This is a guest post by Michael Green.
Many factors will affect the long-term thinking around your career; job prospects, trends affecting the wider industry, and the qualifications necessary to progress further. Another threat that can make the workforce consider their future is the financial climate or the possibility of a recession.
Quite possible that the dark cloud of recession might be hanging over the US at present, with business leaders bracing for the possible impact. Likewise, their employees are considering their futures, as they look to make sure their chosen career path is as stable as possible while uncertainty looms large.
There’s no doubt that the financial forecast looks gloomy, with many elements at play. The trade war against China is certainly taking its toll, regardless of the current administration’s assertions otherwise—Wall Street saw its worst day of the year in August, as the stock market continues to look shaky.
Bucking the trend
One industry that looks almost entirely unaffected in the midst of this growing storm is technology. While others are battening down the hatches and preparing themselves for the worst, most IT companies continue to flourish and have further plans for growth.
ServiceNow, for example, finished last year with $2.8bn in sales, but are already planning on how they can reach $10bn. Their non-stop revenue growth has been phenomenal, and it’s matched across the industry; Apple has seen in a 900% increase in their stock price over the last ten years, Amazon’s is up over 2,000% and even more niche companies like Salesforce have grown by 1,400%.
While job growth is beginning to slow across most sectors, a career in tech is seen by many as recession-proof. Digital innovations are transforming the way businesses work, which means that those who can operate these technologies are in great demand. Not only that, but companies will become more reliant on these solutions, rather than less.
Filling the gap
Working in a sector where talent is in demand is desirable to any professional, but combining it with a career where those skills are also in short supply seems almost too good to be true. Unfortunately for employers, the tech skills shortage is very real—the talent gap in the sector is rapidly approaching crisis point, with 17% more job openings than available workers to fill those positions.
Not only that, but the number of college students graduating with a degree in computer science has dropped to its lowest level in over 30 years. That trend will take time and effort to reverse, meaning the void needs immediate attention if companies are going to have access to skilled workers who can operate their digital solutions when they most need it—now.
The good news for those looking at a recession-proof career is that transitioning into the tech industry in the near future will mean you have a desirable catalog of experience even when a new generation of workers appear. And in the short-term, you’ll be in demand.
Where to begin
For those unfamiliar with the landscape, it’s easy to feel intimidated with where to start. You’ve heard of coding, and maybe some of the technologies that are out there, but that’s about it. The good news is that while trends in technology come and go, the core skills can be interchangeable.
More importantly, it’s an area of work that can be learned, often at a fast pace if you have the desire. Committing to a stack now doesn’t mean you’re stuck with it for the rest of your working life. Most platforms have their own specific learning programs, and employers will look to candidates who have those certifications.
The biggest area of growth within the industry at the moment is within cloud technology. Companies are seeing the benefit of hosting their data remotely, as protecting customer information becomes critical to their success trading in the digital age.
That means a number of positions are available, depending on your skillset. You may have the capacity to learn code, in which case a Cloud Developer role would be perfect. If your strengths are more towards soft skills such as reading business needs and communicating strategy to a team, then Consultant jobs will probably be where you’ll find a home.
A good first port of call is right on your own doorstep. The likelihood is that your own organization has a busy digital team who are desperate for fresh blood to relieve their own workload. They’ll also be likely to be passionate about the job itself, and happy to spare a few minutes to chat with you about their role and offer advice.
Ultimately, the opportunities within tech are endless. No matter what your skill set, if you have the desire to thrive and learn within a new environment then there’ll be a position that matches your capabilities. Speaking to those already embedded within the industry is the best way to find guidance on that—whether that’s speaking directly to a recruiter and asking for advice, or perhaps a friend or colleague involved with tech.
No matter what area you choose to pursue, one thing’s for certain: a career in tech is the safest way to survive the impending financial storm.
About the Guest Post Author:
Michael Green is Vice President of niche IT staffing firm Nelson Frank. After graduating with a degree in Business Economics, he has spent over a decade working within the recruitment industry.