Outlook is everything in choosing a job and career path. This, of course, includes your professional outlook, meaning your aspirations and goals, but especially your knowledge of the market performance and projections for your field of interest. This outlook is essential to income and job security. Job seekers want to pursue jobs in strong markets that show no signs of slowing down.
Information technology (IT) is one of those markets. Is it on your list of most-wanted jobs? If not, it should be, especially if you like being on the cutting edge with equally attractive pay.
The reality is that most jobs today involve at least some background or experience with IT. Businesses and the entire world rely on technology to function every hour of every day, so experience with software and systems in your current or past jobs already gives you a leg up.
Some of the most compelling reasons to pursue an IT job include working model flexibility (think remote or hybrid), high pay, limitless variety and opportunities, and plenty of room for advancement in an IT career.
The IT field is delivering on all fronts for today’s job seekers. Are you ready to test the waters?
Here’s where it’s headed: Facts and promises you can count on
- Information is at a premium in every industry: The production, processing, distribution, and growing infrastructure around information are all powered by technology. The information industry has experienced 50% growth over the past five years and is responsible for $1.3 trillion of U.S. GDP annually. Continued growth is not a trend – it’s a given – and the right talent to support it is in high demand.
- Double-digit growth in IT over the next ten years: Since the pandemic started, information technology, along with food services, healthcare, construction, and personal services, kept the economy going. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects many of these industries will continue to experience dramatic growth in the post-pandemic era. Specifically, employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 13% from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations.
- What do these stats and trends mean for today’s job candidates? Opportunity! Consider that in the artificial intelligence (AI) market alone, as many as 97 million people will work in the AI space by 2025.
A wide world of opportunities and rewards
- Financial incentives: Earning potential is a significant factor in this career choice. IT professionals (including entry-level candidates) are commanding and receiving higher starting compensation packages than before the pandemic began for the same jobs, and there’s no indication this trend will reverse. This is a big reason to consider pivoting your career, skills, and goals to this industry. The median annual wage for computer and information technology occupations was $97,430 in May 2021, which was higher than the median annual wage for all occupations of $45,760. Many high-paying IT jobs also lead to advancement opportunities and the freedom to easily change career paths.
- Abundant jobs and fast employment: Technology companies are not alone in their search for IT professionals. Far from it. Organizations in every industry are challenged right now to find workers and specialists for entry-level to executive-level jobs. Demand is so high that companies are relaxing their requirements to onboard the talent they need. They’re also hiring contract workers to fill talent gaps and temporary and seasonal roles and implement special projects.
- Constant evolution in emerging fields: As mentioned, there is essentially no industry that doesn’t rely on information technology. It is the future. In 2021, Gartner featured 111 technologies on their emerging technology roadmap, sharing trends and technologies to come between 2021 and 2023. “Breakthrough technologies are continually appearing, challenging even the most innovative organizations to keep up,” says Brian Burke, Vice President of Gartner Research. (One of the key trends Gartner identified was not really about technology but the growing risk of talent shortages. Think job security!)
- Accelerated career progression: It is not unusual for professionals in this field to come into a company in an entry-level position and, within a few years (often far less), achieve middle management status and beyond. If you are a student majoring in a related field, you are also a prime target for hiring and quick advancement.
- Transferrable skills and on-the-job training: The skills you possess today in a specific industry, such as healthcare, manufacturing, hospitality, or any field, can help you land an IT job. So can your competencies in problem-solving and project management. Many companies choose to hire candidates who know their industries and then invest in training and up-skilling new hires. Many pay for certifications and continuing education, too.
Explore the landscape to find your desired niche
If you’re ready to dip your toes into information technology but don’t know which stream is the best fit or most interesting to you, we recommend starting with the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. It provides a list of computer and information technology occupation categories and job summaries.
If you would rather go mainstream in researching top jobs in the industry for a career change, simply google “the best IT jobs” and narrow your results to the past year. You will find a wealth of information from reliable sources, as well as industry research and job details. For example, here is a recent list from Investopedia answering the question, “What are the ten best tech jobs?” – which includes what they pay and the projected number of new jobs through 2030:
- Data Scientist
- Software Developer
- Information Security Analyst
- Computer Systems Analyst
- Web Developer
- Sales Engineer
- Information Technology Manager
- Computer Research Scientist
- Network and Systems Administrator
- Computer Support Specialists
More on education and certifications
There was a time when most employers required that IT job candidates have a college degree. Today, many organizations are focused on skills-based hiring in place of a four-year degree to widen the talent pool. “A person’s educational credentials are not the only indicators of success, so we advanced our approach to hiring to focus on skills, experiences, and potential,” says Jimmy Etheredge, CEO of Accenture North America.
IT certificates and certifications, along with hands-on experience, are helping candidates get in the door with today’s employers. That said, according to the BLS, many IT roles still require at least a bachelor’s degree. If you want to advance your education, some relevant majors include information technology, computer science, data science, data analytics, computer engineering, computer programming, computer networking, cybersecurity, software development, technology management, and others.
If you are interested in pursuing certifications to increase your value and marketability in the job market, this is the ideal time to do it. It is a lot faster and less costly than pursuing a four-year degree. Here are some current resources to explore:
- From PCMag, July 2022: The 10 Highest-Paying IT Certifications for 2022
- From CIO, January 2022: Top 15 IT certifications in demand for 2022
There’s no time like the present to ask for expert guidance on IT jobs
There are countless job boards, employment websites, and professional networks like LinkedIn. And then there’s good old networking among your peers. The whole job search landscape is hard enough to navigate under normal circumstances, but it’s especially tough when you are looking to change your career path to a job in IT.
We have a better and faster approach to your job search. Work with an experienced IT recruiter who wants to learn who you are, what you want to do, and has the know-how to align your existing skills with IT jobs that are available right now. That’s what we do at Goodwin Recruiting. And the best part is that we partner with leading employers nationwide to fill jobs across many industries. We would love to work with you to launch or advance your successful and prosperous career in information technology.