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Into the Future: The Outlook for Tech Careers

Key Takeaways

The world of tech is changing, becoming integrated into organizations rather than siloed. The outlook for tech careers is bright if you prepare yourself now. 

Source: iStock/Klaisataporn

Now more than ever, the power of technology to foster development and growth is evident. From simplifying everyday activities to groundbreaking interventions, the impact of technology cannot be overemphasized.

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With this widespread nature of technology, the demand for tech talent is increasing rapidly. A Deloitte report outlines a steady expansion of the tech workforce with an increasing pace in recent years. It reports that since 2001, the tech workforce has grown at an average annual rate of 2.2%, reaching 5.5 million by 2020. The rate of growth is significantly faster than the 0.4% average annual increase in total employment.

As different sectors battle for talent, there is a resulting tech talent gap that needs to be filled, coupled with a skill gap resulting from new technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and cloud computing that are transforming the industry. To train the next cadre of tech workers, there is a need for dedicated efforts to improve industry-focused skills and agility in this rapidly evolving space. (Read also: 8 High Demand Specializations for a Successful Tech Career.)

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How the Tech Industry is Changing

Working in technology has several dynamics and the accompanying benefits have proven helpful to employees. The numerous employment benefits ranging from competitive pay, flexible work hours, health care insurance, skills enhancement, paid parental leave and job security continue to make the field attractive.

An increasing number of workers have transitioned from non-technical backgrounds into tech roles through taking online certifications that empower them to deliver in their roles. Others have seized opportunities to pursue their passions at tech companies without necessarily working “in tech.”

Key Skills Needed to Thrive as a Tech Worker

This ease of transition into a tech career gives a glimpse into how the industry is changing. Many tech workers are equipped to work from home or as digital nomads who can travel and work remotely across the globe.

Acquiring transferable skills such as complex problem solving, analytical skills, research, project management and basic coding skills are necessary to be able to work across multi-functional teams that are outside one's primary training.

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As the technology career scene evolves, the skills listed below are on top charts of skills in 2022 and are anticipated to continue to stay in demand:

Most in Demand Hard/Technical Skills for Tech Careers in 2022

These are helpful industry-specific skills that enable one to successfully function in their roles. It not mandatory or expected that a person have mastery in all of these.

  • Data science.

  • Data analytics.

  • Data visualization.

  • Cloud.

  • Cybersecurity.

  • UX/UI.

  • Human-Computer Interaction.

  • Technical research and writing.

  • Software engineering.

  • AI/machine learning.

  • Internet of things (IoT).


Most in Demand Soft/Core Skills for Tech Careers in 2022

  • Communication (i.e., written, verbal, pitching and storytelling)

  • Collaboration

  • Consulting

  • Coaching

  • Influence

  • Empathy

  • Networking

  • Problem-solving

The above is not an exhaustive list of skills. One of the most valuable skills IT professionals can have is a desire to learn and grow. This includes ongoing personal training through online learning platforms, volunteering, becoming involved in tech communities and attending conferences that expose one to the diverse aspects of the industry.

In providing such training for students that prepares them for the global marketplace, a Master of Science in Information Technology program like that offered by UC Online provides centers for research, problem-solving, and learning.

Students also work alongside faculty to solve real-world problems and explore new initiatives and innovations. Some examples are the Civic Tech Lab, Applied Machine Learning Lab, which researches technologies in the service of public needs, and the IT Solutions Center which provides IT solutions for organizations, and the state of Ohio. The IT Student’s Association and Women in Cybersecurity UC (University of Cincinnati) Chapter provide community and mentoring for students. (Read also: 4 Things Successful Women in IT Want Students to Know.)

Advice from IT Students

As graduate and doctoral Information Technology students, the authors of this article can offer incisive insight into what works when embarking on a tech education and what they would focus on or improve if they were starting again. Here’s what you should keep in mind when embarking on your path:

  1. Invest time and energy into training, certifications, and projects : Working on hands-on projects and getting certified in a specific IT domain will reinforce knowledge and establish expertise in that domain.

  2. Get involved in conferences, IT boot camps and networking: Conferences provide an opportunity to meet with other experts as well as learn about the latest techniques in a specific field. Similar to learning how to drive a car, through boot camps, you gain basic knowledge of a new domain within a short period of time. This is one of the most efficient methods of learning specific skills within a particular field.

  3. Fail forward. That is, try out several aspects of the field before specializing in a specific one.

  4. Seek out and engage mentors in your specific IT domain of interest.

The Importance of Continued Learning

Knowledge building is constant in the future of work relating to technology due to its potential to lead one to a job or to an entrepreneurial venture.

As tools and skills emerge, professionals in this space will require continuous learning to match up to the times, pivot into new roles and upskill to excel in job roles.

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