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The Future of IT: More Jobs, More Complexity

By - Source: Toms IT Pro
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What the future holds for various IT professionals varies based on your area of expertise. But there will always be tech that needs to be serviced.

Credit: ShutterstockCredit: ShutterstockWill companies need IT professionals on staff in the future? That's the question on some people's minds as they wonder what their future holds. Of course, that depends on the area of expertise in the IT world, and means different things for different titles, including network and system administrators, consultants, project managers, developers, technicians and programmers/coders, to name a few.

A 2015 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (biannually, every two years) paints some surprising numbers regarding job outlook and growth. Employment in the computer and information technology sector is expected to grow by 12 percent by 2024. There are roughly 3.9 million jobs in IT, which is expected to hit 4.4 million in the next seven years thanks to the advancement in cloud computing, big data, and the IoT, according to the report. Jobs are increasing, but so is the complexity within them.

MORE: IT Career Paths and Certifications

The Bureau of Labor Statistics report suggests that some professional tech jobs will see continued growth for 2017, while others will remain stable, but a few will likely fall by the wayside. Analysts from Foote Partners LLC notes in their 2017 IT Skills and Certification Pay Index that cyber security specialists are on the upswing.

In fact, 10 of the highest grossing certifications are within this category, and rightfully so with the amount of damage and identity theft that is targeting corporations. Forensics, penetration testing, perimeter protection, security analysis and enterprise defense are just a few of the certifications under high demand and that will continue to grow into 2018.

DevOps (software development and information technology operations) certification is set to continue to be in demand, including skills such as coding, building, testing and releasing software at a relatively quick pace. This category allows for the cross-department integration of those functions with IT operations with a focus on communication and collaboration. More companies are putting a focus on DevOps training.

Another growing area in the IT industry involves big data and the specialists who collect and analyze that information for any number of applications including metrics, predictive outcomes and future trends. According to Foote Partners, specialists in this field are in high demand, especially with the influx of IoT/telematics applications, which is on track to become an $11 billion market.

Jobs in the digital product development area are also on the rise as nearly every major company on the planet utilize top further their growth. The integration of big data, processes, business and even IT fall under this category as well as product design and analysts, all leading to an increase in demand for specialists who fall under this category.

With that in mind, those same companies also require those with application development in a microservices architecture environment skills, particularly since those are the folks who create specific business tools to further application and product development within the company. For example, think about tools such as Asana, Basecamp and Microsoft Project. These collaborative and centralized applications make integration with various departments within a company simple.

Foote Partners reports that traditional help desk tier 2 and 3 jobs remain steadily in demand, as companies still require staff to increase a technical support infrastructure as consumerization of technology continues to rise. As technology continues to grow, so does the demand for those who can troubleshoot and repair that technology with specialized skills and tools.

However, tier 1 demand is nearly non-existent, and is probably one of the few skills that have fallen by the wayside, as more companies require a level of specialty to address specific problems such as hardware/applications within their organization that requires more than a general overview.

As with any job, those in IT continue to evolve, and as it ages, some positions are no longer needed, especially those who specialize in outdated program languages, such as Pascal, ADA, Cobol and Fortran. The same goes on the hardware front unless technology remains stagnant and doesn't evolve. All these jobs will change.