While the tech sector suffered a downturn in 2023, leading to swathes of job cuts, there remains a high demand for certain tech jobs within the industry itself and beyond. Nonetheless, these job losses, alongside the rapid growth of generative AI tools in the past year sowed seeds of doubt for many, begging the question: do tech jobs offer good job security?
In a recent interview, Nobel Prize-winning economist Prof Christopher Pissarides cautioned students on selecting to study STEM subjects for future roles in tech that may be more limited in availability than expected.
This, he clarified in a later radio interview, is a projection for the labour market at least 10 years down the line, but it goes to show how much can change even in one decade.
In the meantime, the great ‘digital transformation’ continues and is far from completion across Europe. And while AI is set to transform the way we work, that includes creating new roles and opportunities as well as adapting or even replacing others.
Here are five tech jobs expected to have staying power, evolving along with the tech trends.
1. Software developers
While AI may well reach a point of being able to churn out code for various applications, this will still be best deployed in an assistive capacity with human oversight to ensure the outputs meet the desired requirements.
Working alongside an AI copilot will require knowledge of the fundamentals of software development, particularly when it comes to troubleshooting any issues. Devs may find they are writing less code in their day to day, but they will still need to be able to interpret why a system isn’t running as it should and where to target their problem-solving.
The ‘no-code’ movement doesn’t necessarily equate to ‘no knowledge’, but it may well mean a reduction in the size of software development teams. Fewer available roles in this area will likely result in stiffer competition among jobseekers, and those with a proven ability to do more with less will stand out.
Software development opportunities can be cross-sector. You’ll find roles available in familiar tech brands such as IBM, but you may also find yourself working on HR analytics, improving transport services, or even supporting the defence systems of the United States European Command in Germany.
2. Cybersecurity specialists
It goes without saying that the future digital landscape will need continued security, and the developments coming from AI and quantum computing only mean that the threats are evolving. Cybersecurity professionals will find ways to leverage these tools to their benefit, too, and it will be skills in critical thinking and foresight that will future proof a role in this area.
The need for cybersecurity professionals is global, and so are the job opportunities, meaning jobseekers in this area can have their pick of location, be that in a populous big city such as Paris or Munich, a small French commune such as Nanterre or Aulnay-sous-Bois, or the English market town of Stafford.
3. Data scientists
We are finally beyond the era of ‘big data’ and, after years of gathering up incredible amounts of bits and bytes, it can finally be put to some use. This will require the application of data science, not only providing the analytics for data-driven decision-making but ensuring data is well-managed, datasets are cleansed and validated, and unstructured data lakes are turned into something useful.
Furthermore, data scientists will be pivotal in the evolution of AI and automation, working, as they do, at the forefront of developing algorithms and predictive models.
A sure sign of data science’s longevity in the jobs market is the availability of roles at any level, from trainee and work-study programmes to support you on your first steps in this career, to fully qualified and managerial positions.
4. AI and machine learning engineers
Naturally, the architects of AI will be instrumental in this new phase of digital technologies. Currently, there is intense recruitment of workers in this area and the pool of experienced professionals is well short of demand.
This will change as the years go by, but so too are these roles expected to evolve as quickly as the industry. This means there are many unknowns as to the shape of AI/ML jobs to come, but it’s broadly accepted that these skills will be necessary in the long-term.
Many industries are still unlocking the potential that AI wields and will do so with the help of machine learning engineers. Current recruitment in this area seeks professionals with the skills to spearhead the application of AI and ML in varied contexts, from financial services and insurance to construction and architecture.
Specialists may even find themselves developing applications for an array of clients and industries as they turn to consultants or their existing IT provider to discover how they can optimise their business with emerging technologies.
5. Cloud architects
All the data for massive AI models and its processing to deliver outputs to users has to happen somewhere, and that will be across the global network of data centres collectively known as the cloud. The world’s reliance on data and data processing is going nowhere in the near future (and likely beyond) and cloud architects are needed to ensure these systems stay up and running and the digital ecosystem operates without interruption.