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Want a Tech Job? Differentiate Yourself

Want a Tech Job? Differentiate Yourself
Credit: Bacho/Shutterstock

Looking for a job in tech? You might be in luck. A new report by IT industry trade association CompTIA shows that tens of thousands of new tech jobs are popping up all across the country.

According to CompTIA's Cyberstates 2015 report, the American tech industry added 129,500 new jobs between 2013 and 2014, bringing the total number of jobs in the industry to nearly 6.5 million, or 5.7 percent of the U.S. private sector workforce. This is good news for both the economy and job seekers looking for tech positions.

"The U.S. tech industry continues to make significant contributions to our economy," Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO of CompTIA, said in a statement. "The tech industry accounts for 7.1 percent of the overall U.S. GDP and 11.4 percent of the total U.S. private sector payroll. With annual average wages that are more than double that of the private sector [overall], we should be doing all we can to encourage the growth and vitality of our nation's tech industry."

While tech employment grew in the majority of states (38) over the last year, some states fared better than others. CompTIA identified the following states as having the largest net gains and/or employment rates in tech jobs.

  • California – 32,900 jobs added; 1.1 million employed
  • Texas – 20,100 jobs added; 581,200 employed
  • Florida – 12,500 jobs added; 307,100 employed
  • Massachusetts – 8,700 jobs added; 286,300 employed
  • Michigan – 8,100 jobs added; 196,005 employed
  • New York – 5,700 jobs added; 346,500 employed

CompTIA's findings support recent data published by ZipRecruiter on the best cities to find a tech startup job: Nearly half of the 25 cities on the list, including seven of the top 10, are located in these six states. [The Best Tech Skills to List on Your Résumé]

The Cyberstates report also found the tech industry segments with the most jobs added: IT services (63,300); R&D, testing and engineering services (50,700); and telecommunications and Internet services (21,100).

This nation-wide employment growth is promising, but it doesn't mean the tech talent wars are over. The industry is still highly competitive, and job seekers and employers alike need strategies to face the industry's ever-evolving demands, said Tim Herbert, vice president of research and market intelligence at CompTIA.

"The rapid pace of innovation can lead to a shortage of qualified workers until training and education programs catch up," Herbert told Business News Daily. "This scenario is especially prevalent in emerging areas [that] require a range of new skills, such as big data. Eventually, the pool of qualified, experienced workers grows, but it takes time."

Herbert also noted that employers need to be willing to pay for top tech talent. Workers with highly coveted skills know what they're worth, and they're not afraid to ask for it.

"With a strengthening economy, more workers may press current or prospective employers for higher wages," he said. "Employers unable or unwilling to pay higher wages may interpret it as a talent shortage, when in fact, it's a disconnect between what they want to pay and the going rate for the skills and expertise they seek."

For tech job seekers, the key to landing your dream job is proving that you have the differentiating factors an employer is looking for.

"To complement job experience and education, candidates with relevant IT certifications demonstrate to potential employers a mastery of specific skills, such as cybersecurity, or a willingness to proactively engage in skills development on their own, such as in areas of cloud computing," Herbert said.

CompTIA research has consistently shown that employers also want soft skills from the tech workers, like project management, problem-solving and teamwork skills.

"Technology is no longer a backroom supporting function, but now a front and center strategic priority for many businesses," Herbert said. "Tech workers must be able to demonstrate a broader array of skills."

Nicole Fallon

Nicole received her Bachelor's degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University. She began freelancing for Business News Daily in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. Nicole served as the site's managing editor until January 2018, and now leads Purch's B2B copy and production team. Reach her by email, or follow her on Twitter.