Tech is everywhere – in fact, it’s fair to say that no industry can survive without leaning on recent technological innovations. Industries from construction, to manufacturing, to IT, to finance and more, rely on tech providers and experts to perform their operations, benefit from new tools, and secure themselves against cyberattacks.
This is great news for individuals interested in pursuing a tech career. However, some tech careers are sure to be in higher demand in the coming years than others. So, let’s take a look at the top nine tech careers for future success.
Data is the true digital currency of the world. Companies and corporations across industries use data to:
- Better understand their consumers
- Make market predictions
- Analyze potential business moves, etc.
Furthermore, companies now gather data at an unprecedented rate. All that data is stored and has to be analyzed by data scientists who:
- Analyze big data sets
- Come up with solutions that company executives and managers can use
- Monitor and organize data as it’s collected
Data scientist jobs have competitive salaries, and that amount is set to increase in the future. This profession will become even more vital as companies start to focus on right data collection and analysis in favor of “big data” collection, which involves prioritizing, obtaining, and processing data specific to their target audiences instead of using all the data they collect.
Nowadays, lots of companies put sensitive data on the cloud. They use software downloaded straight from cloud servers and don’t worry about updating it since a managed cloud service provider can do it for them.
Cloud engineers are responsible for many of these remarkable digital feats. Cloud engineers, sometimes called cloud developers or solutions architects, have a lot of different responsibilities like:
- Monitoring and managing cloud systems
- Checking systems for vulnerabilities or potential breaches
- Developing new cloud systems and tools
- Managing the software and tools for companies from afar
As more data gets sent to the cloud, the demand for professionals to run cloud systems and ensure their functionality will increase. Therefore, cloud engineers will find lots of career potential in the near future and have countless outlets to promote their skills.
AI/ Machine Learning Developer
AI and machine learning are taking the tech world by storm — and for a good reason. These digital toolsets enable companies to better understand big data sets and the minds of consumers around the world.More importantly, AI and machine learning are rapidly becoming more important across all industries, ranging from finance to medical software and more. Developers who know how to create or code AI and machine learning tools are already in high demand, and that trend will continue over the next few years.
Robotics has already gained importance in the manufacturing and safety industries, but hiring engineers will become more critical in other sectors as robots become more advanced.
Highly technical robotics engineers need patience and analytical thinking skills. In reward, they’ll get the chance to create unique robots designed to help people or keep individuals safe by handling hazardous work. Robotics engineers’ responsibilities include:
- Designing and testing robot prototypes
- Troubleshooting robots to ensure they work properly
- Building robots
- Integrating software into robotic machines
Some tech enthusiasts may choose to become UX or user experience designers. UX designers create fulfilling, intuitive experiences for apps, websites, software, and other digital tools. They study how users interact with those tools and then develop systems or layouts that facilitate user goals.
A website UX designer may design a webpage outline and button functionality to make using the website enjoyable and intuitive for first-time visitors. UX designers are important for e-commerce business owners, brick-and-mortar companies, security firms, game developers, and many other industries.
Information Systems Manager
Information systems (IS) professionals oversee, organize, and develop new information systems. Being successful in this job requires understanding tech security, how different systems interact, and how to upgrade information systems for organizations as technology evolves.
As more companies lean into the digital side of things and computer systems become more complex, IS managers will also become more necessary. Depending on the importance of their assigned systems, IS managers may be among the most important employees at their companies.
Cybersecurity Analyst/ Specialist
Also important are cybersecurity specialists and analysts. These security professionals are responsible for vital tasks, like:
- Updating antiviruses and other security software
- Helping businesses understand best practices for storing crypto and important data safely
- Holding seminars to teach employees about cybersecurity best practices
- Monitoring computer systems and networks for potential breaches
- Identifying viral attacks or cyber breaches as they occur
The safety and security of vital consumer and company data are in the hands of cybersecurity specialists. Which is why this growing field will become even more important as people put more personal data online — not to mention as legislation like the GDPR enforces heavy fines on companies that don’t take security seriously.
Network administrators will also become more common over the next several years. These professionals handle important daily operations of computer network systems for organizations, such as internet or internet systems, local area networks, and more. Many network administrators earn high salaries and manage their assigned networks’ stability and safety.
Depending on their exact responsibilities, network administrator managers may be required to hire or promote individuals, assist with the onboarding process, and train new employees.
Mobile App Developer
Like web developers, mobile app developers will also be in high demand in the future. That’s because mobile apps are more popular than ever. As a mobile app developer, you’ll meet the needs and preferences of mobile users, make visually appealing design elements, and develop mobile apps or games suited for different devices.
As mobile apps become more ubiquitous, more developers will be needed to fill the labor gap. Modern apps are available for practically every need, ranging from travel, to cooking, to gaming, etc.
Any tech-focused career is likely to yield great returns in terms of salary and professional opportunities. But the above nine tech careers are particularly good choices if you want to ensure you’ll earn excellent pay and that your skillset remains in demand for decades to come.
How Christianne Yu Followed Her Purpose to a Role at Helm
Christianne—or Tianne, to her colleagues—Yu has been her family's tech support for as long as she can remember.
Over the years, she has helped her family set up their cell phones, use their computers, and solve their wifi issues, along with fixing other technical snafus.
In so doing, she found her way into an overarching passion and mission that's guided her career ever since.
"My purpose in life is to help people, especially the elderly, make their lives easier with technology," explains Christianne, who is a Quality Assurance Engineer at Helm, a data and technology platform for community organizers. "It's fulfilling for me to be part of this company that creates an impact for their community, that creates more civic engagement."
We sat down with Christianne to hear more about her career journey, including how she landed her first job in tech after moving to the U.S. from the Philippines, how she's made the most of the opportunities at Helm, and what advice she has for other engineers looking to grow their careers.
When she was still living in the Philippines, Christianne realized that she wanted to live in a big city. She talked to her family and moved into an apartment with her aunt who worked near a big university campus, where Christianne ended up enrolling.
The university had strong programs in IT, computer science, and education, and Christianne followed a process-of-elimination path to decide on IT: "I do not know how to deal with people, and I don't like math as much, so I chose IT!" she says, smiling.
She'd found her way to the city she wanted to live in, and to the field she wanted to study, but when it came time to apply for jobs, she hit a roadblock. She was applying for software engineering roles, but the only company that gave her an offer wanted her to work in a quality assurance (QA) function.
So Christianne took the opportunity and learned how to QA. She figured she could build a meaningful career there—but then when she was 21, her family moved to the U.S.
"I had no contacts, no connections to tech [in the United States]," says Christianne of what it felt like to start fresh in east Texas—Nacogdoches, to be exact. She knew she wanted a big city again, and on a trip to visit an aunt in New York, she knew she had to move there.
Her first job in New York was at a Japanese curry restaurant, where Christianne quickly took on extra responsibilities doing administrative work and running the register.
She was behind the register on a slow Saturday when a customer came in. Noticing that he was wearing a t-shirt branded by a big database company—one Christianne was familiar with from her QA job in the Philippines—she asked him about his work. Their conversation turned into him offering to help Christianne with her resume and introduce her to someone on the Hillary Clinton campaign who was looking to fill a QA engineer role.
She fixed her resume, applied, and was hired by Tuesday Company a few weeks later.
Finding Room to Grow: 3 Tips
It took Christianne some time to get used to a new work culture—like meetings that ended on time, and managers who didn't glorify staying extra hours—but she settled in well to her first QA role in the States. She was in charge of release management, including troubleshooting issues for the sales and customer service teams.
When that company was acquired by Helm, Christianne had to go from being the only QA engineer on a team of 20 to being one of several engineers in her function serving a team of 70.
"I wasn't exactly overwhelmed, but 70 was big for me," says Christianne. "It was great to be a part of lots of different groups and hear lots of views from people in different states. Being new to this country four years ago, I got to meet a lot of interesting people [from all over thanks to] remote work."
Working for a company with an increased scope has meant that Christianne's opportunities for impact and growth have increased, too. Here's what she's learned along the way that has helped her make the most of the options available to her:
- "Your goals and purpose go hand in hand: put your energy towards something you feel good about." Knowing that she cared about finding ways to help people make their lives easier with technology made it easy for Chrstianne to get excited about the Helm acquisition. She couldn't have stayed on to work for a company whose mission wasn't aligned with her own.
- "Challenge yourself. Don't let yourself get bored." When Christianne's former manager used to check in with her, she'd tell him that things were good, that they were consistent. "He'd say, 'Consistent means there's no progress, it's a flat line,'" she remembers. Then Helm asked Christianne to take on a new responsibility, doing database testing instead of web application and mobile application testing, she was nervous. "I thought I was going to have to do a side step in my career. It wasn't the automation testing that I was trying to go up in my career later," says Christianne. But she talked to her manager about what she could get out of the challenge and came around to being excited by it: "It was a way to expand my career and grow. It could help build my career in the future," says Christianne.
- "Be open to anyone you trust. Connect with people." Christianne recognizes that the whole reason she managed to kick off a QA engineering career in New York City was because she struck up a conversation with a kind-hearted and generous customer one random weekend. And now she's working at a company she believes in and enjoys, one that she feels values her, listens to her, and cares about her wellbeing. Christianne now tries to pay forward the connections that have helped her find a role she loves by helping other young engineers with their resumes so they have the best chance of finding good jobs in their fields.
And Christianne is excited to keep seeing how far she can grow her QA career. "It's an art," explains Christianne, who is currently working on database testing and universal ingestion pipeline testing. "I thought software engineering was this big, whole thing, and QA is small, but QA is so much bigger [than I realized]."
Pursuing a career in the States does mean that her grandparents back in the Philippines are without their favorite in-person tech support, but Christianne makes do with video calls. "I get kind of frustrated that I can't help them as much as if I was there, but working in civic tech is great for me," she says. "It's sustainable. We're not burning money for the benefit of ourselves, we're actually helping people."
Victoria Vitale has always had a passion for computers, but that passion isn't what drove her to become a software developer.
It was practicality.
"I needed a job that could pay rent!" explains Victoria with a wry smile. A friend suggested she apply for a data analyst role, telling her that she could learn any necessary skills on the job. A few months into the role, Victoria realized that friend was right—and that she wanted to grow her skillset even more and become a developer.
We sat down with Victoria to hear more about how she consciously built the career that she wanted—including her current role as an engineering manager at remote design tool company MURAL, and what advice she has for other people looking to do the same.
Putting Her Hand Up
Victoria, who hails from and lives in Buenos Aires, got her first engineering job because she spoke English. She learned everything else she needed, from how to structure databases to use SQL, once she got there. When she was working her second database job, she realized she could apply the same technique in the software space.
She just had to ask for the opportunity to do so.
"I was very curious about how things worked, so I started collaborating with the [software development] team whenever I could," says Victoria. She offered to QA for them—and then had to teach herself basic programming in a week's time when they took her up on it.
"That's when I knew I wanted to focus on that," says Victoria, who adds that she absorbed all the knowledge she could from that team before eventually switching into a developer role.
She faced a little imposter syndrome about the fact that she hadn't studied programming formally (though she was doing a second degree in multimedia design and web development). "There were a lot of pieces I had to put together as I went," says Victoria. "But I stayed very curious and motivated, and I trusted my team to help me."
Scaling with MURAL
Victoria was getting coffee with a friend who just happened to work at MURAL when she met some of his coworkers. "I saw the people and how happy they were, how they looked working together, how motivated they were, and I was hooked," she says. There wasn't an opening at the time, but she deployed her characteristic patience and applied as soon as there was one.
The job she ended up getting at MURAL was as an individual contributor—a step down from what she'd been doing at her previous company, where she was a lead software developer. Victoria didn't think twice about taking it. "It was an opportunity to work on a project where, even as an IC, I would have a lot of [opportunities to give] feedback on what was happening. At the time, there were 30 of us across just two teams, and I had a chance to build the product from scratch," she says. As excited as she was to develop hands-on product knowledge, she also knew that one day she'd like to return to a leadership role: "It was always in my mind that I wanted to come back to [management.]"
While she soaked up all of the product knowledge she could, MURAL grew. First it tripled, hitting nearly 100 employees. Victoria's mentor gave her a stretch project, and when she crushed it, he asked her to be a team lead of the newly-formed enterprise pillar.
"It was a mixture of me being passionate and curious, and him teaching me, seeing that potential, and wanting to help me grow," she reflects. "That's definitely key. Even if you're super motivated and enthusiastic about growing, if someone doesn't give you the space to do it, it's very hard."
Then MURAL hit another milestone that freed up a lot of space: it grew to 700 employees. Leadership realized that the team lead role needed to be split into technical leadership and people management responsibilities, and Victoria's manager asked her which role she was more interested in. As the only woman tech lead in a group of 11, she decided to stay on the technical side to deepen her skills there.
But a few months later, when she realized that the team really needed help scaling its strategy and hiring to keep up with growth, she decided to pursue the engineering management path.
"It wasn't a hard conversation," says Victoria. "My manager said, 'Hey, you're doing this already—why don't you step up to it [in a new role]?'"
Victoria says she had lots of company support as she grew into a bigger management role. MURAL provided resources for hiring and focused on creating a truly global and remote culture where everyone could thrive.
"My growth at MURAL has been very organic. At the time I joined, I knew that one day I wanted to have another leadership role, but I couldn't know yet if MURAL would be the place for me to do it… As it turned out, as the company grew, so did I," says Victoria.
3 Tips for Engineers Wanting to Grow Their Careers
Victoria's combination of open-mindedness and determination has led her through an impressive career in engineering. Now that part of her role requires her to manage the career paths of others, she hopes she can pay that forward, starting with her advice for developers:
- Be curious! "Keep your eyes open and don't put yourself in a box," she says. "Get to know the product, the people. Doing that not only enriches you and makes you a better professional, it also empowers you."
- Be humble. When coaching her team, Victoria is careful to tell them what they're doing well along with what they need to work on. "Know your strengths, but also know what you still have to learn and what areas you can grow in. That leaves you open to learning from others," she says.
- Always teach others. Management might not be for everyone, says Victoria. She'll sometimes tell people that she thinks they'll be great tech leads and hear that they are uninterested in management. She doesn't force them, because that makes everyone involved miserable, she explains—instead, Victoria encourages them to share what they know with others, even if in a more informal mentorship or training capacity versus a full-out management role. "Pay back as much as you get from your surroundings and the people you work with," she says.
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