6 Emerging Job Titles Shaping Tomorrow’s IT Teams

6 Emerging Job Titles Shaping Tomorrow’s IT Teams
January 5, 2022

As the hiring market continues its post-pandemic recovery, the IT industry has come to an interesting crossroads. IT professionals are more in-demand than ever before – and meanwhile, the responsibilities of a modern IT team are shifting dramatically.   

IT leaders are realizing that restructuring their teams or giving existing job titles new responsibilities isn’t sufficient to meet this moment. And so we’re seeing new job titles emerge, ones that speak to how far IT has come – as well as the exciting innovations that are just around the corner.  

Below, we gathered six of the most compelling new roles on the rise in the IT market.  

1. Cloud Architect

The adoption of cloud computing technology had been steadily growing for years, but the pandemic accelerated this growth exponentially. As digital workplaces became the norm and organizations were forced to reconsider their entire infrastructures, many companies started moving key business applications and services to the cloud.    

2021 State of the Cloud report found that 61% of organizations plan to slightly increase their cloud spending, while 29% plan to significantly increase their cloud spending as a result of the pandemic. 

For these organizations, it’s no longer enough to have an IT team that is fluent in their understanding of cloud computing. There’s a growing need for dedicated managers of cloud computing infrastructures – most commonly labeled cloud architects. 

Cloud architects will have a number of high-level responsibilities, from developing a scalable cloud strategy to collaborating with cloud providers and overseeing adoption of cloud solutions across the organization.     

Qualified cloud architects will likely bring backgrounds IT engineering, possess a deep understanding of programming language, and have experience managing cloud migrations as part of their previous IT responsibilities. 

2. Chief Experience Officer (CXO) / Chief DEX Officer

Here on the DEX Hub, we’ve spoken at length about Digital Employee Experience as an ever-growing priority for today’s businesses. And as more organizations look for ways to track, manage, and improve the DEX of their workforces, we’re starting to see a new trend emerge: IT leadership positions exclusively dedicated to employee experience.   

When we surveyed 1,000 IT workers alongside independent research firm Vanson Bourne as part of the 2021 Career Capital Report, we learned that not only are DEX professionals in high-demand, but they’re earning higher salaries compared to the industry average.   

In fact, the average salary of DEX workers in senior leadership positions in the U.S. is a whopping 83% higher than the average IT salary across the country.       

CXO and other experience-specific positions aren’t as common as traditional C-suite positions – yet. But DEX-specific leadership roles will continue to emerge as businesses recognize that managing employee experience is essential to success in today’s complex and employee-driven workplace. 

Improving experience has become too consequential to just be one of a dozen responsibilities for IT workers who have their plates full with innovation projects, solving network issues, and the like. It’s inevitable that tomorrow’s most successful IT departments will have leaders – and even entire teams – dedicated solely to DEX initiatives.  

Be sure to read the full 2021 Career Capital Report for much more on DEX-specific IT roles, how much DEX leaders make compared to other IT leadership positions, and much more.  

3. AI/Machine Learning Engineer

Much like cloud computing, artificial intelligence adoption has skyrocketed over the last two years and is projected to continue rising exponentially: 

  • 74% of executives anticipate that AI will deliver more efficient business processes. 

Most companies are well aware of the variety of use cases for AI in business, from reporting to sales forecasting to customer service and beyond. However, according to Allied Market Research, “lack of trained and experienced staff” is a key hurdle to the adoption of AI technology within businesses.  

It’s for this reason that specialized AI experts are going to be in high demand over the next several years. AI/machine learning engineers will be adept at working with highly complex datasets and algorithms, overseeing AI initiatives, and programming solutions to accomplish a wide variety of business objectives.  

4. Cybersecurity Manager

Businesses faced so many challenges due to the pandemic – but none were more consequential than the cybersecurity risks posed by a company-wide shift to remote working. Displacing workforces into individual home offices created unforeseen vulnerabilities to infrastructure and data security, and we’ve seen the cybersecurity job market expand significantly as a result.   

 Analysis of IT-related job postings from CompTIA found that cybersecurity positions accounted for 20% of postings in 2021, up from 20% in 2020 and 17% in 2019. 

 As workplace systems and applications become more complex, cybersecurity has to expand beyond the adoption of a few security solutions and an IT checklist of best practices. There’s a need for IT professionals who are fully dedicated to cybersecurity initiatives.   

Cybersecurity managers won’t just oversee existing infrastructures and respond to potential threats – they’ll also be key players in business decision-making, working alongside other stakeholders to drive digital transformation without compromising security. 

5. DataOps Engineer

Many of the initiatives we’ve already discussed – including artificial intelligence, experience management and cybersecurity – rely on a company’s ability to understand and collaborate around the data they possess. This has been a top challenge for businesses during the pandemic, and a key reason why DataOps has become a major trend in the IT space. 

According to DataKitchen, DataOps is most commonly defined as “a set of practices, cultural norms and architecture patterns that help data professionals deliver value quickly.”   

DataOps Engineers have been in-demand recently for a number of reasons, chief among them is the role DataOps plays in enabling agile workspaces. Especially in hybrid settings, DataOps experts will be valuable to organizations looking to quickly implement automation tools using data analytics, orchestrate experimentation, and effectively measure and monitor results across constantly shifting work environments. 

 A DataOps Engineer would also play key roles in innovation projects, including the adoption of AI technologies, either in place of or working alongside a dedicated AI specialist within their IT team. 

6. Extended Reality (XR) Developer

If you haven’t been keeping up with extended reality (virtual, augmented, and mixed reality technology), then this last role might seem a bit too forward-thinking and futuristic. But we assure you: trends in the XR industry point to these technologies making a big impact on the business landscape in the very-near future. 

With major business tech companies like Zoom and Microsoft investing heavily in XR, we’ll see more and more organizations integrating these solutions to accomplish a variety of hybrid work use cases, including more immersive communication, training, onboarding, and more. 

But the cutting-edge nature of these technologies means that most IT teams lack the familiarity and experience to implement them on a large scale. Forward-thinking companies are looking far and wide for XR specialists to develop, test, implement, and scale virtual and augmented reality solutions. 

The XR company CircuitStream recently released research on XR-specific job listings across the U.S. These job titles include XR Software Developer, AR/VR Maintenance and Support, and XR Graphics Engineer.  

For more on what the rise of extended reality means for your business, check out this recent article: Immersive Tech & Metaverses: Is ‘Extended Reality’ the Future of Hybrid Work? 

Sam Holzman is a DEX Analyst at Nexthink, a global leader in Digital Employee Experience. Sam covers breaking news stories and industry trends in the IT technology sector.Learn More

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