Not so long ago, coders, programmers, developers, and other IT specialists did not have many applications for their skillsets beyond the realm of established technology giants and emerging tech startups. Things changed dramatically over the last decade or so: Today, specialists with experience in programming and coding are in high demand in virtually every area of human activity, even if it seemingly has nothing to do with tech, the Internet, or the latest breakthroughs in science. Partly this is the result of the mobile revolution — it made constant Internet access, apps, and networks a part of our daily reality. But mostly it happens simply as a result of technology playing an ever more significant part in our lives — as smart devices are getting cheaper and more available, it is only natural to adapt them for the needs of new and emerging industries. So, if you are a programmer today, where are the jobs and which industries should you keep an eye on? Let us take a look at the most promising directions your career can take.
Due to its specifics, the finance industry is particularly concerned with the issues of safety and resilience of systems it employs. It is why it was not particularly eager to invest in cloud technologies at the early stages of their development — finance requires very high standards of security and resilience before it can afford to implement a new solution. But the FinTech field is changing. Financial institutions are rapidly increasing the rates at which they invest in cloud technologies and analytics, which means ever-greater demand for programmers.
2. Health care
Health care has always been a conservative industry, careful not to accept and adopt innovations until they are thoroughly tested. It is only natural, as lives literally depend on how well the health-care system manages to do its job. However, it the time for the wide adoption of IT-based solutions has finally come. Today, programmers are needed to develop clinical software, medical applications aimed at both consumers and health-care professionals, cloud systems for holding and processing data, analytical solutions, and many other kinds of software products. As adoption rates grow, we are likely to see the rising need for solutions we cannot even envision right now.
One has to pay special attention to the security angle: health-care organizations have to deal with highly sensitive and vital information, from lists of patients eligible for medical cannabis cards to the medical histories of mental health patients. Jobs for programmers and IT security specialists are going to be particularly abundant in this field.
Perhaps agriculture is not the first industry one would associate with high-tech and innovative AI solutions, but we have already reached a stage at which traditional means of increasing productivity no longer produce noticeable improvements. The only way for the agricultural industry to meet the demands of the growing world population is to adopt radically new approaches to what it does. Even now, many businesses working in this industry turn to IT for much-needed solutions. Programmers develop machine learning tools and AI applications to calculate ways to maximize crop yields and field use efficiency while minimizing the use of chemicals, spoilage, and other negative factors. Satellite imagery, analytics tools, computer vision and other solutions are used to predict weather and determine the best planting and growing periods — in other words, to completely eliminate the element of unpredictability from agriculture.
It may be a bit unexpected, but more and more design job listings mention programming knowledge among the required skills for applicants. They usually do not require deep and extensive knowledge of programming languages, but having some level of proficiency in this field helps a designer work more efficiently with digital materials and better understand the tools they use in their job. Most such positions do not require an official computer science degree, but some level of self-taught programming knowledge is certainly going to be more and more welcome in this field in the years to come.
Twenty years ago, jobs for programmers in retail might have seemed as little more than a bizarre choice. Today, with traditional retail pushed back on every front by the likes of Amazon, companies in this industry are desperate to try to find a way to turn the tables and change the nature of their business in a way that would make sense in the existing (and upcoming) market paradigm shift. They apply virtual and augmented reality technologies, develop innovative user interfaces, try to find new ways to incorporate mobile in their inner workings, and do dozens of other, less obvious things — and top-notch programming specialists are necessary to implement most of them.
6. Kitchen appliances and smart homes
With the rapid evolution of smart homes and the Internet of Things, the kitchen is likely to be at the forefront of revolutionizing our lifestyles. Fridges that sense products going bad and automatically place orders for a new supply of milk are just the beginning. Innovative cooking devices that are going to change the meaning of words such as “comfort” and “convenience” are on their way, all needing carefully coded software to manage complex cooking operations.
Marketing used to be all about creative advertising, inventing catchy slogans and right positioning for products and services. All this is still going strong, but it is obvious that we see a strong change in the defining undercurrents. Today, employers more and more often look for marketers with programming skills. While creative copywriters are still very much in demand, marketing nowadays employs cloud computing, analytical tools, machine learning, and AI applications to look for patterns in the behavior of customers and competitors alike to get insights that would define which direction the next marketing campaign should take. Product managers, in particular, have to combine marketing and IT skills when they create new products and prepare them for the market.
Jobs for programmers have gone way beyond Silicon Valley
Programming and other IT skills should no longer be associated primarily with Silicon Valley tech startups — in fact, these days it is harder to find an industry that is not rewiring itself to accommodate for the greater use of programmers and their skillsets. And that is why jobs for programmers can now be found everywhere.
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