Programmers don't get enough credit. People often misunderstand the role they play as limited to solving minor issues such as license expirations and email syncing problems. However, the world of IT is more complex and vast than most people could imagine. From artificial intelligence to project management software, information technology uses computers to interact with all kinds of data and information.

Many experts now believe the information age is coming to an end as we enter what some call the experience age. While society transitions from wanting information to seeking experiences, information is still necessary to create those positive moments. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the number of IT positions in the US will increase by 14 percent by 2030.

To stay in an industry that you enjoy or to switch to one that is seeing more growth, you also have to be willing to adapt. While I started my career in radio, I saw the potential for growth in an online career. In order to switch lanes, I had to inform myself about new technologies and strengthen my skill set. With the growing importance of IT as technology evolves, keeping up with new trends and challenges is a must. I believe that there are three essential skills every IT professional should consider learning to increase their employability and performance.

Risk Analysis

Cybersecurity is becoming an increasingly relevant field each year as the number of data breaches, ransomware attacks, social engineering, and other cyber threats continues to increase. According to IBM, the average cost of each breach increased by 10 percent between 2020 and 2021, reaching $4.24 million.

A common misunderstanding is to think that cybersecurity professionals are the only members of the IT world who are required to assess risks. In fact, most attacks are only possible due to a poor understanding of digital security by those in other areas. Email phishing is a significantly more successful attack vector when compared to remote desktop protocol exploits and software vulnerabilities. 

Risk identification, analysis, and management are some of the skills that you should look into if you seek to add value to your resume by keeping your organization's sensitive data safe. Fortunately, people all around the globe are becoming increasingly aware of the relevance of these skills. 

Machine Learning

The global machine learning market was valued at $15.44 billion in 2021, and it is expected to grow to $209 billion by 2029. Machine Learning is a technology that has grown in popularity over the past years, especially driven by the success of companies like Google in the field of AI. 

This success is also in big part due to the technology becoming more accessible to the masses. Take OpenAI's AI image generator, DALL-E, as an example: Since DALL-E Mini went public, it has been given uses ranging from making memes to artwork worth the attention of The New Yorker.

Gone are the days in which machine learning was only accessible to researchers in top-notch institutions. Today, machine learning can be mastered all around the globe in official institutions, online education platforms, and even via comics.

Web3/Blockchain Development

Whether you are invested in crypto and NFTs or not, the Metaverse is being built, and it promises to turn centralized, corporate-controlled Web2 on its head. The world of computer users--that's pretty much all of us--has, for years, grown increasingly frustrated by having to operate under the oversight of a few monoliths. 

The promise of Web3 is community--not corporation--first.

Innovators in the space like Proof of Learn are developing easily accessible educational platforms where Web2 pros and the tech-interested can learn to code in Web3, in a learn and earn model. The company's first project is a lore-rich online academy called Metacrafters.io, drawing in gamers and developers, and attracting some serious backing from leading VCs and crypto investors. Fellow industry leaders, such as Solana, Flow, Avalanche, and Polygon Foundations, recently gave $4.5 million in grant funding to support Metacrafters' mission of upskilling Web2 developers. This grant helps fund their learn and earn protocol, so you get to take courses in a game world and get paid for it. 

Metacrafters.io might be one with this learn and earn model teaching coding skills, but it is in line to inspire more of its kind. Look around at the landscape of Web3 education and get cracking, because the Metaverse will be here sooner than expected, and developers will be the major players in it.