The future looks bright for the information technology job market, but IT professionals both experienced and right out of school will have to keep up with rapid changes.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that by 2020, the number of IT jobs nationally will grow 22 percent, far faster than most other job categories. In Maine, the number of jobs in computer and mathematical occupations will grow by nearly 9 percent over the next seven years, according to the state Center for Workforce Research and Information.
What IT specialties will employers be seeking over the next few years?
* Information security analysts: It’s no surprise that security will continue to be a top concern. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 37 percent increase in these jobs alone over the next five years.
* The Internet of Things: Employers will be looking for people who can connect the world of physical objects—from computers in refrigerators to 3D printers— and understand how to use the collected data to improve people’s lives.
* Robotics: Robotics are creeping into everything from our vehicles to our vacuum cleaners, and there is growing demand for the ability to program them to perform an ever wider range of tasks.
* Wearables: High-tech watches and fitness monitors are all the rage, and the wearables industry will continue to grow as manufacturers offer new devices and apps to monitor everything from drowsiness in commercial truck drivers to factory productivity.
* The Cloud: Most companies already store at least some of their data in the Internet “cloud.” Companies will need IT folks who understand cloud security, can develop cloud software and can keep track of how much cloud storage is being used.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics adds software developers, database managers and IT managers, and computer support specialists to the list of growth jobs.
In Maine, job growth will be in fields like IT that require “critical thinking, problem solving, decision making, mathematics, reading comprehension, deductive reasoning, processing information and analyzing data,” according to a recent report by the Maine Center for Workforce Research and Information.
As the state’s population grows older and members of the Baby Boom generation begin to retire from the workforce, there will be more and more opportunities for Maine’s young people, the state agency says.
Maine’s community college system has put together a set of IT courses to train people for the growing number of computer tech jobs and to keep pace with the rapid changes in the field.
Funded by a $13 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, the Maine is IT! program is building new educational and career pathways in information technology at all seven of Maine’s community colleges. The programs funded by the grant are designed to support Maine workers eligible for the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, underemployed adults, and workforce needs in Maine’s growing IT sector.
Eastern Maine Community College provides the highest quality post-secondary technical career and transfer education and serves as a dynamic community and economic resource.
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