Top 3 IT jobs in 2017

2017 is just around the bend.

The end is in sight for 2016, and that means it's time to start taking stock of the 2017 IT job market. 

In the broad scheme of things, many of the same trends that dominated 2016 (the Internet of Things, software innovation, advanced analytics,, machine learning, etc.) will maintain their momentum. If anything, they may actually get a boost in the year ahead, and that could mean good things to come for some IT professionals.  

Let's take a closer look:

1. Software engineers, developers

According to InformationWeek, software developers can expect to see modest pay increases in 2017 ($93,000 to $155,000, up from $91,000 to $145,250). Likewise, software engineers – who typically have broader expertise in the areas of development, testing and project management – can expect to see a 5.2 percent pay increase.

The biggest gains lie in wait for engineers and developers who specialize in virtual reality, augmented reality and cognitive computing, according to Network World contributor Gianna Scorsone. Once the stuff of science fiction, VR came a long way in 2016 – but its best days lie ahead. Everything from video games to surgical simulations and beyond, VR applications will quite literally add an entirely new dimension to IT. In that same vein, AR-based software will be a force in 2017. Imagine if a city maintenance worker were able to look at a city street with an AR headset, and overlay a map of the pipes below. We have the technology. Now it's just a matter of utilizing it. 

Last but not least, cognitive computing, which refers to the development of applications that leverage machine learning algorithms, will be front and center. Just last month, Uber made a beer delivery with a self-driving 18-wheeler. Cognitive applications make this and other extraordinary human achievements like it possible. 

Big opportunities lie in wait for Big Data experts.Big opportunities lie in wait for Big Data experts.

2. Big Data engineers, architects and consultants

Speaking of analytics, an increasing number of organizations are attempting to achieve business objectives more efficiently using Big Data paired with advanced analytics (and not just for the sake of building self-driving vehicles).

It's not surprising then, that Big Data engineers, architects and consultants can expect salary increases in 2017. And if the 6 percent raise expected for Big Data engineers isn't a strong enough sell for the role, maybe the fact that these experts are working on some of the most incredible, unprecedented IT projects of our time will be enough to make you reconsider your career trajectory.

"It's an exciting time to be a Big Data expert."

For example, Big Data strategies are being used to reinvent enterprise workflows, streamline the global supply chain, improve power-grid maintenance and energy exploration, and so much more. Needless to say, it's an exciting time to be a Big Data expert.   

3. Cybersecurity anything

Whether you're a network security administrator, a data security analyst, a security engineer or some other caliber of cybersecurity expert, you're in a good position to reap spoils in the year ahead. Because by all accounts, 2016 was a rough year for cybersecurity. We witnessed, among other things:

  • Multiple hospitals held hostage by ransomware.
  • An $81 million digital bank heist. 
  • The infiltration of voter databases in Illinois and Arizona. 
  • 500 million compromised Yahoo! accounts.
  • An unprecedented IoT-based DDoS attack that took out Netflix, Amazon, the New York Times and hundreds of other high-profile web domains. 

As the attack vectors continue to multiply, so too will the attacks and the number of attackers. We're facing a shortage of cybersecurity experts as it is, and with new cybersecurity challenges just over the horizon, we can use all the help we can get. 

So whether you're aspiring to be a cybersecurity pro, a software creator on the cutting edge or a data analytics ace, now's the time to start reaching for the next rung of the ladder