5 IT fields in demand
With advances in information technology changing how businesses operate, growth in the industry means more careers for skilled workers.
“The world is moving toward specialization,” says Yen Hoe Lee, director of IT for a health care company and an online instructor in the University of Phoenix information technology program. “The more specialized you are, the more valuable you will be.”
Here are five hot IT fields:
The explosion of mobile devices and platforms — almost half of American adults own a smartphone — means the IT industry must keep up with rapidly evolving frameworks, such as iOS® and Android®, to create mobile applications.
“Mobile development is here to stay, and it’s only going to get more intricate,” says Les Brown, an instructor of web development courses at the Phoenix Main Campus who also helped create the curriculum for the bachelor's in IT – mobile development program. “You [need] a general knowledge of how the frameworks function and how they relate.”
Health care IT
The days of doctors’ offices and hospitals maintaining reams of patient paperwork are dwindling, as the Affordable Care Act requires health care providers to show “meaningful use” of digitized records and computerized organizational systems by 2015.
“We need a new breed of IT folks to make sure these systems are up and running, and to maintain them,” says Lee, who helped develop the curriculum for the associate in health care IT program.
“You need to know some of the critical equipment that can’t be turned off. It’s not just a matter of, ‘Oh, I’m going to unplug this,’” he adds. “We need to train a whole set of people who have the IT background but not the medical practice background, or people who have the medical background but who are interested in IT.”
How do you control and use the tons of information processed daily worldwide, also known as big data? For example, according to The Economist, Walmart handles more than 1 million transactions every hour, building databases estimated at more than 2.5 petabytes — essentially 167 times the 35 million books in the Library of Congress.
Figuring out what this avalanche of information means is key for major corporations seeking data analysts who can discover consumer trends and increase organizational efficiency.
“Big data is a big term in the industry, but the movement is going to be very slow,” says Brian Davis, an instructor in the business program at the Phoenix Main Campus. “There will be a big focus from companies like IBM and Oracle on finding people who can extract and understand what all this information means.”
This allows storage, management and processing of data on the Internet rather than via a local server, and is convenient for businesses to help reduce infrastructure and save money.
The demand for IT professionals with cloud experience is expected to grow 26 percent a year until 2015, according to a 2012 study by research firm IDC, and will create more than 7 million cloud-related vacancies worldwide in that same time period. While there’s no catchall course of study for cloud computing positions, the report noted that training and certification are essential to landing jobs.
Information assurance and security
Keeping user data safe remains a top priority. Professionals in the field help create risk management plans and establish administrative controls to make sure hackers can’t access private information.
“There will always be that issue of how do we keep data safe and away from potential damage,” says Liane Monaco-Christensen, an instructor of business systems analysis courses at the San Diego Campus. “It’s a challenge to the IT industry, and we are taking it back to education to help future candidates.”
iOS is a registered trademark of Cisco Systems Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and certain other countries.
Android is a trademark of Google Inc.