Despite the fact that the current job market is quite weak overall, one sector of the market that is doing quite well is tech. There is a high demand for many different jobs in the tech sector from engineers to programmers and many different areas in between. Being in one of the many tech fields provides great opportunities for upward mobility, and the shortage of skilled professionals to fill many of these positions means that employers will compete over talent. Some areas of tech are growing faster than others, and the seven fastest growth areas in the tech sector are listed below.
1. Cloud Computing
The cloud is one of the biggest tech sector shifts since the creation of the internet. As the entire globe becomes more interconnected and more devices come online, the importance of cloud computing is growing exponentially. Two years ago, only the most die-hard techies could explain what the cloud is, but it now has entered the popular lexicon. Almost every major enterprise is embracing the cloud including Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Cisco, IBM, and normal consumers as well. Demand for engineers, programmers, and technicians who are about to assist in the migration over to the cloud is growing and will continue to grow. Management tools, data security, seamless connectivity, data migration, and many other tasks are part of the growing demand for cloud-ready employees.
2. Network Management
The rise of cloud computing is increasing the demand for network experts. A recent study of CIOs showed that 65% of them listed networking professionals as their most wanted employees. In addition to being the most wanted employees, the network professional positions were also the most difficult to fill. Being a skilled network professional requires proficiency working with many different technologies including servers, routers, peripheral hardware, workstations, wiring, data security, and others. Another vital skill for any network manager is the ability to work within a virtualized environment, while still being able to maintain stable and efficient network operations.
3. Mobile App Development
The mobile app market has exploded in the past 3 years. Today, a majority of people in industrialized nations carry a smart phone that is app capable. Today, medium and even small sized businesses are embracing mobile apps and the demand for individuals that can design and develop mobile applications is high. There is currently a massive shortfall of mobile app developers and the mobile app market is projected to continue growing at a 100% plus annualized rate for the near future.
4. Database Management
Database management is currently one of the highest paying areas for IT professionals with average salaries ranging from $80,000 to upwards of $100,000. Demand for professionals with experience with ETL (Extract, Transform & Load) and Informatica are particularly high. The resurgence of ETL is primarily a result of exponentially improving network infrastructure, extremely inexpensive SANs, and the newfound popularity of free and open source software. With the greatly reduced cost and the ever increasing amount of data available, more and more businesses are in need of database management professionals.
5. Desktop Support
A combination of factors including the rapid adoption of technology, government requirements for greater reliance on technology – the healthcare reform law for example – and a disjunction between employee knowledge and technological proficiency requirements has created a high demand for support professionals. A recent survey conducted by Computer World found that 42% of employers consider technical skills extremely important when considering a new employee. This shows how integral technology is becoming to business operations. With that said, many people are not proficient in operating the wide array of technologies and programs they are required to use, and support professionals are needed to aid them. Individuals who do not understand how to use a technology will choose not use it due to frustration, or they will use it incorrectly. Either option results in a waste of time and money, as well as a noticeable decline in workplace satisfaction.
6. Data and Network Security
Data and network security is quickly becoming one of the most in demand segments of the tech sector. With the numerous and catastrophic security breaches at major firms like Sony, Bank of America, Citibank, and others, the public demand for data security is palpable. Professionals that are skilled in data and network security are in more demand now than ever, and this is forecast to continue going forward. Most major enterprises are playing catch up in terms of system security, and with small and medium sized businesses embracing technology more and more, further security professionals will be in need.
7. Analytics & Pattern Recognition
With the mountains of data that is being generated and stored today, the value of analytics is continuing to grow. Inside these mountains of data are sets of valuable information that can be used to improve efficiency and performance for businesses. Currently, only 10% to 15% of the Fortune 1000 is making use of data analytics to streamline their business processes, but this number is sure to grow in the coming years. The ability to mine useful information from large data sets is a huge competitive advantage, and it will continue to be embraced by ever more businesses.
The high tech jobs of the future will revolve around mobile, analytics, cloud computing, and other forward-looking technologies. Information Technology spending on aggregate is expected to increase at a rate of 2% to 3% in 2011, but a greater portion of IT budgets is being shifted to data analysis, cloud computing, and embracing mobile.
The tech jobs of the future do not all require math or engineering degrees, however. It is true that programming, network management, and the heavy tech lifting will still fall on the engineers and math majors, but the ability to take data and apply it to normal business operations is just as important. As such, many firms are hiring MBAs and other people with non-technical degrees to work in conjunction with programmers and engineers to turn data into actionable intelligence for the company.