Where the tech jobs are

Four billion jobs in the world are related to technology

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Michael Izen keeps an eye on business in British Columnbia
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VANCOUVER, BC, Mar 9, 2015/ Troy Media/ – Over 100 years ago, the advice for young go-getters looking to make their fortune was “Go West!” Fifty years ago, in The Graduate, Dustin Hoffman received the sage career advice of “Plastics.”

Today, we advise our kids to get into the world of technology.

In her recent column on Inc.com, Melinda Zetlin gives us six reasons your next job should be a tech company, even if you have no tech skills. She cites a recent study that shows four billion jobs in the world are related to technology, twice what it was less than 20 years ago. Tech is definitely trending.

Tech jobs identified in four areas

But what are those four billion jobs? And what if you aren’t a techie? What if you’re like me and Homer, and search the keyboard in vain for the “any” key?

To make some sense of this, I spoke with my good friend Jag Bains, CTO of DOSarrest Internet Security.

Bains identified four broad groups of jobs within the Internet technology sector: Development, Systems Administration, IT Networking, and Support, plus a wide-range of non-tech jobs within the sector for people like me.

Development

These are the people who design and code the websites and apps we use, both the front-end look, and the back-end operations and databases. These people work in one of many coding languages. Developers work for business solutions companies and consultants, and for small, medium, and large businesses.

System Administrator

These people link computers at our work places, schools, and other businesses to make sure the servers, our desktops, laptops, and handheld devises play nice together. They are in high demand by medium to large businesses with in-house computer systems, everything from law firms, to schools, to hospitals, to government agencies.

IT Networking

These people work with the Systems Administrators to make sure that the internal system is connected to the larger networks outside. For example, when you buy gas at the pump, it’s the IT Network that links your gas station with your bank, so the cash goes to where it’s supposed to go. Or think of purchasing systems where retailers can order directly from manufacturers computer to computer, and where consumers can buy goods online without every leaving the house. Employers include banks, retailers, wholesalers, any business or organization that links their computer with any other business. These days, that’s most everything.

Support

tech jobs
Demonstrated experience often trumps degrees in tech jobs

These are the people we are often most familiar with as we call them for help when we can’t get our computers or system to work. They must have people skills, the patience of Job, and a broad range of tech skills in order to troubleshoot the problems. While not experts in any of the fields listed above, they must know enough of each to provide the required service. These well-rounded workers can often be hard to find.

To work in these field requires degrees and advanced degrees in math, computer sciences, engineering, or a variety of technology certificates and diplomas. But this is a show-me industry, and what they want is results. Demonstrated experience often trumps paper. Can you point to a platform that showcases your work?

Non-Tech Jobs

The technology companies also need non-techies in marketing, HR, and corporate services to keep the company rolling. In fact, despite all the high tech skills and equipment, for most IT companies the largest parts of their budgets are in marketing. They need people to help build the public interface of the platform and to help figure out how this great new tool actually serves a customer. They also need customer relations and sales, strategic marketing to link the product with the campaign, and search engine optimization, which actually does not require the tech skills.

To see what employers want look at the job postings, the BC Technology Industry Association has a great job postings website that lists both tech jobs, and jobs for non-techies. www.bctechjobs.ca.

Almost every business has available tech jobs

Big employers like Bell, Telus, Rogers, and Peer 1 Networking are always scouting top talent. But don’t forget the organizations with IT departments like schools, hospitals, governments, or big businesses like franchise operations for retailers, restaurants, gas stations, and others.

Almost every business relies on Internet technology, and they all require people in these jobs. So the next time you find yourself in the market for a new challenge, think tech.

Michael Izen is a labour market analyst based in Vancouver, and President of Izen Consulting www.izen.ca

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