The employment market seems to be in a constant state of upheaval these days. Yet, there are some types of professionals who never seem to want for job offers. They are consistently in demand, and take home handsome paychecks. This series will showcase occupations which are rapidly growing. These domains are facing a shortage of skilled personnel. Investing in these skills could put your career on the fast track. This first part of the series discusses top categories in the rapidly evolving Information Technology domain.
AI and automation
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is applied to automate decisions and tasks which are either repetitive, require very high precision, are too complex, pose risks to humans, or are simply boring. From a small robot in an auto assembly line to rovers exploring other planets, AI has extremely wide ranging applications. It has been around for decades. Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) are one of the oldest examples of AI. The autopilot function in commercial airplanes is another. Because of the way it is applied, AI is highly specialized. Instead of taking away jobs, AI has created thousands of new jobs in testing, application, and research. AI experts are now some of the highest paid professionals in IT.
Businesses want to know everything about their customer’s habits and behavior. Corporations are scrambling to move toward informed, data-driven decision making. Governments are increasingly using data for governance. Simple everyday actions can create complex data streams. Every point of sale and interaction generates data that flows to massive collective databases.
Organizations used proprietary data warehousing tools on smaller datasets very effectively for years. However, their decisions suffered heavily from missing variable bias. Nowadays datasets easily range in the gigabytes. Legacy solutions are simply incapable of handling networked data sources on today’s scales. Data science helps businesses handle gigabyte scale (and sometimes terabyte scale) datasets in a meaningful way. The demand for data scientists is exploding. Trends indicate that Big Data Analyst will be the single highest paid profession in IT during the years to come.
The cloud is not just a place to store party pictures. It is a planetary supercomputer which enables small businesses to compete at par with the big players. Cloud services such as IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS enable near real time analysis of terabyte-size datasets. Industry giants such as Microsoft are aiming to make cloud computing simpler and more affordable, thereby increasing its mass appeal. Just like other IT fields, making sense of the cloud demands highly specialized and trained professionals. Cloud computing is among the most popular courses offered by the best known global names in the IT training industry. A cloud qualification is now one of the surest ways to get a foreign work visa. Thousands of migrant IT professionals work in the US and send money to India to give their families a better life. Being able to navigate the cloud can take your career places.
Hackers are smart. Digital security professionals need to be smarter. Risks can come not just from the outside, but from within the office environment. Network security is a combination of many things. In today’s highly connected world security is all about preventing attacks. Large organizations and governments have teams of cyber security professionals that constantly scan for risks and develop countermeasures. As we have seen from past events, security breaches can have drastic impacts. Most digital security professionals work behind the scenes, in the obscurity of access controlled environments. Jobs in cyber security may not have glamour, but are certainly well-paid.
Digital project management
From education to governance, everything is going digital. More businesses are opting to hire globally, to have employees work remotely, and to pay online. Digital project management is a multidisciplinary field which requires a strong orientation toward collaboration, efficiency, and results. Professionals in this domain do all the things which conventional managers do, and a few more. Digital businesses require development of websites and apps, managing online content, ecommerce, social media management, and a range of other functions. Although Digital Project Managers may delegate many of these tasks, they need to have a good understanding of each. Good project managers are the supporting pillars of all successful online businesses.
Each successful innovation in IT creates a multitude of auxiliary fields, each with a potential to generate thousands of more jobs. Data analysts, software testers, web developers, app developers, ITIL professionals, digital marketers, networking specialists, and troubleshooters are just some examples. Some of today’s newer IT trends have real value, not because of their novelty, but because of their mass applicability. Being part of such a technology early in your career can secure your future for good.