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Part of Western Governors University

June 20, 2019

Information Technology

6 of the fastest-growing jobs in IT.

An IT professional runs diagnostics on a server rack.

The IT field continues to be highly attractive to new professionals—in part because of the breadth of careers the field offers, but also because business is booming.

Gartner expects worldwide spending on information technology to top $3.8 trillion in 2019, a spending increase of more than 3 percent from 2018. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the number of jobs in IT will grow by 13 percent by 2026, faster than the average for all occupations, because of greater emphasis on cloud computing, the collection and storage of big data, and information security. These are high-paying jobs, too: The average annual IT salary was $84,580 in 2017, according to the BLS, which is more than double the average salary for all occupations that year.

The opportunities for jobs in IT are nearly limitless, and they extend far beyond the help desk. While the overall outlook for IT employment is high, some positions are in greater demand than others. Here are six of the fastest-growing jobs in IT, as reported by CIO.

Cloud architect/cloud systems engineer.

These jobs are linked but distinct. Cloud architects oversee a company's cloud computing strategy. They design systems and develop standards to ensure that applications work together seamlessly in the cloud. Similarly, cloud engineers implement, manage, and support cloud systems, and they build the connections that link cloud applications.

Gartner predicts that spending on cloud software will increase more than 22 percent this year, compared with 6 percent growth for all other forms of software. As businesses shift their IT systems to the cloud, experienced cloud architects and engineers are in high demand—and organizations are struggling to find qualified candidates.

A bachelor's degree in cloud and systems administration can put you on the path to a successful career as a cloud architect or engineer. Over the course of the program, you'll earn 18 industry certifications without having to invest additional time or money—which will make you highly desirable to employers.

Security professional.

Cybersecurity professionals  keep IT systems safe from potential threats by analyzing and creating security protocols. They're in high demand as businesses increasingly rely on data for their daily operations and as cyberattacks multiply. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, Information Security Analysts earn over $98,000 per year, and the demand for them will grow by 28% over the next 7 years. Demand in the field has been so strong, in fact, that the unemployment rate has been zero for several years now.  

As a cybersecurity professional, you'll quickly earn a six-figure salary while battling cybercriminals. With a bachelor's or master's degree in cybersecurity and information assurance, you'll possess the skills and expertise needed to probe IT systems for weaknesses and protect them from attacks. You'll also receive industry certifications that will propel you to the top of the applicant pool for any cybersecurity position.

Data scientist.

Data scientists help companies gather, process, and analyze data to make better decisions and improve efficiencies. Data mining is a big business, and companies that effectively mine data can reap huge rewards. The careers website Glassdoor ranked data scientist as its best job in the United States for 2019, based on a combination of high demand (more than 6,500 job openings as of January 2), average base salary ($108,000), and job satisfaction (4.3, on a five-point scale).

The bar for entry is high, though: most companies require their data scientists to hold master's degrees. A master's in data analytics will prepare you for success in this rewarding career by teaching you to effectively analyze and interpret data.

Network administrator.

Connectivity and the seamless flow of information are essential to a company's daily operations. Network administrators keep an organization's computer and IT networks running smoothly by monitoring systems performance and troubleshooting problems. With a bachelor's degree in network operations and security, you'll be well positioned for a career as a network administrator thanks to the 14 sought-after industry certifications you'll receive as part of your coursework.

Software developer.

Software developers design and build the applications that allow people to do specific tasks on a computer or mobile device. App developers are especially in-demand right now; the Bureau of Labor Statistics says it's among the 10 fastest-growing careers in the U.S. and projects the field to grow 31 percent by 2026.

Software developers typically make more than $100,000 per year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says, and a bachelor's degree can significantly increase your earning potential as well as your opportunities for career advancement. Graduates who complete a bachelor's in software development, for instance, leave the program with a solid foundation in computer programming, web development, and application development, not to mention fluency in popular programming languages such as Java or C#, and multiple industry certifications.

Computer scientist.

As data, networks, organizations, and systems grow in complexity, so do the problems that arise from them. Existing technologies are not always up to the task of solving these problems, so there is a large and fast-growing need for experts who can develop new hardware, software, and other tools to tackle them. 

According to BLS data, demand for computer scientists is expected to grow at a rate of 19 percent through 2026, and the median salary for these roles is around $118,000 per year. So, if you want to push the boundaries of technology and make good money in the process, computer science may be the perfect fit for you. 

A variety of roles.

IT is a growing industry with a wide variety of in-demand roles. Whether you want to create the applications organizations use or protect those applications from cyberattacks, there's an IT job for you. It all starts with identifying your career goals and pursuing a degree that'll help you achieve them.

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