This post is part of a series – 14 Business and Technology Trends to Look for in 2014.
As nearly every facet of life becomes digitized, the need for creative and innovative tech talent is only going to grow.
Let’s face it, the last 10 years have not been all rosy for high-tech employees focused on CIS, IT and programming. Outsourcing and offshoring led to a decline in total U.S. employment and the 2000 bursting of the tech investment bubble did not help either.
But I believe the tide is turning and that we’ll see a dramatic uptake in 2014 as many more people, both young and old, understand the overall attraction and importance of a career in tech.
Why do I believe this? Three main reasons:
- Technology is an essential element in a well-functioning business
- Digital natives grow increasingly interested in tech careers
- Educated tech experts are in high demand
Technology is an Essential Element In A Well-Functioning Business
Technology is simply too important to ignore. As illustrated by IBM’s graphic below, CEOs consider technology the most important factor shaping their organization’s future. Note the significant uptick since 2004. Technology is how companies differentiate. Technology is how companies drive cost out of their operations. Increasingly, technology is also how companies interface with their customers. It is simply too important to not have talented, business savvy staff managing and delivering this critical function. The days of outsourcing your IT lock, stock and barrel are long gone. Industries will increasingly work to source the talent it needs to fill these roles. IBM’s white paper, The Evolving Role of the CIO, highlights this point: “…IT is more than an expense. It is a crucial driver of change, development, and competitive edge, and it needs to be included in every aspect of future planning and strategy.”
Source: IBM CIO Conference 2013: Innovation for a New Era
Digital Natives Grow Increasingly Interested In Tech Careers
Young people are also increasingly interested in the tech space. These digital natives could not fathom life without digital connection through their mobile phones, Xboxes and iPads – all made interesting by fast Internet connections. Sharing personal information has become a way of life and they are not concerned about storing all their valuable digital data (documents, MUSIC, photos, MUSIC, videos, MUSIC) in the cloud. And they are increasingly curious as to how all this stuff works, driving a desire to investigate career options in programming.
Furthermore, technology titans are given rocks star status by today’s youth who have all seen the movies and know the stories behind Jobs (Jobs the movie), Sergey and Larry (The Internship) and Zuck (The Social Network). They’ve seen Spotify’s Daniel Ek and Pinterest’s Ben Silberman turn their passions into successful businesses that have made them all quite wealthy. They know that with technology prowess comes huge entrepreneurial empowerment and possibility.
Finally, there’s a significant groundswell of enthusiasm around making things with your hands or the help of a 3D printer. Joining a MakerSpace club provides the needed wood shop, metal shop, or computer lab to make virtually anything. And many of these projects are powered with high tech and cheap controllers such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi boards.
Educated Tech Experts are in High Demand
As the economy bumps along, everyone is looking for opportunity. People investigating career changes or who are just starting out understand that education is an important investment. It’s terribly expensive, however, and if you’re going to spend the money, spend it on something that has an ROI. A good bet is some kind of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) degree. Statistics are beginning to suggest that the decline in engineering graduates that started in 2007 has slowed and is even starting to turn upwards.
Source: Science and Engineering Indicators. National Science Board
These opportunities will continue to attract media attention. Consider: In 2013 54,474 people graduated with bachelors degree in computer science. Yet, the number of job openings in the U.S. was 2.4 times this number – 122,300. This unbalance is expected to continue for at least the next five years. Five high tech companies alone – IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Oracle and Qualcomm, have a combined 10,000 current openings in the U.S. right now.
And finally, the U.S. government’s immigration reform goals will shine additional light on the shortage of tech workers. Invariably, the H1-B visa issue comes up in this debate, which is typically utilized by high-tech workers. The media buzz around the topic further highlights the need for more STEM graduates and the general availability of jobs in the space.
The importance of technology in business strategy and execution, and the need for creative and innovative tech talent, is only going to climb. In fact, Forbes and Kiplinger both point to several tech-related careers as high-paying jobs of the future. As nearly every facet of our lives becomes digitized, this list is sure to grow.
Mike Brannan is responsible for building Centric’s Technology Service Line and its associated offerings across Centric. He has more than 20 years of diverse technical management experience in design and delivery of scalable and complex software. Mike also develops and oversees all technology practices and is working to grow Centric’s rippleware Product Development Studio. Contact Mike to learn more.
Other Business and Technology Trends of 2014:
- Beginnings of a Gigantic Innovation Cycle
- IT Shops Will Leverage Their Knowledge of Legos® to Build Enterprise Systems
- The Growth of DIY Healthcare
- Data is the New Currency – Mining for Gold in the Internet of Things
- The Emergence of the Professional DIY Data Scientist
- Marketing and IT Sitting in the Tree
- Cloud Breaks Out of Infrastructure Groups and Into Strategic Imperatives
- Financial Companies Prepare to Advise Multi-Generational Homes
- Responsive Web Design Falls Victim to the Hype Cycle
- Data Scientist Sightings Will (Mostly) Be Proven a Hoax
- Non-techies Grasp the Cloud
- Info Synthesis and Collaboration Create a Recipe for 2014 Breakthroughs
- Sensors Invade – Big Data Goes Mainstream