It’s an exciting time to be in the tech-industry! Forces of automation, big data, artificial intelligence and virtual reality are unleashing a new wave of revolution, popularly called as the Revolution 4.0. Consequently, many interesting technology careers have emerged in a variety of spheres like engineering, marketing, network security, designing, etc., which promise an unrelenting pursuit of innovation and development for the professionals.
Following are 5 exciting career opportunities to pursue in information technology and further enhance your technical competence:
1. Drone Engineer
The hype around drones has been constantly building ever since Amazon unleashed its ambitious endeavour of using drones for delivering products to its customers in less than 30 minutes. As per a BI Intelligence estimate, sales of drones are expected to surpass $12 billion in 2021, up from the $8.5 billion figure of 2016, which would imply a 7.6% CAGR. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) facilitate aerial surveillance or object delivery via a remote control, and are being increasingly employed in cinematography, mapping, aerial thermography, action photography, law enforcement, agriculture, rescue, etc. Drones are also being used to capture high-resolution footage of luxury real estate, enabling fluid sales conversions to high-end clientele. Construction companies are leveraging drone technology to survey and inspect sites for progress, quality and safety. The UAV market has been blooming, owing to the significant time and money savings UAVs help generate.
By leveraging their computational, quantitative and designing skills, drone engineers are at the forefront of programming and building drones for military and commercial purposes. A trending development in amongst computer science jobs, they are responsible for designing software stacks, building communications and radar systems, along with UAV control and mission management software. Not only that, they are also involved in ensuring cybersecurity. Drone engineers could choose to specialise in hardware designing, training of drones, or in software coding. They need to be adept at operating conventional and unmanned systems, and require a robust skill set pertaining to guidance, control, communication and autonomous behaviour.
Companies have a strong preference for candidates having masters in either computer science, computer engineering, information systems. or aeronautical science. Many engineers foray into drone engineering after completing their doctorate thesis. Various colleges have started offering courses in autonomous vehicles, and a list of top 20 drone training institutes has been prepared by Drone Training HQ.
Opportunities for drone engineers are multiplying. As per a 2013 AUVSI report, the US commercial drone industry will create more than 100,000 new jobs.
2. Information Security Analyst
In wake of the notorious WannaCry ransomware attack which exposed around 150 countries to the savagery of hacking, the conversation around cyber security has picked up steam. Similar episodes entailing data breaches in big corporates like Sony, Yahoo, have revved up the demand for ethical hackers.
Information security analysts a.k.a. White Hat Hackers a.k.a. Ethical hackers install and implement firewall and data encryption software to safeguard an organisation’s information system against malicious cyber attacks. They are paid by governments and private companies to pretend and think like a malicious hacker, and spot system loopholes, vulnerabilities, and bugs. These system weaknesses are then reported to the company executives, who initiate a course of plan to safeguard systems for the future. Information Security Analysts also run educational drives to familiarise staff with potential external threats, and drill precautionary measures into their daily regime.
Companies with huge quantum of data like IBM, employ ethical hackers to prevent attacks against their networks. Facebook, Google, Cisco, etc. are some of the most attractive recruiters for ethical hackers.
Ethical hackers regularly service banks in maintaining their security networks. They are also absorbed in companies dealing in finance, computers, or consulting. Federal agencies like FBI, NSA, which handle national security, chemical weapons, etc. also employ services of these hackers.
With the advent of cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT), IT outsourcing, etc., businesses have become fragile, and increasingly more prone to aggressive waves of cyber-attacks. To protect their systems and data, plus to reap benefits of virtualisation provided by cloud computing technologies, hiring ethical hackers has become an utmost necessity for businesses.Their employment is projected to grow at 18 percent from 2014 to 2024. As per Bureau of Labour Statistics, the mean annual wage for May 2016 was pegged at $92,600.
To pursue a career in ethical hacking, an intricate knowledge of programming languages like C++, C#, Ruby, Python, etc., along with an elementary understanding of TCP/IP protocols such as HTTP, SMTP and ICMP is mandatory. Additionally, familiarity with web applications such as .NET and PHP is also required. An assembly language knowledge provides an edge. A Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology, Computer Engineering, or an advanced diploma network security, are sufficient for starting out.
3. Virtual Reality Engineer
Virtual reality(VR) has progressed by leaps and bounds in a few years, having penetrated into the specialised fields of psychiatry, education, marketing, automobile designing, architecture, medicine, etc. In a virtual reality set-up, reality is simulated by combining vision, sound, touch and feelings of motion to make a person feel like he’s in a different space altogether.
Using this, VR is utilised as a powerful tool for training practitioners and for the treatment of patients. VR has also been making tidal waves in the gaming industry with companies like Sony and Nintendo leading the revolution. Samsung launched Gear 360, a camera intended for recording of virtual reality videos for its Gear VR headset amidst a lot of fanfare. Automobile giants have been harnessing VR technology in development of new models from conceptual phase to final design with more fluidity and effectiveness.
The technology is also being used in enabling shoppers to virtually test drive vehicles from the comfort of their homes.
VR engineering consists of usage of 3D modelling tools and visualisation techniques for designing, which provides ample opportunity to test and understand its dynamics and working. A VR engineer needs to be adept at multiple computer languages, computer vision, computer graphics, mobile application development, digital image processing, etc. They’ll be responsible for visually envisioning and fabricating imaginative worlds for others to enjoy. Hence, a VR engineer not only needs to be technically proficient, but also imaginative and creative.
Virtual reality is the next hot-cake amongst IT careers. Goldman Sachs has predicted an optimistic scenario, pegging total VR revenues by 2025 to cross $182 billion. Venture capitalists have been rushing to invest, while corporate giants have been acquiring promising VR startups. These developments point towards robust job prospects.
4. Digital Marketing Engineers/ Marketing Technologists
In the past few years, technology has accelerated to new heights, and has successfully altered the face of marketing. Just as all careers increasingly require technological skills, careers in technology cannot flourish in isolation any longer; a technologist needs to collaborate on a myriad of areas with professionals from different backgrounds.It’s not unusual for an engineer to dabble into the theories of marketing, or for him to understand the nuances of customer retention to deliver result-optimised business solutions.
As efficacy of paid search, search engine optimisation (SEO), web analytics, and social media is increasing, marketing has increasingly become more digital and result-oriented. Measurement and analysis of marketing campaigns is now streamlined.
This union of technology and marketing has paved way for yet another exciting career for tech-enthusiasts, namely that of Digital Marketing Engineer, or what’s commonly called as Marketing Technologist. Analytics, automation and digital engagement are some of the many areas where technology and marketing overlap. A digital marketing engineer is the connecting link between the IT and marketing departments of a firm, driving spectacular marketing campaigns based on insights extracted from raw data. They leverage their technological expertise for spearheading marketing innovation. These professionals need to have a deep understanding of various technology platforms, such as CRM, CMS, email system, website, etc and an insanely creative energy. Harvard Business Review even chronicled the rise of a brand-new C-suite position of Chief Marketing Technologist, which essentially entails setting the technological vision for the organisation’s marketing and synthesizing new digital business models.
An individual looking to venture into this field needs intense knowledge and experience of managing marketing technology.
Expertise in SEO, SEM, paid search tools help in optimising digital marketing plans. By combining skills in media buying and behavioural marketing, media plans can be strategized to generate maximum returns possible. Tools of marketing automation, data analysis, web analytics and data mining help organise these campaigns and measure their impact (ROI) effectively. Experience with HTML and other coding languages help in understanding the mechanics of website-building and optimising.
A digital marketing engineer needs to stay abreast of the latest trends, innovation and best practices in the digital marketing sphere. As per a Forrester report, the US digital marketing spend will touch $120 billion by 2021, a signal of strong job growth for digital marketing engineers whose expertise will increasingly be sought after to make a dent through digital marketing campaigns.
5. User Experience Designer (UX Designer)
Yet another creatively fulfilling and technically-savvy career is of a User Experience designer (UX designer). A UX designer’s primary responsibility is to create an enticing ambience or feel to a website or a mobile app so that users have an interesting virtual journey. It pertains to how a user feels when he clicks various buttons on a website, or navigates through the different pages. It also involves aiming for the right visceral reaction a user has upon seeing the brand logo. User experience plays a pivotal role in converting leads into customers.
The principles of easy navigation, smooth flow, and a visually appealing look need to be followed to deliver a good user experience. If a user sticks around 10 seconds longer on a website, or decides to finally click the ‘Buy’ button because of how the platform made them feel, then the UX designer has aced his work.
A UX designer’s work can range from creating colour palettes to deciding the brand guidelines for an entire site. He/she is also involved in creating site wireframes, graphics, mockups, site architecture, running user tests and/or A/B tests to check effectiveness of different website versions, plus leveraging analytics to make optimised designs. Duties of a UX designer require knowledge of HTML, CSS, Photoshop, Illustrator, Mockingbird, Google Analytics, site mapping, user flows, etc.
The job market for UX designers is on an upswing as major corporations like Google, LinkedIn, and a host of start-ups have started using design-ethos to drive site and app traffic. As per Bureau of Labor Statistics, IT jobs in the web development field (Web programmers, Web designers, Webmasters) are expected to grow at a rate of 27% between 2014 and 2024.
At the pace with which technology is advancing and creeping into almost all the industries, different business realms and operations have converged to create avant-garde operational models. Consequently, professionals can no longer afford to not stay abreast of these changes. Whether it’s finance, marketing, or designing, technology has been taking over and offering a competitive advantage.
With the far-reaching applications of the above mentioned careers on the prevailing business scenario, their demand is bound to rev up. Over time, these careers will become the norm, and the skills required to excel in these will become essential rather than the differentiating add-ons they are to one’s resume today.