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Computers shape the way we live, the way we work, and increasingly influence the economic structures that make up the global economy. The ubiquity of the World Wide Web, business demand for greater automation and the relentless march of technological innovation all act as key factors explaining the central role computing plays in the world job market.

A quick look at some stats reveals the sheer numbers of working people involved in the technology industry. In 1997, the US tech sector was the working home for some 2.2million professionals. Fast forward to 2012, and that number had ballooned, to around 4million people. By the end of the same year, 2012, in London alone there were over 88,000 tech / digital companies based in the city. These firms employed over 580,000 people, and included big names such as Google, Twitter, Amazon and Facebook.

New disciplines unique to the IT world have begun to create job opportunities in the 21st century. In the USA in 1997, there were very few dedicated web development professionals. In 2012, over 100,000 people worked in this field.

As we move towards the future, there are certain trends defining the inexorable rise of the IT-focused career path, and emergent business areas seeking to recruit talent to meet needs. Here we take a look at thriving job landscapes in three distinct IT areas.

Working in IT security

One of the biggest growth areas in technology revolves around personnel equipped to deliver cyber security capabilities. In the US, by 2022 there will be a 37% increase in hires in the security field alone. Companies are increasingly looking for ways to firm up protection across mobile and tablet devices that are the focal point for the tech lives of many consumers.

In the UK there are concerns, recently voiced by the National Audit Office, that there is a skills shortage around the cyber security jobs market that could take years to put right, with demand comfortably outstripping supply. To help meet demand, there are now nearly 50 MSc level courses across UK universities focused on IT security specifically. As a country the UK is haemorrhaging nearly £27billion a year to cyber crime, with businesses footing most of the bill. IT recruiters face a tough challenge simply to find the right people with the right skill sets to meet even basic staffing levels.

Working in the cloud

Back in early 2012, analysis of the demand for IT professionals in the US revealed the soaring levels of interest many tech companies had for cloud-savvy staffers. A 61% year-on-year increase in hiring levels across tech hotspots like San Francisco, San Jose, New York and Washington D.C. reflected this recruiting interest in what was then an emerging area of IT employment.

Companies offering cloud computing services are set to be a stalwart of the US tech landscape in the upcoming years. Revenues in this area are projected to grow at $20billion per year over the next couple of years. There is also the promise of nearly 480,000 new hire opportunities that IT professionals and recruiters can look forward to filling in that timeframe.

This American trend of high demand for cloud-literate IT staff is mirrored in the UK. The mainstream rollout of cloud services in the UK is robust, with nearly 78% of organisations now having taken on one cloud-based service. The effect on recruiting levels that this business demand creates is acute: something like 300,000 new personnel will be required to come into the UK digital sector by 2020. Finding the skills that can help companies take advantage of cloud technologies will be a key part of recruiting strategies and job creation in the years ahead.

Working in big data

In 2011 a large skill gap in the US IT sector was uncovered. By 2018, 190,000 big data specialists, and 1.5million people capable of working with big data production and services would be required. Globally, nearly 4.4million jobs will need to be filled by big data focused IT staff by 2015. Data scientists, Quantitative Analysts and Managers and Database Technology Engineers are just a few of the job titles companies are looking to fill.

In the UK, the picture is similar in terms of exponential growth in jobs for big data specialists. By 2017, nearly 70,000 IT personnel skilled in this area will be required to serve business and public sector needs. The knock-on effect extends to a project demand for over 600,000 big data users – IT experts skilled in manipulating data and working with market analysis tools.

Companies leading the hiring race for big data specialists include media, tech and telecom firms, as well as large demand coming out of the UK Public Sector.

A bright future across the IT job landscape

Looking at the facts and figures evidencing just how much job growth there will be in IT over the coming years paints a buoyant picture. By looking at job opportunities in cyber security, cloud computing and big data alone shows just how much business demand continues to drive employment growth in certain tech disciplines. And that is not to mention the many jobs in mobile technology, app development, IT in health care. The list goes on! There is one thing that is certain though: there is good news and opportunities aplenty for talented IT professionals across a range of exciting and innovative disciplines.