Looking for a new IT job or fresh career? You might want to check out software development, systems analysis, user support, information systems management or a handful of other areas expected to generate strong demand for workers during the next decade.
The tech sector remains one of the most powerful job generators in the U.S. economy. It added 182,220 jobs last year, for a total of 6.9 million – up 2.7 percent from 2015, according to Cyberstates, a CompTIA report that takes a deep dive into job growth, wages, tech concentration, industry sector and other data on the national, state and city levels.
The Hottest Fields in IT
Demand in hot technologies related to cloud, security, big data, analytics and hyper-converged infrastructure solutions will continue to drive that growth. Emerging Internet of Things (IoT) and machine learning technologies will fuel it well into the future.
Jobs in software applications development (183,321 projected new jobs through 2026), computer systems analysis (139,262) and computer user support (109,616) recorded the largest growth last year, adding 71,450 new jobs and accounting for more than half of the total IT employment gains. Based on a percentage of change, the packaged software sector racked up the biggest job gains at 7.9 percent growth.
During the past five years, that software category also added 7,716 new businesses to the landscape, for a 69 percent increase. IT services and custom software services added the most new tech businesses last year, with 5,080, and more than 48,826 in the last five years, for a 24.3 percent increase.
A Jumpstart for Startups
There’s also good news for people looking to work for innovative or young companies. About 36,500 new tech startups and tech businesses hung their shingles in 2015, for a 12 percent gain. That growth was driven in part by nearly 1,800 new IT services companies (13 percent increase), and the 1,281 (79 percent increase) new businesses focused on data processing, hosting, web search portals and other services.
A Steady Increase in Job Postings, a Decrease in Unemployment
While IT job growth remains strong, the number of job postings dropped to 550,000 during this year’s first quarter, down from 775,423 in Q1 2016, according to a recent employment report that Burning Glass Technologies Labor Insights prepared for CompTIA. The recent number, though, represents a nine percent increase from last year’s fourth quarter.
The unemployment rate for IT-related occupations also decreased, to 2.1 percent in March, from 2.4 percent in March 2016. For job seekers, that could mean more openings as workers feel more comfortable seeking new opportunities. Low unemployment typically means an improved economy, which creates demand for workers and higher salaries.
If you want to work for a specific company, keep your eye on the ones that posted the most IT job adds in Q1. Accenture topped the list with 8,138, followed by Deloitte (4,650), Booz Allen Hamilton (4,603), General Dynamics (4,174) and Amazon.com (2,972). IBM posted 1,447.
There are plenty of available opportunities in IT, but skilled workers compete heavily for the best jobs and chock up relevant certificates to gain an edge. The top certifications that 95 percent of CompTIA members said they plan on getting in the next few years include security/cybersecurity, networks, IT support, servers, Linux, cloud computing, application development/programming, databases, mobility, storage and project management.
Make sure you’re locked and loaded when that perfect job opening pops up, and start your CompTIA certification today.