So you want to work in tech? Here’s what you should know.
Get the inside scoop from career experts who work in technology and learn what it takes to land some of the hottest tech jobs right now.
You likely fangirl over TV shows like HBO’s Silicon Valley and Westworld. Alexa and Siri are basically considered family. Who knows the last time you had to take out a physical wallet. And if you’re really being honest, you’re so glued to your smartphone that it’s practically become an extension of your hand. Hey, it’s 2018—what do you expect?
Only more of it. “Tech”—not just an industry, but for many, a way of life—is poised to continue growing at a rate faster than even the most skilled coders can code. And if you’ve ever thought about getting a job in this rapidly expanding field, now couldn’t be a better time to start your search.
According to estimates by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), tech jobs are projected to grow by 13% through 2026—faster than the average for all occupations—which comes out to about 557,100 new jobs expected to be created within the upcoming years. BLS predicts that many of these new jobs will be found in cloud computing, information security, and the collection and storage of big data.
Sounds like some pretty high-tech stuff, but don’t worry: You’ll be heavily compensated if you work in this industry. The median wage for all tech jobs runs at about $84,580 a year, says BLS—more than double the national average of $37,690.
So, how, exactly, do you get a job in tech? To find out, we asked professionals from various corners of the U.S. technology market, “What should job seekers know about working in tech in 2018?”
The short answer: Pablo Rosero, a production coordinator at Google, summarized it best: “The bar is set very high, but the good thing is that, once you're in, you're in. It feels like a very crowded space, but with more traditional companies realizing just now—in 2018—that tech must become their business's backbone if they want to stay relevant, you can definitely find plenty of jobs available.”
Take a look at some of the prevailing 2018 tech industry trends as well as the types of tech jobs that are most in demand right now—plus, the top cities and companies hiring now and the skills you’ll need to land one of these jobs.
Tech jobs are more in demand than the latest smartphone release
There is an increase in tech jobs—both at traditional tech companies and at companies in other industries, such as health care, retail, and transportation—as more companies increasingly depend on technology to do business, even if the products or services they offer aren’t technology related.
“Both tech and non-tech companies [i.e, banks, retailers, financial institutions, and even websites like Monster] are in need of employees with tech skills in areas, such as cybersecurity, software development, data analytics, robotics, advanced manufacturing, and artificial intelligence,” says Jennifer Taylor, vice president of U.S. Jobs at the Consumer Technology Association.
Using BLS data, Monster rounded up the most in-demand tech jobs on the market right now—and the companies where you’ll find the most job opportunities on Monster.
1. Information security analyst
Job growth: 28%
What you’d do: With cyberattacks constantly making headlines at top companies, it’s no surprise that demand for information security analysts is so high. In this role, you would plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems.
What you’d make: $95,510 per year
What you’d need: Most jobs require a bachelor’s degree, preferably in computer-related studies.
2. Software developer
Job growth: 24%
What you’d do: Want to put your creative mind to work in tech? As a software developer, you would design and create computer programs and mobile applications.
What you’d make: $103,560 per year
What you’d need: In addition to a bachelor’s degree in computer science, you’ll need strong computer programming skills to be competitive.
3. Computer and information research scientist
Job growth: 19%
What you’d do: You’ll certainly have your work cut out for you in this job. Computer and information research scientists invent and design new approaches to computer technology and look for ways to improve upon current technology. Their days are filled studying and solving complex computing issues, primarily for business, medical, and scientific fields.
What you’d make: $144,520 per year
What you’d need: While a bachelor’s degree may be enough for some job opportunities, going for your master’s degree is what will really give you a leg up in your job search.
4. Web developer
Job growth: 15%
What you’d do: As a web developer, you’ll develop and maintain a variety of applications and services across the Internet. But you’ll also have opportunities to work beyond traditional websites in more distributed network applications.
What you’d make: $67,990 per year
What you’d need: Depending on where you apply, this can be a fairly easy-entry job to get. A high school diploma or associate degree can surely get your foot in the door, but some jobs may call for a bachelor’s degree. For any web developer job, though, you’ll need strong programming and graphic design skills. Check out more info on how to be a web developer.
5. Database administrator (tie)
Job growth: 11%
What you’d do: Database administrators (DBAs) store and organize data (think financial information or customer shipping records) using specialized software. An important part of this job is making sure that data are both available to users and secure from predators.
What you’d make: $87,020 per year
What you’d need: A bachelor’s degree (typically in an information- or computer-related subject) is a standard requirement.
5. Computer support specialist (tie)
Job growth: 11%
What you’d do: Whenever you have a computer problem, these are the people you turn to for help. Computer support specialists provide assistance and advice to users and organizations working within the computer networks to provide technical support.
What you’d make: $52,810 per year
What you’d need: An easy-entry job, many employers will accept candidates with an associate degree, but others (like large software companies) will likely require a bachelor’s degree. But as long as you have strong computer knowledge (maybe with some computer-related classes under your belt), you should be able to get your foot in the door
Tech hubs have more job opportunities than your calculator can count
While Silicon Valley will always be known as the capital of the tech industry, other burgeoning tech hubs throughout the U.S. offer many job opportunities, too.
“Cities like eVestment's hometown of Atlanta and others like Austin and Nashville offer a wide variety of great technology jobs,” says Joanne Luth, vice president of human resources at eVestment, a cloud-based data and analytics company. “These cities tend to maintain a much lower cost of living without compromising a competitive salary as companies based in these cities want to attract the best talent they can.”
Using data provided by the TalentNeuron tool from insights and technology company CEB, Monster identified the top cities with the most listings for tech jobs on Monster in 2018—and the top jobs and headquartered companies hiring in each hub.
1. Washington, D.C.
Number of jobs: 3,226
2. New York City
Number of jobs: 2,792
Number of jobs: 1,663
4. San Jose, California
Number of jobs: 1,509
Number of jobs: 1,319
Learning new skills will keep you competitive
Technology changes all the time—and if you plan to work in the industry, you’ll need to commit to learning new tech skills to stay competitive.
“If you're interested in a career in security, make sure you're up-to-date on the latest certifications, tools, and procedures,” says Jeff Weber, executive director for Robert Half Technology. “There is currently strong demand across industries, and it will likely only continue to increase.”
According to CEB results, some of the top tech skills employers are looking for in 2018 include: Java, Linux, Python, and C/C++. However, data skills are becoming increasingly more important, especially if your job has anything to do with analyzing metrics to show results. Oh, and you might want to brush up on your tech speak by making sure you can understand structured query language and HTML.
To brush up on your skills—and even add some new ones to your arsenal—consider signing up for online classes (three months for only 99 cents!) through Monster’s partners at Skillshare, which offers more than 10,000 courses that can help amp up your resume.
Tech culture is trending in the workplace
No, the people who work in tech aren’t just a bunch of nerds and geeks. Well, maybe there…but who isn’t? Whether you actually work in tech or just use technology in your everyday life (so, everyone), tech’s demanding, yet relaxed culture is becoming a social norm both inside and outside of the office.
Speaking of offices, you can kiss cubicle farms goodbye. Tech companies are well known for open office concepts, and it’s not unusual to work at a sit-to-stand desk or in a bean bag chair.
“Tech companies tend to lead the way in innovation around benefits. Things like open-concept workspaces, lounges, and other non-traditional work areas, not to mention unique and competitive benefits packages are becoming the standard in tech companies,” Luth says.
Tech companies such as Google, Apple, and Airbnb are well known for having cool office spaces that feature generous benefits and perks, including Ping Pong tables, napping pods, and on-site laundry service. Basically, these offices are better than your own home. Well, probably because after the long hours you’ll likely clock in, the office will become your home away from home.
Wired Magazine recently explored the extreme work ethic that’s celebrated at tech companies, saying, “Silicon Valley’s sense of self-worth is deeply tied to the idea that hard work is a prerequisite for success.”
But if you’re passionate about tech, you may be willing to forgo the standard 9–5 working hours.
“Newcomers can expect an exciting and ever-changing work environment, but this is not the environment for clock-punchers,” warns Doug Peters, vice president of operations at RE2 Robotics in Pittsburgh.
However, some tech companies do offer flexible work hours and vacation policies, which you’ll want to at least negotiate in your job offer.
Is your job search ready for an upgrade?
Now that you have a better understanding of what it takes to land a job in tech, it’s time to put your job search into high gear. A great first step is to join Monster for free today. As a member, you’ll get job alerts letting you know about our latest openings, as well as practical career advice, so you can stay on top of the latest tech jobs trends.