IT Is One of Nation's Fastest Growing Job Sectors

    March 11, 2016

    By Dino Balafas

    The IT sector is brimming with possibility, and companies are onboarding specialists at incredible rates. Can anything slow down tech’s momentum?

    The IT industry is on a roll. Amid an economy where digital disruption and the influence of Silicon Valley loom large, industries far and wide have been actively hiring IT workers.

    CompTIA announced that IT employment increased 3.1% across the board in 2015, adding about 152,000 jobs. Workers looking to find employment in cybersecurity analyst or web development fields should be especially giddy, as those areas added 4.8% and 4.2% more jobs, respectively.

    It was a good year for IT, in general: if those growth rates remained consistent through the end of 2015, it would be largest year of IT job growth in over a decade, which, according to Fast Company, helped contribute to the lowest U.S. unemployment rate since the 2008 crash.

    But let’s get behind the figures. What’s driving this tremendous growth, and are there areas for concern?

    We’re in a Global  IT Moment

    In its 2016 Technology Industry Outlook, Deloitte paints a rosy picture of the coming year. They argue that technological disruption and innovation are causing businesses to rethink not just digital integration, but their entire business models. That, combined with the drive to seamlessly integrate products with IT platforms to support them, will continue to create growth.

    Moreover, they believe that as more companies adopt digital tools, the barriers to entering the digital economy will fall, accelerating the pace of technological change. If you’re tempted to believe that this is all just a bunch of hype, don’t — CompTIA expects the U.S. and worldwide IT industry to grow by roughly 4.9%, and Forrester predicts a slightly higher U.S. growth of 5.1%.

    But of course, in an industry as complicated as IT, there are always a million things that can go wrong. Experts have highlighted a few areas of concern to which we should be paying attention.

    Is There a Catch?

    One exception to this IT job growth has been in the oil and gas industry, where employment fell by 4%, according to Computerworld. Though the oil and gas industry is extremely reliant on technology products (it spent $700 billion on high-performance computing to the defense industry’s $968 billion, for example), low oil prices have shorn demand. They estimate that IT spending in the industry may decline by as much as 3%.

    As CompTIA notes, another hiring trouble is the coupling of an extremely low IT unemployment rate, 2.6%, with a massive demand for highly-skilled workers — with such a small labor pool, those skills can be hard to come by. Still, that trend is offset by the growing need for core IT workers, like IT support specialists.

    We Remain Confident

    Regardless of quarterly or even annual trends, the momentum of the IT industry is surging, and will no doubt continue to play a larger part in our economy. Fast Company reports that four of the top ten most-in-demand jobs for 2016 are IT-related.

    At TeamQuest, we see an increasing need for integrated products, managed services, and automated analytics as a heartening sign that business opportunities will only grow from today’s already-high benchmarks. Indeed, CompTIA expects our subset of the IT industry, IT services, to grow by as much as 7%.

    It’s always wise to add a healthy dose of circumspection to especially optimistic forecasts. Still, we take these figures as a sign that decades of industry experience and projections have paid off, and that we’re headed in a promising direction.

    (Main image credit: Patrick/Wikipedia)