By David Reichard, President
Technology careers offer something people from all walks of life are eager to find in their careers: high demand and unlimited growth opportunities. Technology is evolving, advancing and accelerating at lightning-fast speeds.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for software developers, just one small segment of the Information Technology (IT) industry, is expected to be around 24 percent between 2016 and 2026. At a median income of $105,590 annually, that’s a big deal for today’s students. A separate BLS study conducted in 2015 reveals that technology jobs will be the fastest growing for the next several years.
This rapid rate of growth opens many doors of opportunity for those who think outside of the box and constantly look to the future. Especially those who focus their attention on learning the right skills to help them advance with the speed of technology. But what areas will see the greatest demand and which skills will provide the greatest growth opportunities?
Fast Growing, High-Demand IT Jobs
While the future is wide open for IT careers, these are several fields where demand is especially high for qualified applicants and technology talent.
- Artificial Intelligence
With so many industries embracing technology, demand for IT professionals skilled in the concept of machine learning and AI are in high demand. This field includes machine learning designer, developers, and engineers. Other careers in AI include robotics scientists, data scientists, software developers and AI research scientists.
- Ambient Technology
Ambient technology is one of the emerging technology fields that is just beginning to see its possibilities. As more big names in business and industry embrace ambient technology, the need for more skilled programmers, software engineers, research scientists and support technicians will grow.
- Internet of Things (IoT)
From connected home security systems to voice controlled lights and televisions, the Internet of Things is making a big appearance in the lives of everyday people. While technology is at the core of this exciting field, the doors are wide open for new jobs and roles for technology-savvy talent including IoT developers, IoT architects, IoT product managers, IoT cloud engineers, robot coordinators, data scientists, and industrial UI/UX designers.
While most people still view blockchain as the new kid on the block in the world of technology and many more still limit it to financial applications, the truth is that blockchain holds far more promise than the average industry outsider can appreciate. From privacy concerns to cryptocurrencies, and a million places in between, blockchain is the technology of the future and the career implications are phenomenal for those who take the time to truly understand blockchain and its implication for modern business and industry. Great career possibilities exist for exciting careers as blockchain developers, blockchain engineers, blockchain technologists, blockchain architects, blockchain penetration testers, product management, and more.
- Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
More businesses are looking for ways to automate tedious, repetitive tasks that employees don’t want to do, or are overpaid to do. RPA designers, engineers, developers and other professionals work to create the tools that automate work processes that would otherwise be time-consuming and costly for business organizations.
- Business Intelligence & Data Analysis
Most people understand the concept of working smarter rather than harder. IT professionals specializing in business intelligence and data analytics use historical data combined with predictive models to help businesses make smarter decisions for the future of their organizations. From researchers to developers, engineers, and architects, this exciting field is ripe with possibilities for promising IT candidates.
- Cloud Services
As more businesses grow concerned about securing their information in off-site locations, cloud services are growing by leaps and bounds. That means the demand for quality cloud
architects, engineers, developers, data engineers, DevOps engineers and system administrators is growing right along with it.
- Cybersecurity & IT Infrastructure
Cybersecurity has taken on new importance for businesses of all shapes and sizes. While there have been numerous high-profile data breeches in recent years, it is small businesses who bear the brunt of risks associated with cyber crimes. They will continue to drive a huge chunk of the demand for seasoned industry professionals like cybersecurity architects, engineers and analysts, network engineers and architects, systems engineers and administrators, and vulnerability analysts and penetration testers.
As businesses seek out new ways to take advantage of the technological advances, the need for software developers and engineers rises to meet that demand.
- Web Developer, UX/UI, and Mobile Application Developers
All fields under the IT umbrella ultimately need people who can make it accessible to the masses. Professionals skilled in these arts which include website and mobile app design and development will continue to reap the benefits.
- Digital Transformation Consultant
Sometimes, businesses simply need someone who can help them put the pieces together, creating a comprehensive technology package their employees can use with ease to get their jobs done more efficiently. Professionals in this consulting role will work with product managers, customer service managers, technical staff, and marketing pros to create the “just right” fit that will help the organization achieve more success in less time.
Core Skills You Should Learn Now for an IT Career Poised for the Future
So, what skills do you need to be learning now to thrive in the growing IT economy? Because each discipline has different products, systems, tools, technologies and specific skill requirements, it is impractical to list all of the variations, here. However, to follow are the core IT skills are essential for anyone looking to build a future in the Information Technology industry. They include:
- STEM education (i.e. Science, Technology, Engineering & Math curriculum)
- Code writing
- Project management
- Time management
- Data analysis
- Logic and critical thinking
- Problem solving
- Information and Communications technology
If you make these skills a foundational part of your education and skill set, then you are positioning yourself well to integrate into any one of the growing areas of IT specialization where opportunity abounds and continues to grow.