The Tech Job Outlook for 2024
Coming out of the pandemic, the tech job market has experienced a fair bit of volatility. First there was a hiring boom in 2021 and into 2022, and then at the end of 2022 and into 2023 tech companies began to do mass layoffs—power players like Amazon and Meta have laid off over 400,000 workers globally, representing an estimated four percent (4%) of the total tech workforce according to CompTia’s annual CyberStates report.
The uncertainty in the tech market throughout 2023 has sparked a question: What’s the tech job outlook for 2024? Are the layoffs finally done? And will hiring in tech begin to pick up again?
Looking ahead, all indicators show that not only is the tech job market stabilizing but it’s actually beginning a new phase of growth, thanks to innovation in AI and automation and continued changes to remote and hybrid work.
In this blog post we’ll be investigating what areas of tech are growing and what trends and skills you should leverage if you want to transition to a career in tech in 2024.
Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
- Unprecedented volatility? Maybe not…
- Tech Sectors Projected to Grow in 2024
- Major Tech Trends to Look Out for in 2024
- Most In-Demand Skills in Tech for 2024
- Outlook For Entry-Level Tech Workers
Unprecedented volatility? Maybe not…
While it may seem like we’ve been experiencing a never-before-seen level of instability in the tech sector, what we saw in 2022 and 2023 was actually just the latest of many periods of volatility throughout the history of modern tech. And in fact, proportionally, this period of instability was not so bad.
Three other notable such periods were the dot-com bubble burst in 2000, the 2008-2010 financial crisis, and of course, the 2020 COVID lockdown, as seen in this graph of Information Industry (their term for tech) employment from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
For better or worse, periods of mass layoffs in tech aren’t unusual, and as you can see, the loss of jobs in 2022 and 2023 was actually much smaller than the other three periods of instability.
Moreover, many industry experts believe those periods of contraction directly contributed to innovation that led to massive growth in the industry that you see in the years following layoffs and, you guessed it, massive hiring—in the above graph you see the rapid growth of tech jobs after each period of contraction.
In short, the disturbances in 2000 and 2008 did result in mass layoffs, but within a few years not only had the industry recovered, the tech industry size and labor force had grown much larger than where it was before the layoffs took place.
So what was it about each of these periods of contraction that directly contributed to subsequent periods of employment growth?
When many startups failed in the dot-com era, before they failed they built powerful and complex infrastructures that post-dot-com era startups were able to leverage for their own innovative products. For example, the rapid growth of telecommunications and networking companies in the late 1990s—innovating in areas like wireless networking—shaped the evolution of technologies like 4G and 5G in future years.
And although anyone alive or working during the 2008 financial crisis would agree that things were not good, many analysts believe that the disruption of 2008 directly led to the creation and subsequent growth of the gig economy. Says Ellen Lichtenstein of AgentSync, “If so many homeowners and car owners hadn’t been out of work and struggling to pay their mortgage, it’s possible that rideshare apps like Uber and homesharing apps like AirBnb might not have gained to the enormous success they did. Fortunately, these ideas emerged at the right time as people were available to move from traditional employment to a new type of gig economy.”
Given all this, what’s expected to happen in 2024? Keep reading to find out!
Tech Sectors Projected to Grow in 2024
First, let’s talk about the GOOD news. After contraction in the tech sector throughout 2023, there are several areas of tech that are projected to grow in 2024: fintech (financial technology), workplace technologies, cybersecurity, and healthcare. Let’s investigate!
Fintech (Financial Technology)
If you’ve sent money online or used a mobile payment app, you’re already in the world of fintech. It includes digital payments, online lending, and blockchain, constantly evolving with tech advances and consumer choices. Between 2023 and 2028, fintech revenues are expected to grow nearly three times faster than those in traditional banking. The recent stats from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) show that Fintech is expected to become a $1.5 trillion industry by 2030.
In industries even outside of tech, many teams whose members span the globe work together virtually in fully immersive digital workspaces. In just five years, the use of AI has more than doubled, and now 50% of organizations have implemented AI in at least one area of their operations. These technologies aren’t just about the cool factor; they’re all about improving productivity and collaboration and reducing operating costs. The global digital workplace market was worth USD 27.37 billion in 2021 and is expected to achieve a growth rate of 22.5% in the coming years.
In an era where the digital landscape is increasingly vulnerable to evolving cyber threats—particularly with the rise of ransomware, spyware, and malware—cybersecurity stands as a growing field requiring constant innovation. In 2022, the estimated market size of the global cybersecurity industry reached USD 202.72 billion, and it is expected to grow by 12.3% in the next seven years or so.
Since 2020—the start of the global pandemic—the healthcare technology sector has accelerated, fueled by the demand for innovative solutions that improve patient care, streamline healthcare operations, and address evolving medical challenges. The need to minimize in-person interactions in particular drove new technical solutions that allowed professionals to rapidly adapt to the changing global healthcare landscape. These solutions proved so successful that they are here to stay; the global digital health market, valued at USD 169.36 Billion in 2022, is expected to grow at an annual rate of 16.80%.
Major Tech Trends to Look Out for in 2024
Shifts in tech and tech-adjacent sectors invariably require innovation in the tools and systems being used. Let’s take a look at some of the major trends coming down the pipeline and how you can leverage them for your own career gain.
When was the last time you asked ChatGPT to write an email for you or used a cloud service to upload photos you took with friends? Chances are, it was quite recently. And you’re not alone; millions of people worldwide are embracing these tech trends. What’s even more fascinating is how these very trends are fueling the rapid growth of the tech job market.
As the demand for AI-powered tools like ChatGPT surges, it also raises a major concern – the fear that “robot colleagues” might take over our jobs. But just how true is it? Well, not so much.
The World Economic Forum predicted AI would replace 85 million jobs but create 97 million new ones. There is a widespread consensus that AI won’t be taking our jobs soon because creativity, personal relationships, empathy, and other uniquely human qualities are elements AI hasn’t mastered just yet. Meanwhile, the economy is adaptable and there is still a need for physical skills.
With the emergence of AI tools, companies are on the lookout for skilled professionals who can develop and optimize these technologies. In fact, the number of job listings on LinkedIn referencing either AI or generative AI has more than doubled worldwide from July 2021 to July 2023.
The demand for cloud computing—utilized by popular services like Spotify, Slack and Netflix to manage and deliver content— is skyrocketing as businesses recognize the efficiency and scalability it offers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a rapid 15% increase in employment opportunities in cloud computing between 2021 and 2031, surpassing the average growth rate for most other occupations. Cloud usage extends to over 90% of organizations. In 2025, the daily global data generation is projected to reach a staggering 463 exabytes.
Meanwhile, quantum computing, the process of using quantum theory principles to increase the speed and capacity of computing power, is no longer confined to the realm of theory. It’s becoming a practical reality, and companies need experts to harness its potential for broad-reaching implications. In 2022, global investments in startups focused on quantum technology reached their peak, amounting to $2.35 billion. This is only expected to grow as large tech companies race to develop their own quantum computer programs, like Google’s Sycamore and IBM’s Quantum Experience.
The rise of robots in industries from manufacturing to healthcare means a growing need for engineers and technicians skilled in robotics. According to the 2023 report by the International Robot Federation (IFR), 553,000 industrial robots were installed globally in 2022, breaking pre-pandemic records, and the total number of operational robots worldwide reached approximately 3.9 million units.
In uncertain economic times, organizations prioritize investing in cybersecurity to protect digital assets and sensitive information against cyber threats. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in cybersecurity positions like information security analysts is projected to grow by 35% by 2031, with the average cybersecurity salary for such a role being $119,860 per year.
Growing environmental awareness, regulatory pushes, and a rising demand for eco-friendly products are driving the sustainability trend in the tech world. Companies are exploring innovative ideas like self-piloting solar balloons that deliver electricity to disaster-stricken areas and herb gardens that sprout up right in your local supermarket. Forward-thinking products like these require workers skilled in many areas of technology, from software engineering to data analysis and architecture.
Most In-Demand Skills in Tech for 2024
Companies in expanding tech sectors will need skilled workers of all levels of experience in order to drive innovation and growth. Let’s take a look at what skills are rising to the surface as the skills tech newcomers should learn in order to take advantage of these trends.
- App development security involves protecting mobile and web apps and requires proficiency in languages like Python and Java as well as knowledge of operating systems like macOS, Windows, and Linux, according to Harvard Extension School.
- Cloud security protects data and apps in the cloud, requiring skills in MySQL, AWS, networking, and web services.
- Incident response is like a prepared plan for security issues and needs knowledge of Java, Python, and forensic tools like EnCase.
- Threat intelligence experts anticipate cyberattacks using Java, Python, and testing tools like Nessus.
In addition to knowledge in the technical areas above, recruiters and managers of cyber security professionals are also seeking soft skills.
What the experts say:
“I would offer that for a cyber-security professional to be ‘great’, communication skills are as important as knowledge of the technical domains of the profession. If they are unable to effectively articulate messaging to the senior leadership, then they are ineffective,” Jason Dupre, Command Master Chief at the U.S. Navy says.
Most in-demand roles in cybersecurity: Software developers, security analysts, security architects, app security engineers, penetration testers
Proficiency in data science is projected to be one of the most in-demand skills in 2024 thanks to its key role in data-driven decision-making, the AI and machine learning boom, and its versatile applications across industries.
But to thrive in data science, you must go beyond just data.
Shiva Vashishtha, data analyst at Schneider Electric writes that “to pursue a successful career in data science, individuals must possess a combination of technical, mathematical, communication, problem-solving, and continuous learning skills.”
- Data analysis or in other words the ability to clean, explore, and extract insights from complex datasets.
- Programming enables data scientists to create, automate, and solve a wide range of tasks using code.
- Machine learning and AI to create forecasting models, categorize data, and reveal concealed patterns.
- Math and stats knowledge underpins various aspects of data analysis and machine learning, helping data scientists understand the mathematical principles behind algorithms, conduct hypothesis testing, and make statistically sound decisions.
What the experts say:
“A future in data science implies that you genuinely like math, stats, and solving problems that require critical thinking. Think about it, will you enjoy working with numbers, data, and business problems for years?” Michael Spencer, A.I. Writer, researcher, and curator explained.
“Critical thinking and problem-solving take years to refine. You need a keen problem-solving mind to figure out what goes where and why, and how it fits into the big picture. Data science is all about being data-centric, finding a needle in a haystack, and working with data to optimize business value,” he added.
Most in-demand roles in data science: data analysts, data scientists, data architects, data engineers, and machine learning engineers
- Machine learning allows computers to make predictions, recognize patterns, and automate tasks, which has applications in everything from recommendation systems to self-driving cars.
- With Natural language Processing (NLP) machines read, interpret, and communicate with people, making it essential for tasks like chatbots, translation, and text analysis.
- Programming skills are needed for engineers to build and fine-tune AI models, implement algorithms, and bring applications to life.
- Data analysis which in this case involves examining and interpreting data to train AI models and make them smarter.
What the experts say:
Bernard Marr, a bestselling author and business, tech, and data advisor often writes about management and technology trends. He says using computers to gain insights and make complex decisions is fantastic, but it’s equally essential to convey those findings effectively to others, or all our efforts might go to waste.
“This is the reason that “data communicators” and “data translators” are some of the most in-demand sets of skills when it comes to AI and machine learning in business right now,” he explained.
Many AI professionals today choose to work in fields like healthcare, finance, education, and even autonomous vehicles. This in turn brings a demand for an additional skill.
“I’d like to emphasize the importance of interdisciplinary knowledge. While programming and technical acumen are fundamental, understanding the ethical implications and domain-specific challenges are equally critical. For instance, an AI application in healthcare may require not only algorithmic expertise but also a solid grasp of medical ethics and patient data privacy,” Christopher Woodall, Python developer and machine learning engineer.
Most in-demand roles in AI: Machine learning engineers, AI research scientists, data scientists, ethics consultants, AI solutions architects, AI product managers, data analysts
- Automation tools like Ansible, Puppet, and Terraform aid in automating the entire software development lifecycle.
- With cloud platforms like AWS you can scale and manage your infrastructure resources effortlessly.
- Continuous integration and continuous delivery streamline the software development process, automatically testing and deploying code changes when a version control repository is updated.
- Testing and monitoring tools like BrowserStack and Prometheus detect bugs and errors in codebases and systems in order to reduce bugginess and increase uptime.
What the experts say:
“When it comes to the ideal abilities for a DevOps engineer, there are huge qualities of them which could be either soft skills and communication and hard skills like Python programming. Try not to freeze, it truly relies upon what you will look at in the specific part since the difficulties/needs for DevOps in various organizations in all likelihood fluctuate,” Ginly Lim, Senior Subject Matter Expert at GSDC – Global Skill Development Council wrote on LinkedIn.
The sheer amount of devOps tools can get overwhelming , but, as Megha S.K, Senior Software Engineer explains, it’s not necessary to have knowledge of every single one. “Instead of that, we can try to focus on understanding the basics of any DevOps tool that you feel you can learn, and gradually you can move to other tools.”
Most in-demand roles in DevOps: DevOps engineer, cloud engineer, DevOps architect, security engineer
- Security skills in cloud computing involve the ability to identify and mitigate risks related to data breaches and unauthorized access.
- In the realm of cloud computing, databases rank among the most commonly utilized software applications, offering businesses the capacity to efficiently scale and manage data. What recruiters are looking for is expertise in data modeling, query optimization, security protocols, and proficiency in cloud database platforms like AWS, RDS or Azure SQL Database.
- Cloud deployment and migration involve the process of setting up and moving applications, data, and services to different cloud platforms. Skills in this area include knowledge of cloud architecture, data migration strategies, and proficiency in cloud service providers.
Most in-demand roles in cloud computing: Cloud engineers and security engineers, cloud architects, cloud developers, and cloud consultants.
Outlook For Entry-Level Tech Workers
So… how do these trends affect the outlook for entry-level tech jobs in 2024? The good news here is that companies big and small will continue to need motivated entry-level tech workers who are eager to contribute and learn and have strong foundational knowledge in tech skills like Python, React, and SQL.
Data shows that bigger tech companies like Meta and Netflix are significantly increasing their hiring capacity heading into 2024. Says software engineer Kevin Chen, “It’s likely that Meta and Netflix ramping up their hiring will lead all the big companies to follow suit soon. And because of this, there should be a domino effect in the industry.” The hiring activity of these bigger tech companies will put the squeeze on smaller tech companies and companies outside of tech that need tech workers, creating a wealth of exciting and lucrative opportunities for newcomers to the field.
Entry-level tech workers can prepare for this boost in available jobs by strengthening their technical skills and soft skills, building their portfolios by consistently working on projects, and building their networks on LinkedIn. Lucky for you (if you’re wanting to transition into tech!), these are all things we teach in our Break Into Tech program.
In closing, the tech outlook for 2024 is full of excitement, opportunities, and new horizons that come with their own challenges. Once you are equipped with the knowledge of the possibilities and limitations of emerging technologies, you can then set the right course, making the most of what’s ahead.
For now, until next time!