It’s the time of year when college seniors are graduating and entering the workforce. While some new graduates have very specific job plans upon graduation, others may have a more general idea of the type of role they desire. This can be particularly true with those who want to enter the information technology field. Some may have computer science degrees, while others may have a background in graphics and design, analytics or even math and statistics, but want to take advantage of the career opportunities in the IT field.
A recent report by the University of California San Diego Extension provided insight on the top 10 emerging career fields in the U.S. for college graduates in 2016. Three of the top 10 emerging careers are in IT, with software application developers topping the list.
Technology continues to permeate every aspect of our lives, and the business advantages of effective tech tools are without dispute. More organizations are investing in software applications to improve productivity, reduce costs, improve access to critical business data and provide customers access to the information they need. Not surprisingly, organizations are seeking out individuals who have the experience, or at least the aptitude, to help them build the software applications needed to support business initiatives.
While I’m seeing companies do have a preference for experienced software developers, they are more frequently adopting a “grow-your-own” approach. Chronically low unemployment rates for software developers – two to three percent nationally – are leading many organizations to explore inexperienced or even non-technical candidates with really strong soft skills for their roles.
If you’re a recent grad and interested in an IT career, timing and market conditions are in your favor. Beyond software application development, there are many other career specializations that are favorable for new grads as well. Some of the top in-demand roles include:
• Web Designer/Developers as organizations continue to explore enhancements to their website to improve functionality and increase sales.
• Business Analysts as companies seek out organized individuals with strong communication skills to help analyze complex business issues and partner with IT departments to deliver technology solutions to solve business problems.
• Data Analysts as enterprises require individuals strong in math and statistics to analyze complex data sets and provide easy-to-understand business recommendations to key decision-makers.
The overall health of the IT employment sector is strong and certainly better than most. The demand for qualified candidates is higher than the available number of experienced technology professionals. As a result, employers are becoming more flexible in their requirements and willing to invest in developing their own staff to meet their business needs.
Recent graduates, or those who have entered the workforce over the last few years but may be interested in a career pivot, should explore options in IT. The timing is right with the current supply/demand dynamics, and employers are beginning to open the door to many non-computer science graduates.