Over the past few years, skilled website developer and tech professionals have been in high demand for startups and corporations alike. And 2016 will be no exception. What will be different, however, is the sheer quantity of specialties companies are seeking in order to fill highly specific gaps, from data engineers to machine learning experts with deep knowledge of their fields.

Given that many companies are already hiring — or will be shortly — I asked 15 startup founders from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) which categories of technical talent they are looking for this year and why these roles will be so impactful. Their best answers are below.

Website developers, data scientists, AI

1.Front-end website developer

There’s a shortage in front-end web development talent but high demand for their skill set. We’re almost looking for a “unicorn”: someone who codes but also possesses an eye for design. Due to the digital and mobile shift, more clients require updated sites and apps. In order to meet this demand, we’ll need to recruit an experienced front-end website developer.

2. JavaScript developers

JavaScript has long been a vital part of web and app development, but with the coming of Node.js, it now has an important role to play in server-side development too. The huge number of Node tools that have been created over the last couple of years — from Gulp to PostCSS and many more — means that JavaScript on the server now has a great toolchain, in addition to its already extensive collection of libraries.

A great JavaScript developer is more valued than ever and can solve problems across a wider range of domains. I doubt JavaScript will squeeze out other server-side languages like PHP or Python anytime soon, but Node.js can certainly fill some of the roles these languages have traditionally excelled in.

3. AI and machine learning enthusiasts

Artificial Intelligence will take off in the next few years. We are actively looking for AI geeks and enthusiasts to work with us on a variety of tool development projects. Machine learning is not the same thing as just coding. There are many key differences and intricacies to pay attention to. The information on machine learning is still limited, therefore, we are seeking very specific talent who is extremely passionate about the futuristic aspects of AI and the possibilities that it might bring. We need fresh ideas and great execution from a team of AI geeks

4. Data architects and engineers

Five to ten years from now we will be amazed by how uninformed our business decisions are by available data. Internal and third party data sources are more accessible than ever and smart IT leaders are being proactive in how to take advantage of opportunities to gain visibility, predict insight and provide greater client value. But the challenge is that a clean data architecture has to be built into the system to get the benefits. Trying to clean data going backwards is onerous, expensive and often fails to answers the questions you really want to ask

4. HTML5 web developers

In an increasingly mobile world, it is imperative that your business presence is responsive on all types of devices, from TV to web to mobile. HTML5 ensures that the web presence of your business is optimized, agnostic of device. Looking into 2016 and beyond I intend to hire HTML5 developers. From a marketing perspective, “responsive design” is particularly critical in light of Google’s recent announcement around “mobile-friendliness.” In fact, if your web presence is not mobile-friendly (you can check here) you are likely to be penalized and not appear favorably in Google’s search results. In addition, Apple and others have announced plans to further advance the web experience via television. How your business responds from a technical point of view will be critical to your success long term.


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