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11 tech jobs hardest to find

  • By dataprocorp
  • 03/12/2024
  • 0 Comment
  • 208 Views

Top 11 tech jobs startup founders find hardest to hire

The tech job market is a study in contrasts. The tech unemployment rate sits at a low 1.8%, yet layoffs and hiring freezes make constant headlines.  However, the impact isn’t felt equally. Roles like full-stack developers, cybersecurity experts, and DevOps engineers remain incredibly sought-after and difficult to fill.  AI, ML, cloud, and data science specialists are similarly in demand.

Source: HackerEarth

While HackerEarth’s data sheds light on broader hiring challenges, one trend stands out: the surge in demand for AI professionals.  This aligns with our experience – AI and ML engineers are among the most difficult roles to fill. To help startups navigate this landscape, we’ll explore 11 in-demand tech roles, provide salary insights from ZipRecruiter, and offer actionable hiring strategies.

1. AI/Machine Learning Engineer

AI Engineer average annual salary in the U.S.

AI and ML are transforming industries, yet finding skilled talent remains a major hurdle for startups. Despite more IT professionals gaining AI/ML skills, the demand for experienced engineers far outstrips the supply. These roles require advanced math and programming skills, making it incredibly difficult to find suitable candidates, even for entry-level positions.

Similar positions:

  • Senior Machine Learning Engineer: RPA, Python, TensorFlow
  • AI/Machine Learning Enterprise Architect
  • Head of RPA program delivery
  • RPA Developer
  • Senior Web Developer C++, C# or Java .NET and AI, RPA
  • Business Development Manager – RPA + Intelligent Automation


2. Cybersecurity Engineer

Cybersecurity Engineer average annual salary in the U.S. 

Cybersecurity consistently ranks among the hardest IT roles to fill. The rise of cloud computing and our interconnected world increases vulnerability, leading to government regulations and a surge in demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals.  Finding those who can safeguard data and adapt to evolving threats is a persistent challenge for startups – specialists need deep technical expertise and must constantly upskill.

Similar positions: 

  • Information Security Engineer
  • Network Security Engineer
  • Security Operations Engineer
  • IT Security Engineer
  • Application Security Engineer
  • Cloud Security Engineer
  • Incident Response Engineer
  • Security Systems Engineer
  • Vulnerability Management Engineer


3. DevOps Engineer

DevOps Engineer average annual salary in the U.S. 

DevOps has transformed software development, boosting speed and code quality.  Its widespread adoption has led to a surge in demand for skilled DevOps engineers, making these roles difficult to fill.  DevOps engineers, who bridge the gap between development and operations, need strong coding skills and a deep understanding of DevOps principles.

Similar positions:

  • DevSecOps Engineers
  • DevSecOps Consultant/Engineer
  • DevSecOps Project Lead with Security Clearance
  • Security Architect 
  • Application Security Engineer (DevSecOps)
  • Security Architect DevOps, Software, SOC, IAM, Cloud, Retail

4. Full-Stack Developer

Full-stack average annual salary in the U.S.

Full-stack development is in high demand, yet skilled candidates are hard to come by. The role requires bridging the gap between front-end and back-end development, a skillset most developers don’t fully possess.  The experience needed for true full-stack work sets the bar high, making it difficult for startups to find qualified developers.

Similar positions: 

  • Full-stack Web Developer 
  • Full-stack Application Developer
  • Full-stack Engineer proficient in JavaScript, PHP, .NET, Python, or Java
  • Test Automation Engineer
  • DevOps Specialist

5. Software Architect

Software architect average annual salary in the U.S. 

Skilled software architects are incredibly valuable but difficult to find. They are the backbone of software systems, leading development, devising solutions, and managing the entire process. This demands both advanced technical expertise and strong leadership skills.  The extensive experience required for these roles makes finding the right fit a major challenge for startups.

Similar positions:

  • Software Architect
  • Solutions Architect
  • Enterprise Architect
  • System Architect
  • Application Architect
  • Technical Architect
  • Cloud Architect
  • Data Architect
  • Integration Architect
  • Infrastructure Architect


6. Cloud Architect

Cloud Architect average annual salary in the U.S. 

Cloud computing is booming, and the demand for skilled cloud architects is skyrocketing. This trend is only going to intensify, making cloud expertise a top priority for startups.  Cloud architects are essential for designing and implementing successful cloud strategies. Their specialized skills are increasingly sought-after as businesses move operations to the cloud.

Similar positions:

  • Cloud and Infrastructure Architect, AWS
  • Cloud Infrastructure Architect – Oracle 936
  • Solution Architect
  • Cloud Solutions Architect (AWS)
  • Platform Architect/
  • Google Cloud Architect
  • Service Cloud Architect
  • AWS Cloud Architect
  • Security Architect
  • Cloud Integration Architect
  • Azure Developer
  • Cloud Integration and API strategy, Cloud Engineering

7. Data Scientist

Data Scientist average annual salary in the U.S. 

Data scientists are in high demand, and that’s unlikely to change soon. They turn raw data into insights that drive vital business decisions.  Successful data scientists need advanced degrees, strong math and statistics skills, and expertise in machine learning techniques. Finding candidates with this specialized skillset is a major challenge, especially for resource-constrained startups.

Similar positions:

  • Data Analyst
  • Data Science and Analytics Director
  • Data Engineer
  • Senior/Lead Data Scientist
  • Data Analyst – Marketing/Retention
  • Senior Strategic Consultant – Data Science and Analytics

8. Software Engineer

Software Engineer average annual salary in the U.S. 

Software engineers are the backbone of software development, but finding skilled ones is a major challenge for startups. They focus on building and maintaining applications, turning ideas into working code. While less experienced than software architects, software engineers are in high demand. Their roles require a diverse skillset, making it difficult to find the right candidates.

Similar positions:

  • Software Developer
  • C++ Software Engineer 
  • Embedded Software Engineer
  • Robotic Systems Software Engineer
  • C#, MVC, SQL, Javascript Software Developer 
  • Systems Engineer
  • FX Technology Software Engineer 
  • Machine Learning Software Engineer

9. IT Project Manager

IT Project Manager average annual salary in the U.S. 

Finding strong IT project managers is a constant battle for startups. These leaders are crucial for planning, executing, and delivering successful software projects. As your startup scales, smooth project management becomes essential to achieving your goals.  The challenge? Attracting top talent.  IT project managers often require years of experience and expertise in Agile methodologies, while salaries can lag behind other tech roles. Despite this, the demand for skilled IT project managers remains high, making it a competitive hiring landscape for startups.

Similar positions: 

  • Software Project Manager
  • Infrastructure Project Manager
  • Systems Project Manager
  • Digital Project Manager
  • Agile Project Manager
  • E-commerce Project Manager
  • IT Program Manager
  • IT Delivery Manager
  • Project Lead
  • Business Analyst


10. IoT Engineer 

IoT Engineer average annual salary in the U.S. 

These specialists bring physical devices online, creating connected systems that drive innovation in industries like healthcare and manufacturing.  Their expertise in sensors, networks, and device integration is crucial for building the future of IoT (Internet of Things).  The challenge?  The skillset is complex, the technology is evolving rapidly, and demand is skyrocketing. As the IoT landscape explodes, so will the need for these engineers, making it a competitive hiring space for startups.

Similar positions:

  • Product Manager – Software, IoT and Apps
  • IoT Security Expert
  • Senior Information Security Architect, IoT
  • IoT Specialist Solution Architect
  • Head of IoT 
  • IoT Consultant 

11. UI/UX Designers 

UI/UX designer average annual salary in the U.S. 

The right UI/UX designer is essential for building products users love, but they can be hard to come by. It’s a role that demands a rare blend – technical savvy, artistic vision, and strong communication skills to bridge the gap with developers. Startups frequently struggle to find these multifaceted individuals as the demand outpaces the available talent.

Similar positions:

  • Senior UX Designer
  • Senior User Interface (UI) Designer
  • Senior Product Designer
  • Head of UX and Design
  • Senior Experience Designer
  • Design Lead
  • Interaction Design Lead


What you should know when recruiting hard-to-fill tech roles

The tech talent landscape is changing rapidly. With remote work options, the best candidates for your startup might not even be in the same country.  But finding the right fit for key roles remains a major challenge.  Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

  • Be prepared to adjust your budget: The best tech talent knows their worth. To compete, you’ll need to offer competitive salaries, comprehensive benefits, and opportunities for professional growth.
  • Refine your hiring strategy: Generic job postings won’t cut it. Target your outreach to highlight the unique aspects of your startup and the kind of challenges you’re solving. Showcase your culture and values to attract like-minded talent.

By being aware of these factors and taking proactive steps, you can improve your chances of successfully filling hard-to-fill tech roles and building a strong team to drive your startup’s growth.