Top 10 Essential Tech Skills Chicago Employers Seek in 2024

By Chevas Balloun

Last Updated: July 7th 2024

Chicago skyline with tech icons representing essential skills for 2024

Too Long; Didn't Read:

Chicago's tech scene is booming, with a projected 12.7% employment surge by 2024. Employers seek skills in Python (18% job posting increase), JavaScript and React.js, SQL, AWS (35% demand growth), cybersecurity (74% employer shortage), data analysis with Excel and Python, mobile app development with Swift and Kotlin, DevOps, machine learning with TensorFlow and Scikit-Learn (39.7% growth), and Agile/Scrum methodologies. Mastering these skills ensures you are well-prepared for top job opportunities in Chicago's dynamic tech market.

If you're a young go-getter trying to make it big in Chicago's tech scene, you're in for a wild ride. The city's tech industry is absolutely booming, with job opportunities popping up left and right.

We're talking about a projected 12.7% surge in employment by 2024, which is even crazier than the national average of 11.5%. Major players like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are setting up shop here, and the startup ecosystem is on fire.

But here's the catch – you gotta have the right skills to stand out from the crowd.

Companies in Chicago are desperately seeking techies who know their stuff when it comes to software development, data analytics, cybersecurity, and cloud computing.

That's why we've put together this ultimate guide to the top 10 tech skills that Chicago employers are craving in 2024.

Master these bad boys, and you'll be a hot commodity in the job market, trust me.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Python Programming
  • 2. JavaScript and React.js
  • 3. SQL and Database Management
  • 4. Cloud Computing with AWS
  • 5. Cybersecurity Skills
  • 6. Data Analysis with Excel and Python
  • 7. Mobile App Development with Swift and Kotlin
  • 8. DevOps Tools and Practices
  • 9. Machine Learning with TensorFlow and Scikit-Learn
  • 10. Agile and Scrum Methodologies
  • Conclusion: Preparing for a Tech Career in Chicago
  • Methodology: How We Selected the Top 10 Skills
  • Frequently Asked Questions

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1. Python Programming

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You already know Python is one of the coolest programming languages out there, but let me break down why it's still killin' it in 2024.

Python is the MVP of coding - easy to learn, super versatile, and backed by a massive community of coders. Whether you're into web dev, data science, machine learning, or just automating tedious tasks, Python has your back.

For web devs, Python's frameworks like Django and Flask make building websites and web apps a breeze.

Data scientists love Python for number-crunching with libraries like NumPy and Pandas, while machine learning enthusiasts swear by Scikit-learn, TensorFlow, and Keras.

Even businesses are hopping on the Python train for streamlining operations and building rad applications.

Python's simplicity means it's perfect for automating repetitive tasks, creating scripts, and prototyping ideas quickly.

Game developers also dig Python's compatibility with popular engines. And let's be real, who doesn't love coding in a language that reads like plain English?

The best part? Chicago employers can't get enough of Python developers right now.

Job postings have skyrocketed by 18% in the past year alone, with roles like software engineer, data scientist, machine learning engineer, and backend dev up for grabs.

So if you're looking to level up your coding skills and land a sweet gig, Python is definitely the way to go.

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2. JavaScript and React.js

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JavaScript is still totally relevant for aspiring web devs in 2024.

This versatile language lets you create dynamic websites, manipulate the DOM, and add cool interactive features. And with React.js, a popular JavaScript library, you can build mind-blowing user interfaces way faster.

React's component-based architecture makes coding a breeze, allowing you to reuse UI components and update them efficiently with that slick Virtual DOM.

Chicago is the place to be for web dev jobs in the coming years.

Companies like Netflix and Uber have jumped on the React bandwagon, so learning this skill will give you a serious edge.

With JavaScript's ability to handle server-side operations with Node.js, you'll be a full-stack rockstar ready to take on any web project.

To get started, check out online courses on platforms like Udemy or tutorials on sites like Mozilla Developer Network.

But the real key is building your own projects - start small and work your way up to more complex apps. And if you want an intensive, structured program, coding bootcamps like Nucamp offer comprehensive training to fast-track your journey into the tech world.

3. SQL and Database Management

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In 2024, knowing SQL and database management is crucial for companies that want to use data to make smart decisions.

SQL (Structured Query Language) is the way to manage relational databases, letting coders and data nerds easily find, change, and get insights from structured data.

While SQL databases like MySQL and PostgreSQL rock at handling structured data with set formats, the rise of big data and unstructured stuff has brought NoSQL (Not only SQL) databases to the scene.

Databases like MongoDB and Cassandra are built to handle massive amounts of unstructured or semi-structured data, making them perfect for real-time analytics, content management, and processing data from the Internet of Things.

The demand for SQL and database management skills is skyrocketing in Chicago, with hot job roles like:

  • Database Administrators: Keeping an organization's databases secure, fast, and error-free.
  • Data Analysts: Using SQL to dig into data and find valuable insights.
  • Business Intelligence Developers: Building data warehouses and creating reports/dashboards with SQL.
  • Software Developers: Integrating database functionality into apps using SQL and database systems.

To get started with SQL and databases, check out:

  1. Online courses and tutorials from Coursera, Udemy, and edX.
  2. Coding bootcamps like Nucamp, offering comprehensive training.
  3. Books like "SQL Queries for Mere Mortals" and "Database Design for Mere Mortals."

As Sarah Smith, a Data Analyst at a top e-commerce company, says,

"SQL is the language that unlocks the insights hidden in our data, letting us make data-driven decisions that drive growth."

With data driving decisions across industries, mastering SQL and databases will set you up for success in Chicago's booming tech scene.

Fill this form to download every syllabus from Nucamp.

And learn about Nucamp's Coding Bootcamps and why aspiring developers choose us.

*By checking "I Agree", you are opting-in to receive information, including text messages from Nucamp. You also agree to the following Terms of use, SMS Terms of use & Privacy Policy. Reply STOP to stop receiving text messages.

4. Cloud Computing with AWS

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Cloud computing is going to be massive in 2024. Companies need to be on that tech grind to stay ahead of the competition and keep things fresh.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is leading the pack, offering like a billion services for businesses of all sizes – we're talking computing power, storage, databases, analytics, the whole nine yards.

Some of the standout AWS services that'll have you feeling like a tech genius include Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) for scalable computing, Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) for storage that won't quit, Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) for managing databases like a boss, and Amazon Lambda for serverless computing that's event-driven and litt.

With AWS being the cloud computing king, there's a whole buffet of job roles up for grabs – Cloud Architects, Cloud Engineers, DevOps Engineers, Cloud Security Specialists, you name it.

According to those industry nerds at Gartner, the demand for cloud pros is expected to skyrocket by 35% in 2024, and Chicago is going to be a major hot spot for landing those cloud-related gigs.

To really level up and make those employers drool, getting certified in AWS is the play. They offer a ton of certification paths like AWS Certified Solutions Architect, AWS Certified Developer, and AWS Certified SysOps Administrator.

Certified peeps earn an average of 26.7% more than the uncertified plebs, according to AWS themselves. Online programs like Nucamp and AWS's own training resources can help you prep for those certs and become a cloud computing master.

5. Cybersecurity Skills

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Cybersecurity is blowing up big time in Chicago, and it's the spot to be for anyone looking to score a dope career. By 2024, companies are going to be scrambling for skilled cyber pros to protect their networks and data from all the hacking shenanigans going down.

Check out some of the hottest roles that'll be in high demand:

  • Cybersecurity Analyst: These are like the bouncers of the digital world, keeping a watchful eye on networks and investigating any sketchy activity.
  • Information Security Manager: The one who calls the shots on an organization's entire cybersecurity game plan.
  • Penetration Tester: Think of them as the ethical hackers, legally breaking into systems to expose weaknesses before the bad guys do.

To slay in these roles, you'll need to level up your skills in risk assessment, network security protocols, incident response, and get your hands dirty with tools like Wireshark, Metasploit, and Nessus.

According to CompTIA, a whopping 74% of Chicago employers were struggling to find qualified cyber personnel last year, so the demand is off the charts.

If you're looking to break into this cash cow of a field, consider scoring certs like CompTIA Security+, (ISC)² CISSP, or GIAC Security Essentials.

Plenty of solid schools in the city, like DePaul and UIC, offer cybersecurity degrees and training programs to get you prepped. With an average salary of $98K last year (thanks, Glassdoor!), and cutting-edge tech like AI threat detection and blockchain security on the horizon, Chicago's cybersecurity scene is where the money's at for anyone ready to grind and stay ahead of the game.

Fill this form to download every syllabus from Nucamp.

And learn about Nucamp's Coding Bootcamps and why aspiring developers choose us.

*By checking "I Agree", you are opting-in to receive information, including text messages from Nucamp. You also agree to the following Terms of use, SMS Terms of use & Privacy Policy. Reply STOP to stop receiving text messages.

6. Data Analysis with Excel and Python

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The future is all about using data to drive business goals, and in 2024, data analysts are in high demand.

Companies want people who can crunch numbers and find insights to optimize their operations. In Chicago, major industries like finance and tech rely heavily on data-driven decision-making, so mastering data analysis skills is key.

Two essential tools to learn are Excel and Python.

Excel lets you organize data, create visualizations, and run basic analysis. But Python, with its libraries like Pandas and NumPy, unlocks next-level data manipulation, modeling, and even machine learning.

By 2024, predictive analytics and real-time data analysis will be game-changers, so knowing Python gives you a serious edge.

With these skills, you can score roles like Data Analyst, Business Intelligence Analyst, or Data Scientist.

In Chicago, the average Data Analyst salary is around $90K according to ZipRecruiter, reflecting just how valuable these skills are. To get started, check out online courses, books like "Python for Data Analysis," or bootcamps that teach data analysis in-depth through real projects.

The bottom line? Data analysis is the future, and Excel and Python are your gateways to unlocking career opportunities in Chicago's booming job market.

Stay ahead of the curve and start learning these essential skills today.

7. Mobile App Development with Swift and Kotlin

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Mobile apps are blowing up in a major way, and Chicago is where the real action's at in 2024. The city's startup scene is on fire, and tech companies can't get enough of devs who know their way around Swift for iOS and Kotlin for Android.

Just check out these wild mobile trends - from AI and AR integration to foldable devices and super apps, the future is now.

If you're looking to get hired in this space, having solid mobile dev skills is a must.

We're talking mastering the latest frameworks, understanding cloud tech, and being able to whip up apps that are secure and optimized AF. The payoff is major too - developers who know their stuff can easily pull in six-figure salaries in Chicago.

If you want to be part of the mobile revolution, it's time to level up.

Sites like Udemy and Pluralsight have courses to get you started with Swift and Kotlin. Or you could go all-in with a coding bootcamp like Nucamp - they've got extensive training to make you a mobile dev boss in no time.

Just be ready to hustle hard and stay on top of the latest industry trends. The mobile world moves fast, but the opportunities in Chicago are endless for those who can keep up.

“The mobile world moves fast, but the opportunities in Chicago are endless for those who can keep up.”

8. DevOps Tools and Practices

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DevOps is the real deal in modern software development, and it's only gonna get bigger by 2024. Companies like Successive Digital are already all in on this, with 63% of organizations adopting DevOps practices according to UpGuard.

Tools like Docker and Kubernetes are the hottest things in DevOps right now.

Docker makes it easy to package and run apps in containers, while Kubernetes orchestrates and manages those containers. With these, you can deploy and scale apps faster than ever.

By 2024, the most in-demand DevOps jobs will be DevOps Engineer, Site Reliability Engineer, Cloud Engineer, Automation Specialist, and Release Manager.

To land these gigs, you'll need to get your hands dirty with DevOps tools, cloud platforms like AWS or Azure, programming languages like Python or JavaScript, and infrastructure as code tools like Terraform or Ansible.

It's all about continuous learning and staying on top of the latest trends.

As Kelsey Hightower, a DevOps legend, once said, "DevOps is not a goal, but a never-ending process of continual improvement." Embrace that mindset, keep learning, and you'll be unstoppable in the DevOps game.

9. Machine Learning with TensorFlow and Scikit-Learn

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Machine learning is where it's at! This tech is transforming industries left and right, and the demand for skilled pros is skyrocketing. By 2024, we're talking a massive $152.24 billion global market with a crazy 39.7% growth rate since 2019.

In this booming landscape, you gotta know your way around TensorFlow and Scikit-Learn.

TensorFlow, Google's open-source library, is a beast when it comes to deep learning applications like computer vision, natural language processing, and predictive analytics.

Its flexibility and scalability make it the go-to tool for building and deploying complex machine learning models. On the flip side, Scikit-Learn, a Python library, shines at traditional machine learning tasks like classification, regression, and clustering.

Its user-friendly interface and comprehensive docs make it a solid starting point for newbies.

The career paths in machine learning are diverse AF and pay serious bucks.

According to a recent report, job postings for Machine Learning Engineers in Illinois increased by a whopping 79% from 2019 to 2022.

Some of the hottest roles in this field include:

  1. Machine Learning Engineer
  2. Data Scientist
  3. Artificial Intelligence Specialist
  4. Computer Vision Engineer
  5. Natural Language Processing Specialist

To score one of these killer gigs, you gotta master essential tools like TensorFlow and Scikit-Learn.

Online resources like Coursera, Udemy, and edX offer comprehensive courses and certs. And bootcamps like Nucamp provide immersive training and hands-on projects to equip you with the practical skills employers crave.

10. Agile and Scrum Methodologies

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The Scrum craze is real in the Windy City, and employers are crazy about folks who know their way around Agile and Scrum.

These methodologies are all about speed, adaptability, and keeping clients stoked. According to the top Agile certifications in 2024, you'll want to flex with certs like Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Professional Scrum Master (PSM), and SAFe Agilist.

These bad boys show you're a pro at driving collabs and delivering projects on point.

But it's not just about the paperwork. Mastering Scrum essentials like Epics, Features, and User Stories is key.

These tools help teams stay organized and focused on what truly matters to users. Roles like Scrum Masters, Product Owners, and Agile Project Managers are hot commodities, leading squads through sprints and keeping the momentum going.

For those just starting out, online courses and workshops are the way to go.

Get your hands dirty with real projects and soak up knowledge from guides like The Agile Practice Guide. As Scrum evolves, expect to see more Scaled Agile Frameworks (SAFe), DevOps integration, and a bigger emphasis on continuous learning.

But at the end of the day, Agile and Scrum are all about staying flexible, collaborating like champs, and making customers feel like royalty.

Conclusion: Preparing for a Tech Career in Chicago

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The tech game in Chi-town is no joke, and if you wanna ball with the big dogs, you gotta stay sharp. Python, JavaScript, React.js, SQL, AWS, cyber sec, data crunching, mobile app dev, DevOps, machine learning, and Agile/Scrum - these are the skills that top tech companies in Chicago are hunting for in 2024.

But here's the real deal, keeping up with the latest trends and technologies is a must if you wanna stay relevant.

We're talking about continuous learning. According to the stats, 92% of tech bosses believe that their teams need to keep leveling up to keep pace with the changes in the game.

So, how do you stay ahead of the curve? First up, coding bootcamps like Nucamp are a solid choice.

These intensive programs can fast-track you into new skills like full-stack web dev or data analytics. And bootcamp grads in 2022 saw their salaries skyrocket by an average of 57.8% compared to their old gigs.

If bootcamps aren't your vibe, there are plenty of online resources to get your learn on.

Platforms like Udemy, Pluralsight, and Coursera are packed with self-paced courses and tutorials on the hottest tech topics.

And don't sleep on industry blogs and newsletters from tech giants like Amazon, Google, and LinkedIn - these can give you the inside scoop on what's popping in the tech world.

At the end of the day, continuous learning is the key to staying fresh and competitive in the Chicago tech scene.

Embrace that growth mindset, stack your skills, and you'll be ready to crush it in this ever-evolving landscape.

Methodology: How We Selected the Top 10 Skills

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We've got the scoop on the hottest tech skills Chicago employers will be eyeing in 2024. To get this list poppin', we did some serious digging. We're talkin' scouring thousands of job posts, grilling surveys from legit companies, and tapping into the baddest experts in the game.

First off, we hit up all those juicy job postings for tech gigs within 25 miles of the Chi.

Our squad cranked out some next-level code to sniff out the must-have technical skills companies kept dropping. We're talking skills that were all over multiple roles and industries, showing they're straight-up essential.

But that's not all! We also got the inside scoop from dope organizations like Chicago Women in Tech and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.

These savvy folks surveyed local businesses to find out what technical chops they're itching for in the coming years. Skills that kept popping up on multiple surveys? You know we had to include those.

Here's what we were looking for in our top 10 skills:

  • Versatility: Skills that slay across different industries and jobs
  • Demand: Abilities employers just can't get enough of
  • Future-proof: Skills that'll still be fire even as tech keeps evolving
  • Learning resources: Plenty of courses and bootcamps to level up, like Nucamp's programs

By mixing all these dope data sources, we locked down the 10 tech skills that'll have Chicago employers going wild in 2024.

Stay tuned to see what made the cut!

Frequently Asked Questions

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Why is Python programming so essential for Chicago employers in 2024?

Python continues to be crucial due to its versatility and simplicity. It is widely used in web development, data science, machine learning, and automation. In Chicago, the demand for Python developers has increased by 18%, making it a hot skill for software engineers, data scientists, machine learning engineers, and backend developers.

What makes SQL and database management important tech skills in Chicago by 2024?

SQL and database management are essential for handling structured and unstructured data, which is key for data-driven decision-making. Chicago employers need database administrators, data analysts, business intelligence developers, and software developers skilled in SQL and relational databases like MySQL and PostgreSQL, as well as NoSQL databases for big data applications.

How significant will cloud computing skills, particularly AWS, be in Chicago's tech scene in 2024?

Cloud computing, especially with AWS, is extremely important as businesses increasingly rely on cloud services for scalability and efficiency. Job roles like Cloud Architect, Cloud Engineer, and DevOps Engineer are in high demand. AWS certification can boost earning potential significantly, with certified professionals earning an average of 26.7% more.

Why is cybersecurity expected to be a highly sought-after skill in Chicago by 2024?

The demand for cybersecurity professionals is driven by the need to protect against increasing cyber threats. Key roles like Cybersecurity Analyst, Information Security Manager, and Penetration Tester are in high demand. Skills in risk assessment, network security, and incident response, along with certifications like CompTIA Security+ and CISSP, are critical.

What are the benefits of mastering Agile and Scrum methodologies for a tech career in Chicago?

Agile and Scrum methodologies are vital for improving project delivery and team collaboration. In Chicago, roles like Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Agile Project Manager are highly valued. Certifications like Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) and Professional Scrum Master (PSM) are advantageous, as they demonstrate expertise in managing agile projects effectively.

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Chevas Balloun

Director of Marketing & Brand

Chevas has spent over 15 years inventing brands, designing interfaces, and driving engagement for companies like Microsoft. He is a practiced writer, a productivity app inventor, board game designer, and has a builder-mentality drives entrepreneurship.