Computer World reports that there may be a decline in the number of programming jobs in the near future. At the same time, an uptick in IT jobs is expected overall. What gives? Why the IT job market seesaw?
Well, first of all, let's look at the positive: tech jobs are growing overall. But this data (culled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics) suggests the tech job market may be restructuring. Programming will always be a bread-and-butter profession, but some of these jobs will be going overseas.
Translation: it's more and more important you don't limit yourself to just programming. We talked to three former software developers who shifted from dev to something bigger and found second careers in tech. Here's their advice.
IT Professional Development Tip 1: Be Open to New Opportunity
Vadim Bichutskiy (@vybstat) left college armed with a degree in computer science and began working as a developer in medical research, the term "data science" wasn’t even in his vocabulary. In fact, it wasn't really in anyone's vocabulary.
Something about this new field intrigued him, and Bichutskiy decided to pursue it. He went back to school to get a master’s degree in statistics and took internships regardless of salary. In short, he started over, even though that meant going back to school.
Bichutskiy points out that pivots like this are much easier now. "Today there are many more online resources to learn data science, including MOOCs from places like Coursera and Udacity," he says. (Check out our post "Three Startup Lessons from the University of Cincinnati's Small Business Institute" for tips on knowing when a pivot will be profitable.)
The Takeaway: Don't limit yourself just to tech. Remember that your most marketable skills may be what you can do in addition to tech.
IT Professional Development Tip 2: Scale Up from Tech to Business at Large
Alex Genadinik (@Genadinik) turned his skills as a programmer into a lucrative second career as a programmer and now
offers classes online
to 60,000 students.
Not everyone wants to be a teacher. Fair enough. But as Genadinik sees it, any IT professional can take an important lesson from his career trajectory.
"My biggest tip is: work on something outside of work. It can lead to new things that you never expected," Genadinik explains. Sometimes, it’s those side projects that end up being the most fun (and profitable) part of your career.
The takeaway: Outside curiosities – teaching, marketing, or analytics – can lead to new sources of revenue and new ways to market your business.
IT Professional Development Tip 3: Go Broader to Grow Bigger
Chris Hood, longtime web developer and marketing professional of
ChrisHood.com, suggests that developers take general business classes. The data backs that up: Bentley University reports that tech professionals who have a hybrid skill set (business + tech expertise) get paid more.
Why are these general business skills so important? If you limit yourself to your tech skills, you run the risk of pigeonholing yourself as a developer or "IT guy."
Those are great roles to have, but if you broaden your business skillset (while maintaining sharp technical expertise), you can potentially build a resume that allows you to jump from dev to consulting or management.
The takeaway: Don't limit yourself just to tech. Remember that your most marketable skills may be what you can do in addition to tech.
A Reminder: Technology Business Insurance Needs Change with Your Company
As we discussed above, many lucrative opportunities potentially await business owners who are flexible and pursue outside interests. But here's an expert insurance tip: you'll want to keep your insurance company in the loop if you "pivot" and change your business's focus.
As your business grows or evolves, its risks do, too. To stay adequately protected, you may need to adjust your coverage to account for new risks. A good insurance broker will answer any questions about your technology business insurance, such as what coverage your clients want you to have if you go into consulting. A knowledgeable broker (hint: TechInsurnace) can also adapt your coverage as your business changes so you can pursue your new path with peace of mind.
To learn more about covering your business, see our information on Professional Liability Insurance.