An increasing number of millennials are giving up their current careers to make a foray into the technology sector. Why? Well, the growing number and scope of available jobs, options to broaden their skill sets, and opportunities to earn more while participating in intellectually rewarding work, are the reasons switching to tech careers has become a hot favorite for millennials — the generation typically defined as people born between 1981 and 1996, making them ages 22-37 this year.
Why tech careers?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects to witness a 12 percent growth in computer and information technology jobs during the period 2014 to 2024. This rate is ahead of that of all other occupations for the same period.
In keeping with historical trends, the job outlook for this sector continues to remain good.
Even industrial companies are no longer immune to technology professionals because of the role that new technologies playing in reinventing technical processes and machinery.
Over 250,000 “hybrid technical roles” are reported to have been created in the previous year.
- Their starting salaries were comparatively higher.
- Offers stellar growth opportunities for individuals who can keep pace with technological advances and up-skill periodically.
For millennials considering a plunge into tech careers, the current situation is better than things have ever been. This is because:
- The industry is facing a huge crunch of qualified personnel.
- Most job seekers who are competing for the current positions are those making a career shift. Therefore, the competition is manageable.
According to data analytics experts, the technology job market is growing rapidly. The dearth of qualified talent is affecting business. Employers are flocking to universities in the hope of finding candidates with the following attributes:
- Qualified persons who can be trained to do specialized tech jobs.
- Trained professionals who can be put on the job right away.
Right now, the demand outweighs the supply, and this trend is expected to hold for the foreseeable future as well.
Acquiring the right skills
The average millennial is taking measures to learn the latest technology skills for two main reasons:
- To pursue tech careers.
- To remain updated.
Irrespective of the reason, the trend is most welcome. Being additionally qualified in special skills will assist in:
- Securing technology jobs that are in high demand.
- Procuring future non-technical positions because of the premium on non-technical persons with the ability to speak/understand technical parlance.
Some consultants in the field point out that having experienced the perpetual uncertainty of the economy in which they work, the millennials are more aware than any former generation about how fickle current realities can be.
These experts point out that more skills equate to more job opportunities and that some of those skills ought to be technology related.
Earlier this year, the publication U.S. News ranked the 10 best technology jobs. Their median salaries for these tech careers fell in the range of $80,000-100,000. For most millennials, the paycheck is hardly ever the deal breaker but being overburdened by huge student loans, the pay is certainly the alluring factor for this line of work.
But you don’t have to go to an expensive college to obtain the tech skills needed to earn a job in this arena.
Lindsey Curran, general assembly alumni and software engineer at GE Digital, a digital industrial company, recalled that with a BA in humanities (which most industries are not looking for), she found it impossible to find a suitable job after college in 2015/16.
Even the positions she was qualified for turned her down. Now, skilled as a web developer, she feels that:
- Job opportunities are aplenty.
- Her income level has gone up a few notches.
- The work she does is deeply gratifying.
Millennials prefer demanding jobs. They tend to quit less invigorating jobs easily. That is one of the reasons why technology roles appeal to them. Here, the problems that need resolution or the tools that demand creation is unending.
Lindsey remembered the erstwhile days of indecision and how making up her mind to refocus her career on programming was one of the most difficult decisions she had ever made.
Especially since she never envisioned herself pursuing a career in technology; something completely disconnected from her preferred subjects at college, taking the first step was frightening to the core.
Lindsey’s case is only one example of why a millennial could choose an information technology caterer.
The opportunity to challenge your own self every day and to push boundaries with each project is another major reason. Some individuals are attached to tech jobs because of the constant leaning and skills upgrade.
Others come to it for the high pay. The reasons driving this shift from non-tech to tech jobs are as varied as imaginable. Despite that, one thing is certain. For those with the right skills and for those willing to acquire the necessary skills, the tech sector has lots to offer.
Your quest in the information technology job space may be to:
- Repay your mortgage bills or to be able to pay the mortgage easier.
- Save for the future.
- Go on that dream holiday.
But with a tech job, you are not immersing yourself in this field just to earn a living. There is much more — being a part of something meaningful to you and the world. You could be:
- Helping charities set up their websites.
- Building education apps for people of all ages.
- A part of a revolutionary company striving to transform lives.
You can make a difference — one line of code, one wireframe, or one application at a time.
As per a millennial survey conducted by Deloitte in 2016:
- 8 percent of millennials considered work-life balance a vital parameter to evaluate a job opportunity.
- 4 percent evaluated on the basis of growth opportunities.
- 11 percent looked for flexibility with respect to work location and flexible working arrangements.
A high-flying career or owning material assets — hefty job title, own house, big paycheck, flashy car, etc., are of little significance to millennials (well, that matter to them in a few years). The definition of success for a millennial is:
- Being able to control how and when they work.
- Savoring life experiences.
Both these require work-life balance. Tech companies are redefining their work practices to cater to this very demand.
The ideal way to switch
Create a detailed portfolio of your tech skills in a professional manner. You could demonstrate your skills by building an app or a website, which shows what you are capable of creating something. It can be something that will help you stand out in a crowd and also help potential employers judge your skills and drive. Do all this, and your plunge into tech careers will go swimmingly.
Featured image: Flickr / ITU Pictures