4 Rising Careers in Tech and How to Get Ready for Them

Whether you’re graduating from college in June or still have several years to go — the real world is out there, so you’d better get ready. If you’ve peeked at sites like LinkedIn or CareerBuilder recently, you’ll see that careers in technology are in high demand.

Tech Career Perks

  • Attractive salaries: Six-figure incomes are now more common across many tech-centric positions — and not just the high-level administrator and manager positions.
  • Flexible work environment: More and more technology professionals are working remotely either some or all of the time.
  • Variety of work: Finance, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, education, transportation and government are a sampling of the types of industries seeking tech professionals to help collect, interpret and use information.
  • Making a difference: From building websites for charity organizations to being part of a company that’s researching cures for human diseases, you can improve the world — one website wireframe or one line of code at a time.

The explosion of technology and data over the past several years has given rise to millions of new career opportunities, many of which didn’t exist a decade ago. In fact, according to LinkedIn’s 2017 U.S. Emerging Jobs Report, an estimated 65 percent of children entering primary school today will hold jobs that don’t even exist yet. And the majority of these will be jobs in technology.

Don’t be discouraged if you’re not a computer science or engineering major — there are plenty of cool tech job options available; you’ll just need some tailored training first.

A good place to find this training is through university extension programs — the continuing and professional education arm of a university — that can help people get more specific education. Extension specializes in courses and certificate programs for working professionals and those looking to start or advance their career.

UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education, for instance, offers areas of study from the health sciences to brewing, business and management, and planning and sustainability.  (Read “6 UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education Programs That Boost Careers” for more ideas.) And, the UC Davis program is able to help with information technology training.

One benefit to taking UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education’s courses is the convenience. In most cases, there’s no application or admissions process. You simply sign up for the course you want, pay with a credit card and begin on the course’s start date.

Web development and data science pay well

UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education offers certificates and training in two flourishing sectors worth considering: web development, and data science and analysis.

As businesses increasingly engage with their clients and customers online, the demand for skilled web-development professionals is steadily growing. This includes job titles like web developer, website designer and web app developer.

According to the Business Insider website article, “6 tech jobs that will grow like crazy in 2017 and beyond,” jobs for web developers are expected to grow by 27 percent through 2024. And based on compiled job postings for 2017, the salary range for website and web app developer new hires was $82,750 to $135,500, and the salary range for website designers was $70,500 to $118,000.

As for the potential for data science and analysis job growth, the International Data Corp. reports that the amount of data generated in 2020 will be 50 times more than the total amount generated in 2011. As a result of this explosion of data, the demand for skilled professionals who can collect, analyze and visualize information has never been greater. According to a recent IBM report, by 2020, the number of jobs for all U.S. data professionals will increase by 364,000 job openings to 2.7 million.

Here’s how you could get into these careers:

1. Web developers

A person working on computer code
Mastering computer code is part of the challenge for web developers. (Getty Images)

UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education’s Web Development Certificate Program provides the foundational training needed to land a job as a web developer. This program includes five online courses that cover everything from basic website design with HTML5 and CSS to programming with JavaScript and web app creation with AJAX. Students can complete the program in as little as nine months, and no prior web or programming experience is needed.

“I featured the websites I developed as final projects in my classes in my portfolio of websites during my job search,” says Dilhari Peiris, who recently completed UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education’s program.  “The technical background I got from this program was very helpful for me to succeed in my job search as well as in my current position, which involves both front-end and back-end web development.”

If online learning is not your thing, UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education also has a Coding Boot Camp, an intensive, classroom-based program in Sacramento that’s designed to teach all of the skills needed to land a job as a full-stack web developer in 24 weeks.

2. Web designers

A male looking at a mobile phone screen with a similar computer screen in the background
Web designers learn to design for both mobile as well as desktop communication. (Getty Images)

Another career option in this field — especially suited for those with artistic talents — is website design. To be successful, you’ll need to know how to write your own code, use visual authoring software, create dynamic web graphics and understand user experience. That’s what students learn in our Website Design Professional Concentration. This program consists of four online courses, and no prior web experience is necessary.

3. Data scientists and analysts

Female hands in gloves working on a chart in a medical setting
Data scientists come from many majors but need a basis in statistics and math plus advanced courses in analytics. (Getty Images)

Did you know that “data scientist” ranked as the No. 1 best job in America in 2017, according to jobs website, Glassdoor? It earned the top spot based on its median base salary, job satisfaction and high number of job openings. The salary range for data scientist job postings in 2017 was $116,000 to $163,500, and for data analysts the salary range was $77,500 to $114,750.

While earning a mathematics degree is a great pathway to slide into one of these positions upon graduation, you can get a good start with just a standard statistics course, regardless of your major. Then consider enrolling in UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education’s Healthcare Analytics Certificate Program.

This five-course, career-oriented online program gives students the knowledge to succeed as a clinical and operational analyst in health care. The curriculum dives into data and hands-on coding, preparing students for a role as a data scientist, rather than a clinician or administrator.

Developed in partnership with the UC Davis School of Medicine, the online program features interactive class assignments that give students access to analytics software and live data sets.

“Typically, we recommend students have some health care knowledge or on-the-ground experience,” says Misty Avila, program education specialist at UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education.

“That being said, the field is evolving quickly. I’ve seen more roles pop up while doing labor research for health care data analysts or information analysts that appear to only need a bachelor’s degree and some hard skills in analytics. If someone was looking for an entry-level position with our certificate and a bachelor’s degree, there are a growing number of options.

4. Data visualizers

A woman looking at a transparent screen with many  images
Like web designers, data visualizers depend on their creativity for their careers, in this case to tell data stories with images. (Getty Images)

Knowing how to create effective presentations of data findings is an increasingly sought-after skill in many industries today — particularly business, finance and health care.

To get this training, you might check out UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education’s new course series on Data Visualization with Tableau. These online courses delve into both theory of data visualization and practical applications, including using tools to design interactive dashboards and create infographics and data stories.

Sukhvir Brar teaches “Introduction to Data Visualization with Tableau,” “Tableau Dashboards for Exploratory Data Analysis” and “Applied Healthcare Statistics” for UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education.

When asked how learning data visualization can help a student’s career, he says, “As companies move away from standard reporting and toward interactive dashboards, training in data visualization will increase students’ skill sets and analytical knowledge.”

Benefits of using UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education

Many of our programs are offered online and can be taken concurrently with regular classes, if you can squeeze in the time. The online courses typically combine an instructor-led weekly webinar along with self-guided, interactive assignments and discussion forums.

Kristin Mick earned a bachelor’s degree in communication at UC Davis and a master’s degree in journalism at San Jose State University. She has more than 20 years of experience working in marketing communications as a copy writer and editor, and she currently works at UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education​ as a supervising editor.


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