13 most difficult-to-fill IT jobs

The 2021 State of the CIO survey reveals organizations struggling to fill cybersecurity, AI, and data analytics roles in a year that finds companies looking farther afield to find IT talent.

11 most difficult IT jobs for employers to fill
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The lineup of toughest IT jobs to fill hasn’t changed much since last year, but one new factor might ease the situation in the months to come. Thanks to the work-from-home phenomenon, more people are now available for jobs that were once restricted to a candidates from a specific geographic area.

“The talent war has changed dramatically,” says Alex Kraus, vice president of consultancy Metis Strategy. “The talent pool is much larger, and sometimes global, where it was previously constrained to wherever the company headquarters is.”

According to the 812 IT leaders who responded to the 2021 State of the CIO survey, the most challenging IT jobs to fill are those involving cybersecurity (21%), AI/machine learning (20%), data science/analytics (19%) and DevOps/DevSecOps/agile (12%).

The pandemic has had significant impact in shaping IT spending this year. According to the State of the CIO survey, the three main business drivers for IT budgets this year are transforming existing business processes (36%), increasing cybersecurity protections (34%), and improving customer experience (33%). 

Security hiring is absolutely a sore spot across the board, Kraus says, from high-level analysts to field practitioners. One problem is “there’s often not a positive ROI on security investments” in general, he says, unless “you have prominent data breaches that rattle boards and C-level executives” to help convince them that improving cybersecurity is essential.

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