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These Are The Top Three Jobs for 2017 Tech Grads

by David Sheehan

Graduation is both a bittersweet end and an exciting beginning — but it can also be pretty scary for students unsure of exactly what’s next. The Washington Post reported in 2015 that 4 out of 5 students graduated without a job lined up. Some of those least likely to have this problem? Grads with technical skills.

Demand for IT jobs continues to grow  to the point where there may not be enough individuals to fill the positions — 61 percent of CIOs surveyed said that it’s challenging to find skilled IT professionals due to fewer applicants with the right technology qualifications.

In the tech hiring market, new grads and jobseekers should look at these top roles:

Mobile App Designer

It’s a mobile-first world, where we access everything from games to car rides from our phones. Increased demand for mobile apps, in a relatively short period of time, has made it challenging for firms and companies to find candidates with mobile app development skills, creating a competitive hiring market and escalating salaries. Starting compensation for mobile developers are expected to see a 3.4 percent increase in 2017.

Graduates with degrees in Computer Science or Information Systems will float to the top of these applicant lists. Prospective mobile app developers will need a background in graphic or interaction design.

Recommended skills and experience:

  • Experience with Adobe technologies like Flash and ActionScript as well as object-oriented programming principles, such as Objective-C, C++ or Java
  • Hands-on practice developing responsive design for mobile-ready websites and mobile applications for any of the major platforms (iOS, Android, Windows Phone)
  • Skills coding with mobile frameworks such as Xcode, Android SDK or Windows Phone App Studio and with mobile development languages such as Objective-C, Java for Android or C# for Windows Phone.

Data Analyst

Data analysts are responsible for helping to distill an organization’s technical data in a way that is meaningful to business decision makers. The analyst’s job in a company is essential, considering they provide the reasoning to support key company leaders’ business plans. In addition, firms in just about every industry need a data analyst’s expertise. The average salary for a data analyst in the U.S. is expected to increase 3.8 percent in 2017.

A graduate with a degree in computer science, information systems or a related field could improve their chances of getting an entry-level data analyst position by acquiring key experience with databases such as Microsoft SQL Server.

Recommended skills and experience:

  • Experience working with major database platforms, such as Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle and IBM DB2
  • Strong analytical, quantitative and problem-solving abilities
  • A thorough knowledge of relational database theory and practice
  • The ability to work both independently and collaboratively with data systems teams

Software Engineer

Software engineers design and create engineering specifications for building software programs, typically working with quality assurance and hardware engineers to develop testing plans. Overall, software engineer jobs are projected to grow 17 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. It comes as no surprise then that a starting software engineer salary is projected to increase 5.2 percent this year.

Graduates looking at becoming a software engineer should ideally have a degree in computer science, electrical engineering, computer engineering or a related discipline.

Recommended skills and experience:

  • Experience in specific programming languages, such as C#/C++, Java or Visual Basic .NET, depending on the employer
  • Excellent communication and problem-solving skills, and the ability to work well in a team environment

While these technical professions are certainly in demand, it is important to remember that there’s more to these roles than a great starting salary. It’s also important to look at the overall strength of a company as well as their product timeline, clients, and leadership to get a complete picture. It’s important to focus on culture and understand how you’ll be a fit in the organization and an asset to the team.

David Sheehan is a branch manager of Robert Half Technology, a leader among IT staffing companies that provides skilled IT professionals to match IT staffing needs. He leads staffing and recruiting for two Robert Half companies, Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group, in metro Atlanta.

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