5 Technology Careers You May Not Have Considered

August 21st, 2012 | Industry News, Job Search, Press Releases and Industry News | No Comments »

Spark of intuition

Looking for an incredible, high-tech job? Look no further than these 5 cutting edge IT careers!

The huge amounts of data that dominate the working world create a multitude of career opportunities for someone with an information technology degree. Data must be managed, mined, disseminated and protected, and business sectors around the world (both public and private) are part of the game. While there are many routine IT jobs that are necessary and worthy occupations, the chance to do something unusual and original can be very appealing.

Big Data Analysis/Data Modeler: The term “big data” refers to amounts of data so large that traditional databases can’t adequately manage it. Organizing and making sense of it all takes unique talent, and it’s a talent that’s greatly needed. In fact, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) recently launched a new research center to focus on innovations in data collection and processing in response to the need.

Individuals who can define and extract valuable elements from big data, and design ways to use those extractions effectively, are rapidly becoming necessary within many organizations. The result: Data modelers and others with big-data experience will be in high demand in coming years. The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative predicts up to 50,000 jobs related to big data in that state alone by 2018.

Cyber Security: Protecting those massive amounts of information is an equally important matter and is another area of high demand. Even the federal government is recruiting. Using the term “cyberwarriors,” the Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, has declared that there aren’t enough qualified candidates to address all the concerns of electronic security.

Analyzing systems, developing safety protocols, and monitoring and defending against attacks all fall under the category of protection, and the Department of Homeland Security is assisting some schools in designing related curriculums to help produce qualified professionals. Staying ahead of hackers is a matter of national security, but the situation also affects ordinary individuals who are potential victims of identity theft. IT professionals have an opportunity to help at all levels.

Computer Forensics: Retrieving data from computer media can be invaluable to businesses that have lost important information due to natural disasters, employee mistakes or perhaps willful acts. Computer forensics can also assist in restoring stolen identities and helping people get their lives back on track. It’s the CSI unit of the information world, and the work requires a high degree of precision and accuracy. For example, forensics investigators must ensure the integrity of retrieved data to prevent evidence tampering, which would render any criminal findings useless.

Retrieving deleted data, revealing hidden files and breaking into data-protected areas (legally, of course) are typical forensics actions. Overcoming intentional anti-forensics protocols that programmers implement is another challenge. Financial fraud, industrial espionage and countless other crimes often involve computers, creating an ongoing need for computer forensics skills.

Robotics and Nano-Technology: Robotics is growing so rapidly, and touches so many areas of business, there appear to be few limits. Robots function in large industrial settings, such as factories and assembly plants. They allow scientists to study other planets yet robots are also capable of intricate tasks, such as delicate surgical procedures and helping those with prosthetic limbs to regain near-normal abilities. IT professionals, such as information research scientists, work with engineers to program, maintain, and improve robotic capabilities. Imagining and creating new uses that travel far outside the box is an exciting prospect.

Meanwhile, computers continue to grow smaller and smaller, and the field of nano-technology is the next frontier. Nano-robots are of particular interest in the medical field. Efforts to store data on a single atom and to develop quantum computers for practical use have already yielded successful results, if very early ones. Imagine programming or maintaining data on an atom; it requires thinking small and huge at the same time.

Disaster Safety: Extending the idea of technology and IT professions is the development of resources for use in disaster situations where humans may not have access. The award-winning Autonomous Learning Agents for Decentralised Data and Information Networks project, otherwise known as ALADDIN, in Southampton, England, has developed and implemented autonomous devices, or agents, capable of functioning without human control. They can act singularly or communicate with other autonomous agents to carry out various tasks.

The project tested weather sensors; rescue simulations that evaluated communication capabilities; and evacuation scenarios that aimed at moving people safely out of disaster areas. The ALADDIN devices have been used in limited real-world situations already, although more testing is needed. This high-level work is groundbreaking; it could also save a lot of lives.

Earning an information technology degree can open the door to a world of possibilities. The most unique and exciting careers typically require additional education; however, taking the first step sets the rest in motion.

by Philip J Reed of the Westwood College Information Technology Degree Program

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