Growth in tech industry creates demand that can’t be met by university grads

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Editor’s note: this story pairs with “How to become a web developer” 

BYU junior Cole Matheny spends hours a day in a lab on the third floor of the Crabtree Building. Some nights he doesn’t get home until past midnight because he is busy doing assignments for his operating systems, networking and computer science classes. His time and dedication are spent in order to have a successful career in the booming tech industry.

According to the 2016 national annual analysis of the nation’s tech industry done by Cyberstates 2017, U.S. tech sector employment grew by nearly 3 percent and is approaching seven million workers.  

“I decided to go into information technology because it’s a field that I knew I could a get a job in,” said Matheny.

There is a growing demand in the tech industry for developers, network architects, cybersecurity analysts and computer support specialists.   

University Career Services Career Advancement Director Monte Marshall said that the hiring needs for large tech companies such as Google cannot be met.

“A representative from Google told me that if they hired every computer science major from every one of their target universities over the past ten years, they would still not be able to meet their hiring needs,” said Marshall.

Infographic depicting the growth in the tech industry. (Morgan Berry)

Tech businesses have been growing steadily and among those businesses, information technology (IT) services have seen the largest increase in new businesses.

Cyberstates 2017 found that IT services and custom software services were responsible for adding the most new tech business organizations. Over the past five years, this specific sector had added approximately 48,826 new business organizations, a growth rate of 24 percent.

Monte, the career advisor for the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering and Technology, said IT is a great place to be right now and that BYU IT students are highly employable.

“Security is one of the biggest needs, and a main reason for the number of offers our IT students are getting,” Monte said.

BYU’s IT program has 100 percent placement in industry, graduate schools and professional schools. The average starting salary for IT graduates is approximately $73,300.

Cyberstates 2017 found that the average wage of a tech industry worker in 2016 was an estimated $108,900, more than double the average annual national wage for non-tech-related jobs.

In such a competitive industry, companies focus on the environment and benefits that they provide to attract and maintain employees.

Adam Lehmitz, an account manager at the cyber security company ProofPoint, said his company offers unlimited paid time off, a sports complex, workout center and nap areas.

As an account manager, Lehmitz is responsible for the client retention and education of approximately 50 companies, as well as selling the company’s new products or upgrading their system. Lehmitz receives base pay as well as a commission, which is fairly typical for the tech industry.

“I would say the tech industry is a thriving and well-paid industry to be in,” Lehmitz said. “I have been in the tech industry a relatively short amount of time, but technology today changes very quickly and I have seen the scale of automation improve drastically as well as a huge migration to the cloud.”

The BYU IT program is one of the lead IT research programs in the nation and offers ten different emphases including application development, cyber security, social computing and system and network administration.

With the tech industry constantly expanding and changing there is a lot of room for new hires. According to Cyberstates 2017, in 2016 there were about 108,000 IT jobs added, an increase of about 4.8 percent.

Monte advised that if technology is something a student finds interesting, then it is a good field to pursue.

“Technology encompasses so many areas.  Find what it is that most interests you and then get experience in that area.  There is so much opportunity to make a difference with a career in technology.  Find something you enjoy and make the world a better place,” Monte said.

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