The most wanted tech skills 2020-2025

When it comes to IT recruitment, the “most wanted” list of in-demand specialisms rarely stands still. The reason for this is simple: companies will inevitably find themselves competing for recruits to fill their staffing gaps as new technologies emerge and priorities shift.

So which roles are most likely to give rise to a race for talent? Here’s a rundown of the technology skills that we think are likely to be in particular demand over the next few years.


Blockchain started life a decade ago as a means of facilitating cryptocurrency payments. LinkedIn places blockchain at the top of its list of hard skills most in demand in 2020. Right now, as Deloitte points out, we’re at a stage where the initial hype surrounding this form of distributed ledger technology is transforming into actual use cases - so we can expect demand to increase over the coming years. Quick, secure financial transactions, peer-to-peer lending, easier insurance claims, connected devices: just some of the ways it is already being put to work.

Specialists in this area will generally combine knowledge of popular languages (e.g. C++, Python) with cryptography, P2P networks, along with new and emerging blockchain-specific languages such as Hyperledger and Rholang.

Machine Learning

If your medium-term business plans involve investing in AI-powered technology, you’re certainly not alone. Research suggests that 93% of US and UK organisations rank artificial intelligence as a business priority, yet more than half of those admit that they lack the in-house talent to get their strategies off the ground.

True AI involves the application of machine learning: i.e. the design and deployment of predictive models with the ability to ‘learn’ without having to be explicitly programmed to do so. Combining strong programming skills, knowledge of statistical modeling, signal processing and neural networks, machine learning engineers are likely to be among the most in-demand AI specialists for the foreseeable future.

Data management

If you are launching a data-related initiative, you will almost certainly require at least some engineering and/or developer input to either build the application from scratch or else customise it to your specific needs. But that’s not all you need.

Whether it’s a resource planning tool for your staff or a self-service portal for customers, the quality of output is dependent on the quality of data input. For any company that’s serious about transformation, having strong data sourcing and management skills on board is going to be business critical.

More than one in four UK business leaders currently say that a lack of data skills within their organisations is hindering their efforts to create the type of engaging, personalised experience that customers increasingly expect. In this context, what makes a great data manager? Individuals who are able to grasp what specific sources of data are going to be needed to solve a particular problem, who are able to expertly assess data quality and oversee cleansing and who are able to ensure that any technical initiatives in play are actually meeting wider business objectives: these are the professionals who are likely to find themselves highly sought after.

UX Design

Did you know that an estimated 75% of apps downloaded to mobile are opened once - only never to be used again? Often it’s because an app doesn’t quite meet the user’s expectations. On a similar note, one of the biggest reasons why business software developments project fail is because the software fails to solve real problems faced by real people.

From annoying product quirks through to needlessly baffling sign-up forms, you don’t have to go far to find instances of bad design. UX (user experience) design refers to a holistic approach for tackling the problem.

UX designers will typically look at all points of contact between a brand and its customers, including the design of individual products, right through to the layout of its digital interfaces. The aim is to ensure that the experience is a positive, easy and enjoyable one, that everything makes sense to the user so that they keep coming back for more. The process usually blends the appliance of basic design competencies, prototyping and usability testing. LinkedIn ranks UX design as the fifth most in-demand skillset for 2020. As more businesses seek to integrate design principles into all aspects of the customer relationship, this high demand looks set to persist.


The cyber threat is here to stay. According to Hiscox, more than half of all UK firms were subject to at least one cyber attack in 2019, up from 40% a year earlier. What’s more, Ponemon found that for small to medium-sized businesses, the average cost of a security breach had increased by 61% from $229k in 2018 to $369k in 2019.

From coordinated DDoS attacks, ransomware and software exploits through to social engineering, the threat landscape is both complex and constantly changing. In response, IT departments currently devote 26% of their time to managing cybersecurity risks. Global IT security skills shortages have recently surpassed 4 million. In Europe, the shortfall has doubled over the last year.

The message to business is clear: whenever you need to bolster your in-house cybersecurity staff, you can expect to be faced with plenty of competition to recruit.

Thinking ahead

With the right strategy in place, your ability to attract and recruit the very best in-demand talent can be significantly boosted. From showcasing the right company culture, through to formulating a job offer, our AI and data recruitment guide is full of advice on how to get it right. Download your copy here.