AI, the B to B market and the customer experience: technical possibilities in 2023

There are areas where job opportunities are booming and will continue to be so in the coming months. At ZDNet, we recently interviewed industry leaders to get their take on the outlook for tech professionals in the coming year and where they should focus their career efforts.

Artificial intelligence, business-to-business applications and customer experience appear in the top 3 priorities mentioned by technology professionals.

The competence gaps are still marked

B2C (Business-to-Consumer) companies appear to be the most affected by employment problems in the technology sector. “We’re seeing the most layoffs taking place at a number of B2C companies that rely on advertising models,” said Duncan Angove, CEO of Blue Yonder. “On the other hand, software-driven B2B companies are at the forefront of many new and creative solutions. For example, the impact of supply chain disruptions affects all industries globally, and solving these problems using new technologies opens up many new opportunities for the workforce. The shift to more robust modes of operation creates a great demand for technological solutions in the sector. »

Small and medium-sized companies can also offer the best opportunities. Recent headlines may have focused on layoffs at tech giants, but “you have to remember that when the economy was up, many of these companies were hiring indiscriminately and hoarding talent,” says Shawn Herring, CMO of AirSlate. “For example, Meta increased its overall workforce by 23% between 2020 and 2021, according to Statista. Although these large companies have no choice but to correct course, many small and medium-sized companies today are actively hiring and looking for employees with the right skills. »

In-demand skills include multi-cloud management, automated software development and basic architectural design skills, says Blair Lyon, cloud experience manager at Akamai, who predicts continued demand for technology skills, recession or not. “Right now, demand remains high and the skills gap is still as large as ever. »

Digital transformation projects are accelerating

Add to that the fact that the digital transformation continues unabated, and so does the business community’s interest in following it. Given that the entire world wants to transform digitally, the number of professionals who can help them get there is microscopic.

“There is still a lot of work to be done over the next few years – especially as only 20% of companies have really changed their operations”, assesses Duncan Angove. “In the next few years, we’re going to need over 4 million programmers in the workforce. We have over 8 billion people in the world, 6-7 billion of them online, and only a small percentage of those people code. It’s a small percentage of the workforce that sustains the absolutely massive B2B technology software industry. It’s a skills shortage problem.”

Expertise at all levels in the company

Customer experience goes hand in hand with digital transformation – and companies are only making slow progress in this area as well. “In the short term, we’re likely to see the greatest demand from companies trying to give their customers a better experience,” says Blair Lyon. “More and more companies have applications that require very low latency, global reach, data sovereignty and privacy to comply with legislation. »

These skills needs mean not just more programmers, but business people across all disciplines. “It’s not just programmers, but other business functions that need a skilled workforce to support the technology industry,” says Duncan Angove. “Although we have machines that automate basic tasks, we still need a number of other skills, including management, consulting, marketing and sales. You may have the technology, but you also need people who understand how it works and how to apply it to business areas like supply chain. In addition, you need consultants to implement the technology, marketers to promote and salespeople to sell. Given the technology and pace of change, today’s technology is often obsolete in less than two years. It’s constantly being reinvented, so the best thing you can do in the tech industry today to keep your skills strong and relevant is to adopt a lifelong learning attitude. »

Shawn Herring also sees continued strong demand for artificial intelligence skills, as well as Web3, cybersecurity and big data analytics. “As organizations continue to drive investments in technology and data analytics to make smart business decisions, those with the right domain expertise in these areas will be critical for employers,” he predicts.

Innovate under duress

Technology professionals should also consider that “skills in new architectures such as core to edge and container security management are increasingly in demand as more organizations want ultra-low latency, highly secure, portable, containerized and distributed workloads,” Blair Lyon insists. Automation is also crucial, as “anything that allows software development and operations organizations to function more efficiently will be in demand.”

Ultimately, opportunities are found “to make it possible to build innovative things,” notes Blair Lyon. “We see it every day with developers building on our cloud infrastructure. Some of the most successful companies in the history of technology were born in the face of economic headwinds. »


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