Do you speak IT?
The information technology job market is as strong as it’s ever been, with tens of thousands of highly lucrative and unfilled IT jobs available throughout the country.
And the barriers to entry in IT are lower than most people think — even for professionals already established in other fields, according to the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), a leading destination for training, certification and ultimately a career in technology.
“A commitment to learning, self-growth and finding a job that lets you capitalize on your innate strengths are some of the most important factors involved in switching careers into IT,” CompTIA says in its guide for shifting into an IT career.
Interested in working in IT or spreading the word about IT jobs? Here’s a look at the state of the IT job market and how professionals of all types can take advantages of these job opportunities.
The IT Boom Continues
The IT industry, already growing rapidly, is expected to outpace the overall economy’s growth in the coming years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics has projected that computer and information technology occupations will grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, well above the average growth rate for all occupations. Demand for these workers will be driven in part by a greater emphasis on cloud computing, big data and information security.
Recent trends indicate the boom is underway. U.S. IT sector employment expanded by an estimated 11,700 jobs in October, the strongest showing since this spring, according to an analysis by CompTIA. Hiring for tech jobs across the entire economy also bounced back in October, as employers added about 107,000 positions, CompTIA’s analysis of the latest BLS Employment Situation report says.
“The data confirms software, data and emerging tech skills continue to be hot commodities in the job market, which often overshadows the fact that employers are also in hiring mode for many core positions, such as networking, IT support and cybersecurity,” says Tim Herbert, senior vice president for research and market intelligence at CompTIA.
Switching Is Surprisingly Easy
Switching to a career in IT is well within reach for many professionals, even if it may seem daunting, CompTIA says. The group says anyone with the desire to get an IT job can find one that suits their unique skills, talents and interests. In fact, there’s a good chance that many of the soft skills you already have can be leveraged for a career in IT.
When considering a switch, CompTIA suggests first determining what you want out of an IT career. Start by asking yourself what you’re passionate about. How much money do you want to be earning? What makes you happy in a professional sense? Helping people? Solving problems? Being able to show off your creative side? These are questions you should work through as you begin to research possible career options.
Next you’ll need to research and compare training options such as CompTIA’s CertMaster Practice for IT Fundamentals+. It’s also important to identify any applicable certification options. CompTIA’s 4 Steps to Certification guide and its Get into IT digital brochure are good places to start exploring certifications and how they can help make you a more marketable job candidate.
It also makes sense to read IT job descriptions and talk to IT professionals to determine which technology jobs best meet your skills and interests. This could involve watching day-in-the-life videos on YouTube and on the CompTIA website, or attending informational webinars about IT careers and technology trends.
CompTIA also offers a free career quiz to see if you’re well-suited for a career in IT.
Emerging Technologies in Demand
Data indicates that emerging technologies are going to play an even larger role in the IT job market moving forward, powered by advances in AI, blockchain, big data and machine learning.
A recent CompTIA analysis of employer job data found that companies had advertised for more than 282,000 positions in emerging technologies year-to-date, an increase of 65 percent over the same period in 2017. In comparison, overall IT job postings recorded a 30 percent increase year-over-year.
Employer demand for cybersecurity professionals across the U.S. also continues to accelerate, CompTIA says. U.S. employers posted about 314,000 job openings for cybersecurity workers between September 2017 and August 2018. That’s in addition to the 715,000-plus cybersecurity workers currently employed around the country.
“Efforts to address the shortage of cybersecurity workers are underway on many fronts, but progress has been frustratingly slow,” says Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO of CompTIA. “The threats are real and growing, with the potential to impact the livelihood of any organization. Our current cybersecurity workforce is doing what it can to keep us protected. It’s critical for private-sector companies and public-sector agencies to take the actions necessary to bring more people into the cybersecurity workforce, and to equip them with the appropriate education, training and certifications.”
This post is sponsored by CompTIA.