When it comes to career success, timing is everything. Joining a burgeoning industry that’s about to hit its stride can mean the difference between a routine tech job and an upwardly mobile career.
The following industries all feature the ideal conditions for transitioning from hot niche to mainstream: growing demand, unlimited markets, profitable companies, and an influx of investment funding.
The educational-technology industry’s vast array of offerings includes everything from distance-learning programs for adults to online games and apps that teach reading, math and even coding skills to toddlers and grade school students. Other solutions automate classroom content, manage student data and address the administration and communication needs of teachers.
Hundreds of companies are already generating revenue in this area, said Karen Billings, vice president and managing director for the Education Technology Industry Network (ETIN) of the Software & Information Industry Association. The industry is projected to grow another 3 to 5 percent this year, she added.
Why It’s Hot: Education has lagged behind the technology curve, so there’s a lot of catch-up going on. According to CB Insights, EdTech companies raked in a record $1.87 billion in funding through 350 deals in 2014, with funding expected to reach $2 billion this year. Analysts say the technology portion of educational budgets will only grow in coming years.
Career Opportunities: “EdTech firms need diverse software and mobile app developers to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student population,” Billings said. “They’re also looking for designers, writers and tech support professionals who are passionate about making a difference in students’ lives.”
If you’d rather build an educational game or app in your spare time, the Office of Educational Technology provides a guide for third-party developers. They also have a program that fosters collaboration among entrepreneurs, developers, educators, funders and students.
mHealth (a.k.a. Mobile Health)
mHealth providers offer chronic condition management, acute care services and diagnostic services primarily through mobile apps and wearable devices. The mHealth global market was valued at $1.95 billion in 2012 and is projected to reach $49.12 billion by 2020, based on a forecast by Grand View Research.
Why It’s Hot: Global health systems are looking for ways to manage the costs of care; wearables, smartphone apps, and video consultations offer a viable, cost-effective solution. The industry segment is particularly important in rural and developing regions where people may not have in-person access to healthcare providers.
Career Opportunities: Mobile app developers, mobile data security experts, front-end and full stack engineers, data analysts, RoR Web app developers and UX designers all have opportunities in the field.
Although U.S. consumers spend some $600 billion per year on food and beverages, less than 1 percent of that spending takes place online. That’s about to change: Between 2013 and 2018, online grocery sales will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 21.1 percent, reaching nearly $18 billion by the end of the forecast period, according to a report by BusinessInsider.
Why It’s Hot: The industry has ventured beyond basic residential grocery delivery (although that’s expanding, too) by offering time-strapped consumers farm-to-table specialty products and subscription services for healthy, prepared meals, among other things. Plus, institutional suppliers to hotels, restaurants and hospitals are making it easier for customers to purchase online or via mobile devices. As of November 2014, companies in the food delivery space had raised a total of $1.56 billion through 107 deals over the previous year, according to CB Insights.