Skating to Where the Jobs Are Going to Be

Skating to Where the Jobs Are Going to Be

If Wayne Gretzky was paying for his own college education today, he might admonish today’s matriculating students to skate where the jobs are going to be. And there’s little question as to where that is: TECHNOLOGY.

According to the Consumer Technology Association, California already supports over three million jobs – which provide over $295.2 million in wages and contribute $515.3 million to the Golden State’s economy.

And, even though this is the hottest job market in 50 years – with a 3.6% unemployment rate, according to The Wall Street Journal“software has taken over many tedious processes, making starter jobs more demanding.” As ABL Member, Cornerstone CEO Adam Miller adds, “Everything has an external-facing component, from entry-level marketing roles to product management.”

Yet, according to the Journal, the largest number of jobs paying over $75,000 (that require a bachelor’s degree) are software and app developers. The 1,256,200 of these grads in 2016, took home an average of $105,590. (The only folks who were paid more were the 580,400 financial managers who earned $127,990.)

Largely because cybercrime is expected to cost the world $6 trillion a year by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2015, The OCR recently headlined  that the “Cybersecurity industry will have 3.5 million unfilled jobs by 2021.” Today businesses, utilities, and government agencies alike are scrambling to protect their data and computer systems in the face of rising cyberattacks, creating this growing demand for cybersecurity workers.

As Alvaka Networks’ COO Kevin McDonald, was quoted in the article: “Cybercrime is the single biggest threat to humanity we have seen in our lifetime besides nuclear weapons. “The impact on our infrastructure — including gas, electric power, water … all of these things — is enormous.” While the hours are long, “I’m never really off,” according to McDonald, the pay is good. Really good. An information systems security engineer or network security analyst, for example, can expect to earn $90,000 to $150,000 a year depending on experience, while cybersecurity analysts pull down $90,000 to $185,000.

To groom students for this growing need, the University of Southern California now has a USC Center for Computer Systems Security, and a master’s program in cybersecurity engineering.

While USC’s students in general are unlikely get their student loans paid off, courtesy of Robert K. Smith, as the 396 grads from Morehouse College did on Sunday. With a market this tight for technology savvy graduates, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see premier – and aspiring – tech firms vying for the top grads from the nation’s top tech schools and programs, offer to pay off their new hires’ college debt.

by Mimi Grant, President, Adaptive Business Leaders (ABL) Organization – Round Tables and Events for CEOs of Technology and Healthcare Companies