Even in a tough labor market, IT is where the jobs are. The unemployment rate for technology jobs was 3.3 percent in June, compared with a 9.2 percent unemployment rate overall that month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In the most recent edition of its Occupational Outlook Handbook, the BLS said it expects IT employment to grow “much faster than the average” of all occupations through 2018.
As every industry relies on technology to improve everything from market share to customer relations, leveraging business skills into an IT position can help make employees more valuable to their organizations.
“We’re seeing some customers that are open to doing it as the role of IT becomes more strategically aligned to the business,” says Tania Lavin, market research manager at TekSystems, a technology staffing and services company. “It’s being driven by the inherent need for IT leaders to have business skills and to be connected to the business.”
Skills in Demand
According to a October 2010 TekSystems survey, 42 percent of IT decision makers cited the lack of business knowledge as the source of problems within IT projects. That’s one reason why the business analyst role, which acts as a bridge between IT and the business units, is becoming increasingly valuable.
Business analysts gather, analyze and interpret data, contribute to project reports and presentations, and act as a liaison between clients, customer service, information systems, and other departments.
“Anyone who is able to manipulate data and various data systems has a great opportunity in tech,” says Alice Hill, managing director of Dice.com, a career Web site for technology and engineering professionals.