Top Jobs For STEM: Big Data, IT Product Management - InformationWeek
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3/23/2015
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Kevin Casey
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Top Jobs For STEM: Big Data, IT Product Management

Today's skills development in these fields could mean tomorrow's payday, according to a recent report.
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(Image: Geralt via Pixabay)

(Image: Geralt via Pixabay)

Hyper-Growth In 7 STEM-Related Fields

Doubtful about growing demand for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills in the global job market? You should probably skip a recent report from advisory firm CEB that predicts up to 19 million new tech- and engineering-related jobs will be created worldwide during the next 15 years. Not exactly a small number, even if the reality falls a few million short.

That's optimistic news for current and future IT pros who keep their skills sharp and plan ahead: Demand for what you do, generally speaking, is pointing skyward, especially in seven core technology and engineering functions that we're featuring here. Better yet, that demand is being driven by multiple sources, according to CEB managing director Andrew Horne, who works regularly with the firm's CIO clients.

"Growth in all seven of these talent areas is driven on both the sell side by vendors and buy side by corporate IT organizations," Horne told InformationWeek in an interview. In other words, there's good news whether you want to work for, say, the IT shop strategically moving certain applications to the cloud, or for the provider building and supporting those cloud-based applications and services.

It probably shouldn't shock you that big data tops CEB's list. What might at least raise an eyebrow, though, are the numbers behind that: CEB's report said the big data talent pool will increase more than 500% by 2030, which would make it the second-most popular STEM field if the prediction holds true.

"Over the last few years we have seen a shift in corporate IT budget allocations away from traditional process automation systems, such as ERP, toward spending in areas such as analytics," Horne said. "This is because at more progressive companies many of the most valuable opportunities for process automation have already been exploited -- there are only so many ways you can use ERP -- and because changes in technology are creating new sources of data and new ways to get value from that data. This shift in spending is accompanied by changes in hiring as companies need more experts in areas who can structure and interpret big data."

Yet another on the seven fastest-growing fields might not sound as obvious: Product management. It sounds like something marketing should be responsible for, right? Not so in a business world where technology increasingly is the product -- and where IT needs to take the steering wheel as a result. Moreover, the product management approach -- which Horne noted also falls under the moniker of "service management" -- is also increasingly deployed in terms of internal operations and how IT works with the rest of the corporate structure.

"In IT terms, a product or service combines all the technology, data, processes, and people within IT required to enable a specific business capability," Horne said. "By offering products and services, rather than technologies, IT makes it easier for the rest of the organization to understand what they get from IT, and creates an environment when product plans can be quickly updated as business needs change. As a result, product managers and services managers are very much in demand."

Indeed, CEB expects demand for IT product management pros to increase more than 70% during the next 15 years. Believe it not, that was only good for sixth on the top-seven list. These areas are "hot" for a reason. And the growth will be global, from China to the US to Mexico to India. Though the pace of that growth will vary by region, the arrows in CEB's report all point up.

Read on for the rest of the list, and CEB's predictions for the seven fastest-growing STEM fields.

Kevin Casey is a writer based in North Carolina who writes about technology for small and mid-size businesses. View Full Bio

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kstaron
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kstaron,
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3/30/2015 | 2:52:06 PM
Next Gen Jobs
Now I want to ask my elementary school daughter "Hey Sweetie, you wanna be a mechanical engineer when you grow up right?" It's not surprising that STEM jobs are on the rise as more and more things require computers to operate. Let's hope these predictions are on the mark so the next generation of kids doesn't have to move back in with thier parents after racking up college loans and not having any work available. now excuse me while I go talk up math and computer jobs to my little one.
asksqn
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asksqn,
User Rank: Ninja
3/28/2015 | 10:21:44 AM
For sale by owner
If the CEB's jobs outlook prediction is as accurate as the rosy forecasts that have been sugar coated by the BLS dot gov and/or economists published in the mainstream media since the subprime meltdown in 2008, then the US economy will actually have enough full time jobs to accommodate anyone who wants one.  And I have some beautiful beach front property in Nebraska to sell to anyone who is interested.  
shamika
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shamika,
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3/27/2015 | 11:34:32 PM
Re: Tob Jobs For Stem: Big Data, IT Product Management
Electrical and mechanical engineering will definitely have a future. They are the base for IT development. 
zerox203
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zerox203,
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3/23/2015 | 2:36:17 PM
Re: Tob Jobs For Stem: Big Data, IT Product Management
On the one hand, considering that the report is meant to cover all of STEM (which I take to mean everything from scientific research up to applied physics), it may be somewhat surprising just how much of it seems to intersect corporate IT - from the hardware design to the project management, these are mostly things connected in some way to that world. On the other hand, when zeroing in on IT, there are definitely still some surprises on what is (and isn't) on this list. The product management is definitely one, purely because, as you mention, I don't tradtionally think of it is an IT job. You make a strong case for it, Kevin, but I'm still surprised to see it here over other choices like traditional (non-cloud) software development.

I also expected some combination of mobile, networking/wireless, and virtualizion specialists to make the list. Is product management here  because it was projected to have higher growth by CEB, or because you thought it was more important to highlight? Electrical and mechanical engineers are not so much surprising in their presence, but maybe in the sheer extent of their growth - and, now that I think about it, their broadness (along with hardware design) may account for a lack of some categories people might have expected to see, in that they cover those jobs as well. I tend to be skeptical of projections this far out, but this is definitely a worthy snapshot of years to come in IT.
Stratustician
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Stratustician,
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3/23/2015 | 1:21:02 PM
No huge surprises here
Nice to see Product Managers will still have some steady work in the IT arena, not to mention those with Big Data and Cloud skillsets.  Personally, I am really excited to see how the next generation of IT folks tackle designing new devices, especially in the IoT space. 
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