IT is hardly the field it was a decade or two ago. Back then, an IT degree would land you a job fixing desktops, managing databases, creating computer networks and whatnot.
Today, IT is a vastly diverse field. As technologies continue to advance, new roles are emerging. After completing your degree and depending on your specialization, you could find positions focused on augmented and virtual, artificial intelligence, internet of things, machine learning, and cybersecurity.
But which of these IT careers have the highest demand?
Yahoo, Equifax, and Sony are some of the biggest corporations that have experienced data breaches in the recent past. Small businesses are not spared either. In fact, 61 percent of breaches target small enterprises.
It's this surge of cyber attacks that is driving the demand for cybersecurity professionals. By 2013, there were 1 million unfilled cybersecurity positions worldwide, according to CSO Online. By 2020, we're looking at 3.5 million vacancies.
As a cybersecurity analyst, your job will be to assess, identify and mitigate the cyber risks an organization faces. To get started, you need at least a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity. A graduate certificate in the same field will enhance your prospects.
Ask Elon Musk and he will promptly tell you machines will take over the world if we don't tame them! Well, they haven't taken over, but we see them in use every day; from Alexa to Siri and Amazon's AI-powered Go store.
The rising popularity of AI means the demand for AI talent is also going up. Between January 2017 and January 2018, for instance, AI job postings increased 32 percent, up from 20 percent in 2016-17.
In AI, there are multiple jobs you can pursue. The most common include data scientist, AI researcher and AI engineer. To get into any of these IT careers, pursue a degree in artificial intelligence engineering.
IT support pros, also knows as help desk technicians, might not have the glamor of AI engineers, but they play an important role keeping tech devices and systems functioning properly. And it's easy to understand why this career has an ever-increasing demand.
Firstly, many organizations need them to keep their computers humming. Those who don't hire in-house support people outsource the task to managed IT service providers. While we're at it, be sure to discover more about the benefits of IT outsourcing.
Secondly, almost every human has a tech device of some kind. When it malfunctions, you typically call the manufacturer for help. Who do manufacturers rely on to provide support? Helpdesk technicians!
The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts 11 percent job growth for computer support specialists from now through 2026. The strongest demand for support specialists will be in computer systems design - at 20 percent.
A strong technical aptitude and a bachelor's degree in IT will get your foot in the door.
Have Your Pick of the In-demand IT Careers
IT is a vast field. Without the right information, it's easy to make wrong choices that'll make your post-college life frustrating. This shouldn't be the case, though, because you now have a list of the hottest IT careers out there.
Have your pick, and keep tabs on our careers blog for practical advice and tips.