If there’s any certainty in the tech world, it’s uncertainty. Technologies that dominate today could end up obsolete in a few short years; little-used programming languages and apps may rise to become ubiquitous within a particular industry, or fade away entirely. As a technology professional, trying to predict the long-term outcome often seems like a fool’s game.
With that caveat in mind, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) offers some estimates for how certain tech-related professions will fare over the next eight years (i.e., through 2024), based on number of jobs created or lost:
- Web Developers: 27 percent increase
- Computer Systems Analysts: 21 percent increase
- Information Security Analysts: 18 percent increase
- Software Developers: 17 percent
- Computer Support Specialists: 12 percent increase
- Database Administrators: 11 percent increase
- Computer and Information Research Scientists: 11 percent increase
- Computer Network Architects: 9 percent increase
- Network and Computer Systems Administrators: 8 percent increase
- Computer Programmers: 8 percent decline
“Employment of computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations,” read the note accompanying the BLS estimates. “These occupations are expected to add about 488,500 new jobs, from about 3.9 million jobs to about 4.4 million jobs from 2014 to 2024.”
The bureau attributes the growth to a combination of factors, including an increased reliance on the cloud and data analytics, as well as more household and industrial items ending up connected to the so-called “Internet of Things.” An increase in security-related jobs is likewise a no-brainer, considering the generalized need to patch system-wide vulnerabilities. (As mentioned in a previous Dice piece, the BLS believes that computer programming—the single subcategory with estimated declines—faces stiff headwinds from outsourcing.)
Even if you wholeheartedly subscribe to the BLS estimates, however, there’s still the big question of which skills will prove especially relevant over the next several years. You can get into Web development (for example) on the logical assumption that it will exist as a viable profession for a long time to come—but trying to accurately predict which languages and tools will prove most popular in 2018, 2020, or 2024 is largely impossible. Just as the release of Apple’s iPhone in 2007 birthed a rich (and largely unanticipated) market for mobile-app development, some future technology may fundamentally alter how tech pros work.
That means staying on top of your industry means keeping your skills up-to-date, and a lookout for new technologies that may impact your job in fundamental ways.