is not rising anywhere near as quickly – companies are paying premiums to compete for the existing professionals in the space to join their companies.

When we surveyed employers for the State of Tech Salaries, we found the majority, 59%, believe employees who understand AI are more valuable. 

Related: Recruiting for Startups

This corresponds with national trends where, in August of 2023, 23% of all tech job postings included positions in emerging technologies or required emerging tech skills, such as AI. 

Of those job descriptions within ‘emerging tech’ 37% listed a preference for AI skills, per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics

GM for Rora Jordan Sale shared “One observation we’ve had amidst the layoffs is companies keep employees whose skills they perceive as valuable to where the company is going – not necessarily where they are today.”

Employer demand growth for specific engineering and tech roles fueled by these skills

According to the 2023 State of Tech Salaries report, more employers are seeking Security Engineers, Data Engineers, Machine Learning (ML) Engineers, and Backend Engineers than in 2022. 

The Business Analyst subrole under Data Analytics also broke into the top five roles most in-demand on the Hired tech hiring platform

For the engineering roles showing the most growth in demand from 2022 to mid-2023, the top three skills requested by employers included Python, Java, and AWS.

Compare the top skills from this State of Tech Salaries report with the hottest skills from Hired’s 2023 State of Software Engineers report from earlier this year. We see a shift in demand from Ruby on Rails to Python. Python is among the most popular programming languages for AI – showing coveted engineering skills change to meet the demands of the market. 

Tech skills in demand often lead to higher pay

When we surveyed tech employers for the State of Tech Salaries report, we asked which circumstances drive them to offer more money. 

Far and away, the answer was 76%, hard-to-find skills, because the more niche a skillset is – the harder it will be for companies to recruit for that skill. 

However, it’s important to remember that every company will value a different set of skills. At the end of the day, it’s about being able to create impact towards the company’s mission.

Years of experience with a specific skill was the second-highest response with 57%.

AI pay continued to rise this year – with a 2022 to 2023 increase of 16% in average total annual compensation (base + bonus + equity) according to Rora. Outliers increased too – Netflix reportedly offered $900K for a product manager role on their internal Machine Learning platform.

Upskilling tech workers to meet new demands

It’s fair to say candidates will be expected to leverage AI tools in their workflows to be more effective and efficient. A TalentLMS survey revealed that 49% of workers said they needed training for using AI tools – but only 14% said they received any instruction from their employer.

Another survey from TalentLMS found that 85% of HR managers say they plan to invest in AI learning and development for employees. It’s likely that soon, more companies will create AI upskilling programs to train engineers – given the rapidly increasing demand for AI skills. This education in relevant AI technologies will also supplement the relatively constrained supply of ‘organic’ AI talent. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, Accenture is one of the first companies to announce an internal upskilling program. 

Advance tech skills with Hired partners

Outside of the workplace, there are services for jobseekers and employees to meet these new demands of employers and the market proactively. 

Hired has a variety of partners prepared to help tech pros upskill in the latest areas. These organizations can train students on how generative AI tools work, to write prompts to be super-powered in their jobs, and to use AI tools ethically and responsibly. Interested in being in the next generation of AI professionals? Advance your career with these partners: 

The path forward for a career in AI

You’ve likely noticed that AI has become a catch-all phrase to describe advanced computing technologies. It’s important to note that this hugely impacts hiring because one company’s need for AI support may mean something very different than another’s. 

Some companies may be looking for technical talent to develop new products and tooling using AI. Others may want to use AI to analyze data, build new models, or conduct research.

Source: Latent Space

Staying up to date with what employers are looking for and what the job market demands is crucial to progressing a career in tech. As we’ve seen with AI, unexpected change can happen – and happen fast. 

Download the 2023 State of Tech Salaries report for more insights and data.