Lean Into Tech: 2020 Tech Skills Trends & 2021 Predictions

#DigitalTransformation accelerated amid a turbulent year, illuminating the need for an upskilled, future-fit workforce 

Skillsoft, a leader in digital learning, training, and talent solutions to help organisations unleash their edge, today (13 Jan) released Lean Into Tech: 2020 Tech Skills Trends & 2021 Predictions.

As we enter 2021 and beyond, work has irrevocably changed.

Following a year that brought a pandemic and an uncertain global economy, the report offers insight into the rapidly shifting technology landscape, the critical capabilities needed to weather the storm, and the skills needed to put organisations ahead in 2021.

Skillsoft’s analysis of five million learners provides a deeper understanding of how the confluence of these circumstances will affect the workforce for years to come and signals the rapid changes in technology that organisations must quickly adapt to.

Technology, by nature, is constantly changing; the circumstances of 2020 accelerated that, making it difficult for organisations to keep up. According to a 2020 Brandon Hall Group survey titled, “L&D and the Impact of COVID-19” commissioned by Skillsoft, 45 per cent of organisations are planning to increase tech investment to prepare for the future. Technology skills are in high demand, but supply is low – exacerbating an already widening skills gap. 

The report captures the collective technology learning needs of five million learners from the technology and developer industry. Using consumption and search patterns from these users across five areas – Software Craft, Programming, Data, Security, and Cloud – the report highlights resulting trends and recommends corresponding skills to develop.

The report predicts 2021’s most in-demand tech skills to include:

  • Programming languages like Python
  • Data analytics
  • Data security fundamentals

  • Agile methodologies 
  • DevOps and SecOps
  • Cloud fundamentals

“Technology leaders are the driving force for business success,” said Michael Yoo, customer market leader and GM, technology and developer market, Skillsoft.


“As we look forward, the future of work depends on the ability to navigate the rapidly innovating technology space. This report provides faint signals that have bearing on what technologists will want to learn in the future. We've seen learning needs in Software Craft, Infrastructure, and Data lead the globe. There is no better time for an organisation to fully embrace upskilling their workforce to create a future-ready team.” 

When organisations across the globe went remote, a spotlight moved quickly to the need for online security of information. Cybersecurity intrusions are more frequent and the perils more harmful, and safety relies on people as much as it does technology. Skills such as DevOps and CloudOps Security saw a spike in 2020 – and will be in-demand as the workforce continues to navigate a remote work environment and offices are increasingly virtual. Meanwhile, Skillsoft discovered learners’ intensified need to understand processes and methodologies such as Agile and DevOps which have been consumed more frequently than the programming languages themselves.

“The technology world no longer has the luxury of hiring for in-demand skills – upskilling and reskilling are the only sustainable, effective way forward,” continued Yoo.

“Investing in your people not only strengthens the workforce but invests in the skills economy and prepares our world for what’s to come.” 

Organisations are increasingly data-driven: Skillsoft saw a 1,000 per cent increase in courses related to data analysis and data visualisation. Data is no longer confined to one area of the organisation, sitting underneath a single purview. Data technology spans the enterprise, as such, organisations must increase data literacy in all job roles through skills like data analytics and data security fundamentals.

The Lean Into Tech: 2020 Tech Skills Trends & 2021 Predictions report follows the December release of Skillsoft’s Lean into Learning: 2020 Annual Learning Report, which offered leaders insight into trends across technology and developer, leadership and business, compliance, safety, and more. 

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