IT Careers: 20 Years in – Still the Best Option

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Software Developer is No. 3 on the U.S. News & World Report top 100 jobs list; computer systems analyst is No. 7; information security analyst No. 8 and web developer just misses the top ten at No. 11. What’s more, over half (61%) of technology professionals earn higher salaries now than in the past year and some analysts say demand for such roles outstrips supply so much it takes takes months, rather than weeks, to fill a new role.

Feeling buoyed? You should. The IT industry is quietly booming and as 2016 ushers in, we’re looking at a world in which IT careers are still one of the best options.

John Reed, executive director, Robert Half Technology, said in a statement, “With a low unemployment rate, and a projected overall salary increase of 5.3 percent in 2016, the widening demand for technology talent makes now a great time for interested job seekers to find their place in the tech field.”

Where are they hiring?

Silicon Valley may be the original and “Silicon Alley” has spread well beyond the Flatiron District of New York, but now you’ll need to look between coasts to find where jobs are increasing most. According to Dice, Salt Lake City has seen an 85% increase in tech job postings.

Low taxes, local schools producing skilled workers and infrastructure to support businesses and lifestyles are reasons why Utah is seeing a boom. Rounding out the top 10 fastest growing areas are Cincinnati, Miami, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Raleigh, Detroit, Hartford, Seattle and Nashville.

Robert Half Technology’s 2016 Salary Guide for Technology Professionals cites project work and consulting roles as in demand because businesses finally have money to upgrade and invest in new technologies. But the positive trends don’t end there.

While mobile, the Internet of Things and Big Data are all growth drivers, the report notes that IT pros with both new and legacy business systems knowledge are “highly sought.”

Want to be a top candidate? An IT superstar? Add “soft skills” to your wheelhouse. The Robert Half report states: “More employers are looking for the whole package when hiring IT professionals for their teams – candidates with a solid mix of technical and soft skills.” Particularly sought out are communication, problem-solving, collaboration, team-oriented and creative abilities.

The “hot industries” include financial services, healthcare, managed services, telecommunications and hospitality.

How much?

Without exception, research shows salary increases across functions within technology. The range of growth goes from 1% in a job like “computer operator” to a high of nearly 10% for wireless network engineers.

Data scientists (+8.9%) and mobile app developers (+8.2%) are on the high end as well. In fact, big data engineers are No. 1 on Robert Half’s top 10 roles to watch in 2016 and can expect to make between $129,500 and 183,500.

What about jobs in the data center?

The trend towards outsourcing facilities management and the transition to automation have caused job pressures and career challenges but also created opportunities for data center workers.

On the challenging side, Russell Senesac, Data Center Business Development Director, Schneider Electric says, “Their jobs must move from tactical to strategic, coming from a position of being able to make recommendations to improve the data center. It’s about knowing where the space is going versus just wrenching and reporting,”

This doesn’t mean managers should let their fundamental skills lag, but get ahead of them with certifications in new technologies. They should also look to boost their business acumen.

The blurred line of next-generation technology roles is also illustrated in the progress that has been made in virtualization. To that end, Schneider Electric’s Henrik Leerberg, Product Line Director for StruxureWare for Data Centers wonders about who is looking after the physical servers.

Herein lie opportunities. He believes the best group to take over the responsibility are facilities departments and data center managers.


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