Tech workers span the spectrum of industry, from fast food to furniture.
- By Dian Schaffhauser
Knowing the future looks bright for our jobs and that growth is possible
can be a great comfort. (I once worked for a firm that sold parts for
mechanical cash registers; I wouldn’t want to be there anymore.)
For that reason, I’m going to share some interesting data from the U.S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics: Eight of 10 of the fastest growing occupations
between 2000 and 2010 will be computer related, in this order: software
engineers, applications; support specialists; software engineers, systems
software; systems administrators; systems and communications analysts;
desktop publishers; database administrators; computer systems analysts.
Of course, by sheer number, fields like fast food and customer service
will offer more jobs over the decade; but, overall, the 2,825,870 of you
in IT will grow to be about 3,900,000 by 2010. (That number also encompasses
about 95,000 people who work in the math trades, but it’s small enough
that I’ll ignore it.)
What’s just as intriguing to me is examining what industries you work
for. According to 2001 numbers for all computer jobs, insurance carriers
employ 119,170 of you. Health services has 67,220. Air transportation
has hired 14,170 computer specialists. Food stores employ 7,030 of you.
Museums and the like employ 1,050 of you. Exactly 210 of you work in the
metal mining business.
Drilling down specifically on jobs for network and computer systems administrators,
40 of you work for furniture and fixture companies. A hundred of you work
for railroad transportation firms. Another 320 of you work in the real
In the past I’ve tended to group all network admins as if you do the
same job; but the fact is, you probably don’t. I stood in line for a bus
at a conference recently and talked to a woman who managed the network
for a gravel company in the Midwest. She said their biggest challenge
is keeping communications lines open because the blasts and heavy equipment
use that took place at all the different quarries played havoc on wire.
She came to the conference to seek some pretty specific solutions; an
enhanced Active Directory wasn’t going to fix her work-related headaches.
Microsoft has begun tackling some of the largest vertical segments—financial
services and healthcare—with specific product lines. I’d like MCP Magazine
to start doing the same, but not necessarily just for the biggest
segments. The problem is, I don’t know what it is you need to get your
jobs done. Would it be useful to get all 250 of you who work for auto
dealers and gas station companies together online, on a conference call
or in the same room, to share your unique challenges? Is there something
unique about the industry you’re in that you don’t think anybody else
faces? I’d like to hear about it at email@example.com.
And if you’re pondering a move to a new industry, you might want to check
out your prospects first with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can
find it online at www.bls.gov.
Dian L. Schaffhauser is a freelance writer based in Northern California.