Main image of article Exploring 7 of the Hottest Niche Skillsets Within Tech

In today's competitive job market, positioning yourself as someone who can “hit the ground running” is essential to standing out, landing interviews and a premium offer for the job you really want. But how can you prove that you have the ability to achieve success immediately?

When you show that you possess high-demand niche skills, work experience or knowledge sets and know how to apply them to generate positive outcomes, you become a more valuable asset and gain an edge over other job seekers in a specific industry, business function or role.

In fact, MIT Sloan found that 65 percent of executives identified “finding workers with specialized skills” as a major challenge.

While there are numerous options to choose from, here are some examples of niche skillsets and expertise that are in demand and highly sought after in the technology field.

Applied Deep Learning

According to Udemy’s latest data, there was a 22 percent surge in consumption of artificial intelligence (AI) deep learning courses during the first quarter of 2024. That’s because knowing when and how to apply deep learning to solve problems represents the next level of machine learning and puts you at the cutting edge of cutting-edge technology.

This trend reflects a shift in demand from learners not simply learning about AI but understanding how to implement it effectively across businesses and workflows, according to Scott Rogers, senior vice president of Instructor and Content Strategy at Udemy.

Suffice to say that demonstrating the ability to apply deep learning to real-world projects in medical research and healthcare, manufacturing, financial services, customer service, gaming, robotics, self-driving cars or other industries or functional areas is a surefire way to make yourself more marketable to employers.

Practical Applications of ChatGPT

As everyone knows, the demand for ChatGPT skills continues to rise. However, those who can go beyond digital fluency and wield this conversational AI solution to create value across specific functions or industries will be able to compete for a growing number of high-paying jobs, noted Dr. James Stanger, chief technology evangelist for CompTIA.

“The surge in demand for people who can apply technology to a vertical market or business function is a sign of IT growing up,” Stanger noted.

Ransomware/Cyber Extortion

Although the overall demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals has moderated in the past year, with ransomware attacks on the rise, employers in a variety of industries are looking to hire cybersecurity and incident response experts who possess a deep understanding of threat actors and how ransomware works.

In fact, when ranking the top 10 in-demand skills employers are looking for, Saint Louis University puts incident response at the top.

Taking the SANS course on Ransomware and Cyber Extortion for incident responders or a similar program can help you learn how to monitor networks for suspicious activity, remove ransomware, and contain the damage caused by an attack, among other niche skills.

Generative AI and Cybersecurity

While there are many advantages to generative AI, this emerging form of artificial intelligence created a 135 percent increase in AI-driven social engineering cyberattacks in just the first few months of 2023, showing the need for training against potential threats posed by new tech to existing security systems.

It has become critically important for companies to bolster their team’s cybersecurity capabilities to thwart potential threats and safeguard against future AI-driven scams, Rogers noted.

More specifically, CISOs and security teams will be looking for professionals with niche skills to prepare for the impact from GenAI in four different areas according to Gartner:

  • Defend with GenAI
  • Attacked by GenAI
  • Secure enterprise initiatives to “build” GenAI applications
  • Manage and monitor how the organization “consumes” GenAI

ESG for Supply Chains

Udemy data also shows a 29 percent increase in courses consumed related to sustainability supply chain and ESG-related skills, indicating a growing emphasis on environmental, social and governance considerations in technology.

As companies come under increasing pressure to improve sustainability performance as it relates to supply chain operations, a rapidly evolving ecosystem of technologies, tools and best practices has emerged to meet this demand.

With 74 percent of leaders in a recent survey saying they plan to increase their investment in supply chain technology and innovation and the ongoing workforce shortage, becoming an expert in the technologies and strategies that reduce risk and drive sustainability can put you ahead of the demand curve.

Operational Technology (OT)

Organizations need people with the right skillsets to develop, manage, secure and maintain their automated equipment and digital processes. In fact, the Operational Technology or OT market is projected to grow substantially led by manufacturing, transportation, oil and gas electricity and utilities and other industries.

However, as Stanger noted, the use of OT isn’t confined to manufacturing. For instance, the convergence of OT and IT can be seen in medical devices, monitoring tools and diagnostic equipment used throughout healthcare facilities. The bottom line is that the field of operational technology is becoming more important and there’s a scarcity of people with the niche skills and/or engineering expertise to develop and manage the hardware and software that interact with the physical environment or manage devices.

CRM Systems/Sales Technology

Knowing how to apply Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and Salesforce Automation (SFA) applications to sales and marketing endeavors in ways that drive customer engagement, retention and revenue is literally a niche skillset that is worth its weight in gold.

After all, top-line and bottom-line growth are both essential for business success.

While you certainly need knowledge of programming languages, databases and operating systems to develop or customize a CRM/ sales solution, understanding the commercial drivers of sales success, the customer relationship lifecycle, and the optimal use of CRM and SFA for sales and marketing management can help you contend for the best jobs in the market.