Top 5 tech careers of the future (2024)

Sponsored by University of the Witwatersrand

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, data analytics and cloud computing had been growing rapidly over the years (even decades). But in the short space of just seven months they have become essential in today’s society amid the current global health crisis.

With such a driving force behind these technological adaptions, demand has grown exponentially for both jobs and individuals with the skills and knowledge which meet the needs of digitally transformed industries and sectors.

In fact, in 2018 it was reported that the demand for AI skillshad more than doubled since 2015, with the number of job postings up by 119 percent, according to online jobs portal Indeed.

Fortunately, the University of the Witwatersrand’s School of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics is getting students ‘future ready’ with its range of undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs that are designed to support students develop the skills, knowledge and personality needed to thrive in this new era of technology.

The university’s newly-appointed Vice-Chancellor Designate Zeblon Vilakazi has recently spoken about his dreams of transforming Wits University into an innovation hotbed and deliver the same world-changing technologies as MIT in the US.

“We need to continue to develop the originators, innovators and critical thinkers who can help us solve the problems of the 21stcentury,” he said.

So, if you want to pursue a career in artificial intelligence, data science or software development, what kind of jobs should you look for? What skills do you need to get hired? What type of salary can you expect? Let’s take a look at some of the top careers that are redefining the technology industry.

Machine learning engineer

This specific branch of artificial intelligence is ideal for those who have a passion for computer science and desire a career in a fast-moving and exciting industry.

Machine learning engineers use big data to create complex algorithms to ultimately program a machine (such as a self-driving car or digital voice assistant) in order to perform and carry out tasks like a human. Economic forecasting, image recognition and natural language processing are implemented so that the machine can learn and improve without human interference.

What degree do you need? A knowledgeable background in artificial intelligence and/or computer science is a must, with a master’s degree also essential. At Wits University, both the MSc in Artificial Intelligence and MSc in Computational and Applied Mathematics offer pioneering curriculums where students develop an in-depth understanding of data visualization, natural language technology, and computational intelligence in order to analyze problems and create meaningful solutions.

UX designer

UX (User eXperience) designers are concerned with the ‘behind-the-scenes’ design of ensuring software, websites, or apps meet the consumers’ habits, motivations, behaviors and needs. With more and more businesses turning to digital platforms to promote and sell their products or services, it’s never been so important to ensure the user journey and experience is the best it can be.

What degree do you need? A relevant undergraduate degree such as computer science is needed, while a postgraduate degree is desirable also. Professional experience is a must too.

Robotics engineer

As technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, robotics engineers are having to constantly analyze, reevaluate, configure, test and maintain the prototypes, robotic components, integrated softwares and machines they create for the manufacturing, mining and automotive service industries, among others. It is a highly technical job which requires patience and rational thinking.

Over the next few years, it’s likely that we’ll see a number of new and innovative ways in which modern technologies help society and business function – particularly in healthcare.

What degree do you need? A master’s in robotics or computer science will set you up with the skills, knowledge and experience needed to break into the field of robotics engineering.

Data scientist

Dubbed the ‘sexiest job of the 21st century’, data science jobs aren’t new and emerging like other tech jobs such as cloud computing engineers (more on them later), or machine learning engineers, but they’re still the hidden gem within any company and will continue to be.

As businesses and organizations collect and use more data every day, the demand for skilled experts has skyrocketed. With opportunities to work in practically every sector and industry, from IT to entertainment, manufacturing to healthcare, it’s the responsibility of data scientists to compile, process, analyze and present data for an organization in order for it to make more informed decisions.

For example, in June this year, six undergraduate students from the School of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics (CSAM) and the School of Electrical and Information Engineering (EIE) at Wits University took part in a virtual event for the ISC Student Cluster Competition alongside 82 other students from around the world.

They were tasked with testing and optimizing several applications currently used by scientists and researchers in the analysis of COVID-19 data in real time and the effects of global warming around the world. Students were also given two additional advanced coding challenges by the judges to assess whether they could successfully adapt to the fast-changing world of artificial intelligence.

Wits University took second place.

What degree do you need? To stand out in the field of data science, a solid understanding of data science and analytics is vital. A relevant postgraduate degree in computational and applied mathematics, data science, or e-science from Wits University develops students’ data-driven knowledge and technical skillsets.

Cloud engineer

Over the last few months, cloud computing has become a must-have for those working remotely. At the same time, organizations have been frantically hiring those with the skills and knowledge who can migrate processes, implement the necessary infrastructures and perform cloud-related tasks.

Cloud engineers are often titled under different roles, including solutions architects, cloud developers and sysops engineers. In some instances, the roles and responsibilities will vary, but the overall responsibility of a cloud engineer is to plan, monitor and manage an organization’s cloud system, such as Google Cloud, Microsoft 365, and Slack, to name but a few.

What degree do you need? As with many of today’s tech careers, a postgraduate degree is almost always required along with relevant professional experience. Students who study the MSc in Computer Science at Wits University can study a range of electives including (but not limited to), high performance computing and scientific data management, robotics, adaptive computation and machine learning, multi-agent systems, and human computer interaction.

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Top 5 tech careers of the future (2024)


What is the best tech job for the future? ›

The list of most in-demand jobs in 2024 includes cybersecurity, AI and machine learning specialists, data analysts and scientists, as well as cloud and blockchain engineers. Read on to learn more about the top careers in technology and the best IT jobs available on the market.

Which field is best in future in it? ›

Table of contents
  • Machine Learning Engineer.
  • Blockchain Engineer.
  • Data Scientist.
  • DevOps Engineer.
  • Software Developer.

What are the most in demand tech skills in 2024? ›

The most sought-after tech skills in 2024 include cybersecurity, cloud computing, data science and data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and blockchain.

What are the future proof jobs in technology? ›

Top ten best tech jobs in 2024
  • Blockchain engineer.
  • Data scientist.
  • Full-stack developer.
  • DevOps engineer.
  • Data security analyst.
  • Cloud solutions architect.
  • Mobile application developer.
  • AI and Machine learning engineer.
Jan 25, 2024

Which technology will be in demand in next 5 years? ›

Artificial Intelligence, DevOps, Blockchain, Data Science, Cloud Computing, RPA (Robotic Process Automation), Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are some of the trending technologies.

What are the top growing tech fields? ›

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the jobs with some of the highest predicted growth rates in 2024 are data scientist, web developer, software developer, data engineer, and machine learning engineer.

What is the hottest IT job? ›

Here are the best technology careers:
  • Software Developer.
  • IT Manager.
  • Information Security Analyst.
  • Data Scientist.
  • Web Developer.
  • Computer Systems Analyst.
  • Computer Network Architect.

What is the most worth IT job? ›

Find a job that works for you
  1. Applications architect. This is a high-paying IT role because just about every major business wants to improve existing applications or create new ones. ...
  2. Big data engineer. ...
  3. DevOps engineer. ...
  4. Systems security manager. ...
  5. Data scientist. ...
  6. Data security analyst. ...
  7. Database developer. ...
  8. ERP integration manager.
Oct 27, 2023

Which technology career makes the most money? ›

Top Paying Tech Careers in 2024
  1. Cloud Architect. Average Annual Salary: $174,984 [Glassdoor, Dec 2023] ...
  2. Network Security Engineer. Average Annual Salary: $160,471 [Glassdoor, Dec 2023] ...
  3. Data Scientist. ...
  4. Machine Learning Engineer. ...
  5. Cybersecurity Engineer. ...
  6. Software Engineer. ...
  7. Penetration Tester. ...
  8. AI Research Scientist.
Jan 18, 2024

What is the hottest tech skill in demand today? ›

What Skills Are Most in Demand in the IT Industry?
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) ...
  • Technical Support. ...
  • Networking. ...
  • Linux. ...
  • Programming Languages. ...
  • Web Development. ...
  • Quality Assurance. ...
  • User Experience (UX)
Feb 12, 2024

Which skill will be most required by 2030? ›

Top 10 Future Skills You Need To Be Successful In Your Career
  • Digital Collaboration. Companies want employees to stay updated with the latest market trends in today's competitive world. ...
  • Augmented Functioning. ...
  • Critical Thinking. ...
  • Cognitive Adaptability. ...
  • Sustainable Functioning. ...
  • Interculturality. ...
  • Data Skills. ...
  • Leadership Skills.
Sep 24, 2023

Which skill will be most required by 2025? ›

Here are the top 10 skills for 2025 for boosting one's employability and robust tech career development.
  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) ...
  2. Cloud Computing and Development. ...
  3. Full-Stack Development and DevOps. ...
  4. Data Science and Analytics. ...
  5. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) ...
  6. User Experience (UX)

What industry is future proof? ›

Technology industry: Software programming, developers and jobs involving data analytics and visualisation are just a few tech-driven roles set for future growth. Construction industry: Construction managers, civil engineers, concreters, electricians and plumbers are expected to be in demand in coming years.

Which field is AI proof? ›

Although AI tools can increase efficiency, the very core of the AI proof job careers such as digital marketing lies in the intricacy and individuality of strategies. In contrast with repetitive tasks, crafting persuasive marketing messages requires human creativity and knowledge.

Will technology replace jobs in the future? ›

The World Economic Forum has estimated that artificial intelligence will replace some 85 million jobs by 2025.

Which tech job has highest salary? ›

The 15 highest-paying tech jobs
  • Computer and information research scientist. ...
  • Data engineer. ...
  • Machine learning engineer. ...
  • Computer network architect. ...
  • Solutions engineer. ...
  • Information security analyst. ...
  • Software developer. ...
  • Mobile developer. Mobile developers create applications for phones, tablets, and other handheld devices.
Feb 12, 2024

What job has the highest future growth? ›

Fastest-Growing Careers of 2024

Jobs with the highest projected growth rates from 2022 to 2032 include nurse practitioners, data scientists, wind turbine service technicians and physician assistants. Below are some of the fastest-growing careers in the health, tech and trade sectors.

What is the highest-paying tech position? ›

Top Paying Tech Careers in 2024
  1. Cloud Architect. Average Annual Salary: $174,984 [Glassdoor, Dec 2023] ...
  2. Network Security Engineer. Average Annual Salary: $160,471 [Glassdoor, Dec 2023] ...
  3. Data Scientist. ...
  4. Machine Learning Engineer. ...
  5. Cybersecurity Engineer. ...
  6. Software Engineer. ...
  7. Penetration Tester. ...
  8. AI Research Scientist.
Jan 18, 2024

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