While Some Fields are Not Hiring, Technology is Booming
College students bombarded by news reports of high unemployment rates and failed businesses might be perplexed to also see stories about the booming technology field, starring the newest young entrepreneur-turned-multimillionaire.
Behind the headlines, the stats seem to back up the continued strength of tech-related career. Forbes ranked software engineer as the overall top job of 2011, with four out of the Ten Most Recession-Proof Jobs in the technology field: Software design and development, networking and systems administration, business analysis software implementation, business analysis research.
So why are tech firms doing so well? It’s a matter of doing more with less, according to experts.
“What used to cost thousands in hardware and software start-up costs now can be purchased by the hour from Amazon, RackSpace, Microsoft, MediaTemple and other top web hosting companies,” said Howard Greenstein, marketing technology strategist and President of the Harbrooke Group. “Add in free and open-source software … and two kids in a garage have a shot at taking on the big guys. The lower barrier to entry means that innovation and experimentation can happen more quickly.”
Technology’s ubiquitous presence in everyday life is another factor, according to Dr. Edward Lazowska, professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington.
“Information technology is central to all that we do. It has embedded itself into every aspect of our lives – entertainment, information, commerce, scientific discovery, government. It is responsible for the vast majority of the productivity gains in our economy.”
Among the many benefits of working in the technology field are the ability to exercise creativity, learning and expanding skills, interacting with others – the list goes on and on.
“There is no field that is more powerful in terms of its potential … Although it’s nice to have a good salary, good benefits, and a good working environment, the power to change the world is the most powerful drawing card,” said Lazowska.
Being in the technology field does not always involve coding; there are roles for people who envision products, sell them, gather feedback, and more. Critical thinking skills, a good work ethic, and believing in the both the mission of the company and the people you are working with is more than half of the battle. Professor Lazowska notes “working in the technology industry – the software industry – is very different, today, from the Dilbert stereotype. It’s creative. It’s interactive…This field is all about teamwork, communication, collaboration.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the vast majority of all newly created jobs in all fields of science and technology in this decade, and the vast majority of all available jobs (both newly-created and available due to retirements), will be in computing. “All the life sciences, all of the physical science, all of the social sciences, are just a blip. Even all other fields of engineering pale in comparison to computer science,” says Lazowska.