The answer is, “Likely, more than you’d think.”
I’ve heard a lot of misconceptions. When people think about tech jobs, their default thinking seems to go directly to Silicon Valley or even big manufacturers like Cisco or Oracle. This makes the job landscape seem very narrow, and the job prospects seem dim.
What if I were to tell you this isn’t the case?
Given how much misinformation I’ve heard about careers in IT, I wanted to put this post together and tackle the top three misconceptions heads-on.
1. Tech jobs involve fixing broken computers.
These days, there’s tech in everything—and every industry. A tech education doesn’t limit you to working for a hardware or software manufacturer; the opportunities to use your tech degree are everywhere. Every item in the modern office has a tech component, down through how we all communicate. Someone has to manage these platforms, set them up, and fix them when they break.
Don’t want to touch hardware? Excellent — you can help people collaborate and connect, keeping business operations running smoothly. There is even a vast array of consulting jobs available like this.
You don’t have to stay in one particular industry. Maybe you do want to carry out IT support for a business or a group of area companies, but you can also work in any number of industries. These range from healthcare all the way through agriculture—believe it or not, agriculture is not just about planting crops anymore, but instead has come to involve analytics, automation, and optimization.
2. You can’t get started in tech until after you graduate, and only if you have a four-year IT degree.
We know from first-hand experience working with local schools that they are implementing programs to meet the growing demands of tech. It does take a while because they have to run any curriculum changes through an entire vetting process that can take several years. However, only a few years ago we were working with schools on evaluating what tech needs would look like in 2020, and we were focused on topics like the currently-trendy robotics, data analytics, and even cybersecurity.
Our local colleges have been working with their staff and accreditation groups to make sure they provide tech training that will empower their graduates to meet the needs and find success in the real world. Schools have also discovered that the best way to get students who are engaged from day one is to start working with them early, even as far back as when they’re in the third or fourth year of high school. This allows students to begin taking college-level classes, or even just courses that will help prepare them for college. Businesses and colleges in California are working very closely with high schools in their districts to produce graduates that they can tap into to fill their desks.
Of course, these programs — and their offerings — differ based on the schools they work with. Locally, I know of three primary high schools that feed into tech, but each has their challenges. Hartnell is rich with Latino and minority students from various backgrounds. Peninsula/MPC students have a little more of a leg up, with Carmel and Monterey High students tending to be a bit more “ready for college.” CSUMB, on the other hand, is a more traditional school providing equal opportunity for a broad student base, with a graduating student body that includes a significant minority population. That’s very attractive to Silicon Valley because they have self-imposed quotas for minority hires. That said, tech is growing everywhere, and so there is no limit to where any of these students might end up if they choose a degree — and career — in tech.
3. You can only make six figures if you went to Harvard.
Schools across the country are working very hard to design curricula that impart the skills you need to grow as a professional, but also provide you with precisely what employers are looking for. Look for this not just in the topics covered, but also in the types of skills being taught, which include project management and collaboration. These skills are not only trained in four-year programs but also two-year associates and even certificate programs. They are just that essential to the tech industry, and it is that clear that this area is experiencing tremendous job growth that’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
Something on the scale of over 250,000 jobs a day is unfilled in the United States because people don’t have the IT skills needed, and this number will only continue to grow as technology becomes even more heavily utilized. That estimated figure doesn’t even factor in new fields still being defined, like robotics, artificial intelligence, and even cybersecurity.
As if the job security that comes with such numbers weren’t compelling enough, the salary numbers are fantastic as well. The average starting salary for a tech job is over $50,000 per year. That’s just what you start with; earning six figures is indeed not unheard of.
If you’re trying to choose your career path, tech is worth a good look. Whether you’re a gadget-fiend or a gamer, a minority group or even just interested in one particular field or industry, there is a program and a track that can work for you. Given how the number of available tech jobs is growing each day and the extent of tech integration is only continuing to rise, there is a way for you to find both success and fulfillment.
Alvarez Technology Group, Inc.
209 Pajaro Street
Salinas, CA 93901
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