IT professionals have a wide range of options when building a career. This is great, but also can be stressful.
Your career will be defined by your skills and your job sector, which each have their own challenges and benefits. Over time, some areas generate more of a demand for IT professionals than others, pushing salaries above what other industries pay.
Here are five job sectors to consider in 2017 if you want to boost your career to the next level.
Salaries in healthcare IT vary greatly, ranging from $59,000 to $107,000, depending on the position, putting it above the average salaries for IT workers. The sector is growing at a rapid pace and that growth will likely continue.
In the not-so-distant future, technology will play an increasing role in healthcare, driving a demand for talented professionals to program and troubleshoot medical trackers and monitors. To land a job in the industry, it helps to demonstrate a grasp of compliance, such as HIPAA laws, as they apply to IT. This is in addition to having the usual IT certifications like Network+ or your MCSA track. Keep in mind, though, the highest-level certifications often yield the highest-paying jobs.
Top locations for healthcare jobs: East coast and Midwest, namely Cleveland, Philadelphia, Boston, Detroit, and Indianapolis
Banking and finance typically pay higher salaries as well. An IT manager in finance has a salary that exceeds the average, as does a financial software developer. Jobs in finance are expected to increase at a higher rate than average, with positions in the field increasing between seven and 18 percent. In addition to the certifications specific to your IT profession, you’ll improve your chances of succeeding in finance by demonstrating a grasp of Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS).
Modern finance is all about speed and security, so you’ll want to learn the details on fast, large-scale networks and everything security.
Top U.S. locations: New York and Dallas
The telecommunications industry has changed dramatically to keep up with tech innovations. As a result, there’s no shortage of job openings for experienced professionals. Average salaries are in line with national averages, but an experienced specialist with a full understanding of the industry can quickly climb up the career ladder.
There are a number of certifications that professionals can achieve to remain competitive in this sector, including Cisco Collaboration and VMware.
Top locations: Anywhere
The country (and world) is filled with businesses that rely on IT infrastructure, which means they need IT professionals. Small businesses and firms will likely use cloud services to manage their IT needs, but large corporations will always pay according to market value or better for talented IT specialists.
For these types of positions, you’ll be working with customers (or managing other people working with customers), so project management and soft skills are especially valuable.
Top locations: Anywhere
The growth of cloud services means many of the IT jobs traditionally housed in businesses are being outsourced. This has shifted the demand for talented specialists to cloud service providers and managed service providers. It’s important to pay close attention to the positions most in demand from year to year because the tech industry is constantly evolving.
Last year, the median salary for cloud computing positions was $124,300, well above the average pay for IT positions in almost every role. You don’t need a degree specific to cloud computing, but there are certifications that can give you an edge. Resume credits like AWS certifications help you qualify for those in-demand jobs, pushing your earning potential further upward.
Top locations: Anywhere (and that’s the point)
In the right sector, IT professionals can quickly scale up the pay ladder, reaching their career goals faster than they would, otherwise.
While there are certain things professionals will have to learn to go into each sector, many of the skills picked up in the course of an IT career will easily translate from one industry to another — as long as they have a passion for the work they do.
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