One can imagine blacksmiths and buggy drivers, as Model T Fords began rolling off the assembly lines in 1913, fretting about what the future held for them. Over the centuries, advancements in technology have stirred concerns about how the workforce would be affected. However, history and 140 years of data clearly show that technology has created more jobs than it has destroyed.
Thirty years ago, careers in cybersecurity, cloud systems administration, and data analytics didn’t even exist. Today, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are almost 10 times more U.S. computing jobs open than the number of students who graduated with computer science degrees. It doesn’t take artificial intelligence to understand that we are in the midst of a technological revolution that is creating unprecedented opportunities for career-focused IT professionals who have the foresight and education to take advantage of them.
Robert Cohen, a senior fellow at the Economic Strategy Institute, was recently quoted in Fortune magazine predicting 25 million jobs coming to America thanks to technology:
“Cloud computing, Big Data, and the Internet of Things will employ millions of people in new types of jobs. It’s almost like building out the road system or railroad system,” says Cohen in the Fortune article. “Now we’re basically building the superhighway for data. It will mean replacing old generations of computers with new ones.”
So, what does all this mean for you? If you are an IT professional or are considering getting into the field, the future is beyond bright. Entirely new industries have emerged in recent years, and the demand for tech-savvy workers at every level continues to grow at a dramatic rate.
Take, for example, the growing field of cybersecurity. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a 28% growth in information security analyst positions by 2016. The Internet of Things has created a world where everything from complex missile systems and communications satellites to individual tax files and medical records can all be accessed via the same network.
It may be a fun, modern convenience when your alarm clock tells your coffeemaker to start the brew cycle, but when hackers and cyber criminals launch new, sophisticated computer viruses, malware, and scams that threaten the data our society relies on, it becomes critically important to safeguard that infrastructure. That’s why cybersecurity professionals and information assurance analysts are in constant demand in today’s IT job market.
The changing interface where digital world meets real world is redefining the way we do business. More and more companies continue to replace traditional hardwired computer networks with software, storage solutions, and operating systems delivered directly over the internet. In fact, CompTIA research shows that 90 percent of companies are using some form of cloud computing.
This ongoing paradigm shift is fueling an unprecedented demand for highly qualified cloud computing professionals. If your résumé features industry-recognized certifications and a thorough understanding of major operating systems, cloud technology, and security, the sky’s the limit for your career in systems administration, CIS management, or technical operations.
Data management and data analytics are also hot trends in today's IT job market, and things aren't expected to cool down for the foreseeable future.
The digital age has resulted in massive amounts of data being generated daily. Big data analytics has the power to transform productivity and business performance in every industry. This is fueling an unprecedented demand for professionals with a proven track record for using statistical analysis and simulations to analyze and solve business problems.
For example, Computer World projects organizational needs around analytics will be huge, driven by the increasing number of applications (such as robotics) fueled by analytical output. If you have the ability to forecast trends, solve problems, and leverage the power of big data, you'll have your choice of exciting careers in advanced analytics, operations research, and data engineering for companies ranging from the next big tech startup, to well-established names in consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, heavy industry, and everything in between.
Throughout history, the job market has innovated and adapted to meet the evolving needs of society and industry. The IT revolution isn’t slowing down any time soon, and neither is the demand for anyone with the vision and motivation to see where things are headed. It starts with an industry-current education geared toward a specific area of the job market, like the innovative bachelor’s and master’s degrees offered at WGU, the best-kept secret in online colleges, according to Forbes.
So, don’t worry about the day when a self-driving car delivers your pizza or a drone drops off the dry cleaning. It’s happening. It’s exciting. And it just might lead to your next big career opportunity in an emerging area of the tech industry.