Information Technology Careers
In my years as both a recruiter and academic advisor, I’ve often been asked about “hot careers” or jobs that will be in demand in the future. Depending on the time I was asked, I might have given a slightly different answer, but a part of it was ALWAYS something about it not mattering what was going to be hot in the future, if it wasn’t something you wanted to do! So before I start recommending you go into a certain career, I want to stress that the most important part of choosing a career is your interest and ability in that area.
Having said that, there are two huge factors currently driving many people’s interest in and concern about choosing a career for the future. The factors are; 1. the current state of the U.S. (and world) economy, and 2. the enormous resources being poured into the economy by the Obama administration to try and rectify the situation. So with that as a backdrop, I take up a discussion of the information technology field, and what possibilities it could hold for the future. Please note that because of the speed with which changes to the economy and job markets are occurring, I have relied upon resources published since January of 2009 to write this article.
The first thing you should probably know is that information technology is both a sector of the economy – Dell, Oracle, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, Apple, etc. AND a function performed for and in almost every business in the economy. So you could think of the career in terms of whether you would be interested in creating and building the latest technology, or in using that technology to maximize the profitability of a business. Both are information technology jobs, and both have some facets that are expected to be in very high demand in the future.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “…most IT occupations are expected to remain in high demand and have strong job growth.” However, job opportunities for computer programmers have declined since 2000, and are expected to continue through 2016 – due in part to offshoring, automation, and the ability to do many of the tasks remotely. Network systems and data communications analysts, on the other hand, are predicted to be in the fastest growing occupation, period.
IT jobs still appear on virtually everyone’s “list of hot careers”, but further specialization or work within specific industries appears to be the way to go. Industries expected to see significant infusions of stimulus monies include: medical information technology, energy, sustainability, automotive, and banking. Specializations expected to be in demand in the near future include: software design and engineering, data mining, wireless networks, game development, and data security, among others.
Skills necessary for a career in this field include: curiosity about what makes computers work, problem-solving skills and attention to detail. What will put you in the driver’s seat, however, will be education and training. You can enter the field or ready yourself for upward mobility by participating in an information technology training or certification program. Of course, attaining an Associate’s, Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in the field will increase your employability with each step up the educational ladder
With the right skills and abilities, selection of an in-demand specialization you are truly interested in, and the right education, you could put yourself in an excellent position in this uncharted job market.
http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2009/spring/art04.pdf - Employment, Trends, and Training in Information Technology pdf
Your Next Job, Reader’s Digest, March 2009, p. 98-117, Cathie Gandel and Hilary Sterne
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