5 Tech Sector Employment Trends
Last week, we reported a new study by CompTIA on job growth in the US tech sector. We recently sat down with Tim Herbert, CompTIA senior vice president of market research & intelligence, who offered some insight as to what the numbers in Cyberstates 2015: The Definitive State-by-State Analysis of the U.S. Tech Industry mean for the near future of tech sector employment.
- Tech needs more skilled workers
The report relies on job posting data, which is a good indication of real-time employer demand. Job posting data can give insight into the types of skills employers are looking for, the kind of companies that are especially aggressive in recruiting tech talent and the geographic locations where hiring is happening.
“When you look at some of the job posting data for Q4 2015,” says Herbert, “the number of job postings were up 30% over Q4 2014.” Translation? The labor market for tech talent is still tight, meaning there are more jobs available than workers to fill them.
- Cybersecurity equates to job security
“In terms of growth, the number one occupation year-over-year in terms of demand is cybersecurity professionals,” says Herbert. What makes this such a growing occupational trend, he explains, is the prevalence of jobs for which cybersecurity is a requirement. That is, you may not see a job posting for “cybersecurity specialist,” but odds are that openings for positions from IT support to network engineers will require some expertise in the field.
- Get your head in the cloud
Job titles usually lag several years behind the actual job market, Herbert explains, especially when it comes to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). So while you still continue to see many of the traditional titles such as “network architect” or “software developer,” the underlying details are all about cloud computing capabilities. “You continue to see the influence of cloud in many of those positions,” says Herbert, “so we expect that to be a continuation of an ongoing trend.”
- Big need for big data
“Data is the other big one,” says Herbert. While titles such as “Chief Data Scientist” are still relatively niche, job descriptions are clearly reflecting a need for data analysis abilities. “Increasingly, you see demand for individuals—and they may be in the IT department, they may be more on the business intelligence side—who have the skills to bring together various data streams [and] take advantage of next generation or emerging data tools.” Individuals who can process, analyze, visualize and present data will continue to be in demand.
- Forge your own path
The study reported that the average tech sector wage of $105,400—more than double the average private sector wage. While Herbert says we should take that with a grain of salt considering how much income varies state-to-state and among seniority levels, he says that tech presents special opportunities for workers to create their own path to success.
“One thing I think is fairly unique about the tech sector is the many avenues for individuals to find employment within technology,” he says. “The barriers for entry are often much lower than other occupations, whether it is a two-year college degree, through professional certifications or credentials or even the opportunity to teach yourself how to code and start doing web or mobile app development.” The lack of traditional hierarchical structure in much of tech means that earning potential is much greater for those who may not possess formal credentials, as may be required in other industries. “There is certainly a path of advancement in the technology field that I don’t think exists in many other sectors of the US economy.”