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Top 10 IT Positions Companies Will Struggle to Hire for in 2023

Hiring Developers

Amidst the expansion of the world wide web, cloud computing, large dataset, software, mobile applications, social media, gaming… companies big and small are relying on highly-specialized IT experts.

Indeed, for businesses wanting to keep up, finding top tech talent is a priority—and can be an uphill struggle. Many are after high-demand technical skills, from software development to data-oriented knowhow, according to our 2023 Tech Hiring Survey.

We asked our panel of recruiters which positions they predict will be the most difficult to fill in 2023. Here’s their top 10:

Why are these positions essential to today’s tech ecosystem? Why are they in such high demand and why are they so hard to come by? 

Read on to find out.

1. Full-stack developers

Full-stack web developers combine the work of front-end and back-end developers and are usually experts in all aspects of website development. They’re in high demand as companies shift from siloed front-end and back-end development teams to programmers who are skilled in all layers of the application stack.

Full-stack engineers are at the very top of recruiters’ list of hard-to-find developers. 30.4% of our recruiter panel predict that they’ll struggle to hire full-stack developers in 2023. 

This indicates a potential shortage of full-stack candidates. The boom in demand for web developers does not face as much competition on the front end, for example.

One possible explanation is the widespread availability of online training courses for front-end development, whereas full-stack developers tend to take a more traditional academic path.

Indeed, according to our survey, 70% of full-stack developers have a university degree in Computer Science. This longer learning pattern creates a disconnect between market demand and supply, and recruiters feel it painfully.

2. Back-end developers

Back-end developers work with front-end developers to build and maintain the code behind website and software user interface and design. The backend consists of the application, server and database. 

Difficulty to find talented back-end developers is essentially linked to demand. Indeed, back-end developers are the most sought-after developers on the market (55% of companies say they have high demand for back-end engineers).

🔖 Related read: Top Python Interview Questions

3. DevOps

The demand for DevOps is increasing and with good reason. According to Puppet’s State of DevOps report, businesses using DevOps practices are able to deploy code 30 times more frequently than their competitors with fewer deployment errors. This has a significant impact on downtimes and efficiency.

Therefore, many companies are hiring engineers with DevOps skills to manage scripting, coding, and process development. DevOps engineers usually handle IT infrastructure, supervise software testing and monitor performance after deployment.

But, there’s a hitch. Supply is relatively scarce. Why? DevOps engineers are multidisciplinary. Necessary skills range from development and operations to security, testing, and analytical abilities. As a result, DevOps engineers can hardly be mass-produced by the education system.

All in all, DevOps are tricky to find, expensive to employ and hard to keep. 

🔖 Related read: Hiring a DevOps Engineer: Top Interview Questions 

4. Architects

Solutions architects are also in high demand and relatively short supply. 

Architecture involves defining the components of a system, their functions, and their mode of interaction. Solution architecture is a complex process that bridges the gap between business and technology solutions. 

Simply put, the architect identifies a business’ needs and finds solutions to problems through the design and development of apps and information systems.

One such system is cloud computing. Computer systems are shifting from actual physical storage to cloud services. A cloud architect handles server administration, networking, deploying and running of applications on virtual and physical platforms.

As interest in cloud architecture has grown, so has the demand for architect developers.

“These positions (architect engineers) are hard to fill because they require expertise with legacy systems and expertise with new cutting-edge technologies […] They are increasingly in demand but are not a combination of skills that you can necessarily pick up with the same ease you would with some of the new coding languages like Python.”

Emma Liebmann, Head of Talent Acquisition at Collage.com, in an interview with TechRepublic

5. Application engineers

Application engineers, also known as software application developers, are responsible for creating new applications and improving existing software and hardware. 

Application engineers often act as liaison between development teams and customers. They rely on customer feedback and input to improve software functioning and user experience. They pinpoint use cases and define customer needs. They imagine solutions and manage new releases. They also work on maintenance and testing. 

It’s easy to get Application engineers and App developers mixed up. App developers create apps for computing devices and can specialize in mobile technology (Google’s Android, Apple’s iOS, Microsoft’s Windows). Application engineers, on the other hand, aim to improve software functioning and client satisfaction.

Why are Application engineers particularly difficult to find? Because they need to master a wide range of skills, from tech to communication. 

“Application engineering combines EDA knowledge with sales, technical marketing, and certain psychological qualities that make filling the position especially challenging.”

Kateřina Smrckova, Senior Human Relations Specialist at Codasip

6. Front-end developers

A front-end developer works on the aspects of websites that users interact with—from dropdown menus and sliders to colors and fonts—using a combination of CSS, HTML, and JavaScript.

Just as back-end developers are in demand to face the desperate need for functional websites, front-end developers are also sought after. Front-end developers strive to meet the growing expectations of today’s users, who want their web experience to be faster, easier, and more exciting than ever before.

🔖 Related read: How to Run Front-End Developer Interviews That Don’t Suck

7. Data scientists or Machine Learning specialists

Businesses, general consumers and developers are gaining interest in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI). In fact, in our Tech Hiring Survey, 35.2% of developers said they would like to learn more about these technologies in 2023.

This year, more companies will be searching for skilled professionals to handle the demands of AI-enabled products and services. There’s a high demand for candidates with knowledge of Data Science, Machine Learning, Big Data, Natural Language Processing, AI integration and AI application programming. 

As workloads increase, there’s a recognized need to develop automation programs for time-consuming, menial, and sometimes redundant tasks. With AI, employees can focus on more productive tasks.

Machine Learning specialists are advanced programmers who create AI machines and systems that can learn and apply knowledge. They use sophisticated programming and work with complex data sets and algorithms to teach machines.

Companies need data experts to store, sort, and analyze data retrieved by the organization. Such data is usually highly sensitive, which makes it especially important to have skilled workers who can process valuable data without jeopardizing the company. 

8. Cybersecurity engineer

Cybersecurity engineers are generally in charge of designing, developing and implementing security systems and subsystems. They’re responsible for protecting organization networks against cyberattacks. They look out for and address any cyber vulnerabilities or threats. 

Companies are struggling to find qualified cybersecurity candidates. One potential reason is the extensive and ever-changing list of required certifications and credentials. 

“Demand for Cybersecurity engineers is much higher than supply: cyber training courses are still fairly limited and very recent, so there are few experienced professionals compared to the growing demand (ever increasing threat, regulatory framework that’s starting to develop). And companies don’t tend to shine much light on the role, so it doesn’t attract many people. Moreover it requires a very large range of skills: (very) good technical knowledge in various IT areas, risk management, methodology, legal grasp, communication & popularization skills, budget management etc.).”

Frédéric Thirard, Head of Cybersecurity at CoderPad

9. Tester

A “tester” tests software or related projects for errors, bugs, defects or any issues that the end-user might encounter. Simply put, the job of the tester is to evaluate products and create reports for the project team regarding any issues or necessary improvements. To accomplish this, they analyze the project and ascertain the types of tests required. They then create a plan to implement the tests.

As technology continues to gain speed, so does the need for testers. However, working as a tester requires specific and relatively rare skills – it’s not for everyone! Even the most talented programmers can’t (necessarily) substitute the specialized skills of a tester. 

Indeed, it’s not easy to create the specific testing frameworks for a software, cause its failure, and then analyze its ability to recover fully. Testers need to brainstorm to test the logic behind every line of code that makes software work. A product will not be approved for use or sale unless it sails through all the tests performed.

10. Mobile developer

As the number of mobile users increases, so does the revenue potential for businesses. Today, companies who want to maintain relevance do not only need websites but also mobile apps.

The mobile developer is a programmer that designs and codes applications and programs that run on smartphones and tablets. They allow companies to deploy every feature from their regular computer website to the mobile platform. 

Mobile developers are in high demand this year, as companies look to create and update their space on mobile. What’s more, employment for app developers is projected to grow 31% by 2026, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As companies in different sectors continue to adopt different technologies to increase revenue and streamline workflow, the rise in demand for skilled tech workers is inevitable—and the positions listed above are set to give recruiters a bit of a headache!