Technology has never been a more popular or viable field to go into than in 2016, and if you can rise above a large pool of applicants then it's likely you'll be presented with a hefty contract. The field is tough, but the challenges are rewarding for those who like to surround themselves with monitors at their job.
If you're thinking of going into the technology industry, there's a few things you need to know first.
Oh, the places you'll go
Silicon Valley, California, is the first area that springs to mind when tech comes up in the conversation. This was true at the turn of the century, but in the past five years other markets have begun to compete with it.
For instance, Forbes pointed out that Baltimore, Maryland, has blossomed as an industry hub over the last 10 years, growing at a rate of 38.8 percent over that time. The excellent part about technology jobs is that they're often open to telecommuters, opening up opportunities to job seekers nationwide that might not otherwise be available.
Here are a couple of places Forbes recommends to get you started on your job search:
- Washington, D.C. area is growing quickly and receives a lot of STEM funding. Cyber security is becoming a more prevalent need - especially when it comes to national security. "The Washington, D.C. area has seen a huge surge in the demand for trained and cleared IT professionals to help defend the front-lines in the battle for Cyber Security," notes Steve Broadman, Division Director of Beacon Hill Government Services in D.C. "Technical certifications and advanced degrees put candidates in command of their future. The D.C. area has some top universities and post-graduate programs focused on Cyber issues, providing a great talent pipeline for firms servicing the federal government."
- Seattle, Washington, is home to tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon and continues to be one of the best areas to find a tech job, with a 43 percent growth rate between 2001 and 2011.
- Austin, Texas, is becoming a hotspot for millennials, which inevitably means tech and startup opportunities will be present, according to Nerd Wallet.
- Huntsville, Alabama, is a lesser known area for those interested in tech jobs, but provides a number of opportunities for engineers.
In nearly every corner of the country there is a strong tech market - you just need to know where to look and what to look for.
Gender equality in technology
Silicon Valley has taken heat over the years due to its lack of gender equality. The Wall Street Journal pointed to some scathing statistics in which companies like eBay and Apple have gross rates of inequality. In some cases, just 2 out of every 10 jobs go to women.
According to a SmartAsset report, this trend is quickly changing. The financial technology company scoured the U.S. for the most gender neutral technology opportunities and came up with a comprehensive list.
Washington, D.C., came in at No. 1, where 40 percent of tech jobs in the region are filled by women. The average salary - after taking into account housing costs - adds up nearly $60,000. Just because some of the most well-known, household tech names work on the west coast doesn't mean that's where all the jobs are.
Those interested in the tech field should consider areas like Denver, New York and Indianapolis, which all ranked well for gender equality in the industry.