Employees are leaving their profession to enter tech-driven fields, says report

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      True to the oft-touted phrase “in the future, every company will be a tech company”, technology is infiltrating ever more sectors.

      As the industry continues to grow, so does the demand for digital skills. Anecdotal evidence has suggested that the number of tech-driven roles on job boards is proliferating, and, in response, a large percentage of people are willing to jump into the industry.

      That conclusion is supported in educational establishment Brainstation’s 2019 Digital Skills Survey. The study identifies digital trends in order to better understand the day-to-day experience of thousands of professionals across six disciplines and job functions—namely data, design, development, product management, marketing, and executive leadership. Its analysis demonstrates how individuals are switching careers to keep pace with the increasing demand for tech-literate employees.

      Take, for instance, marketing. Mondo's annual Tech and Digital Marketing Salary guide reported a “huge demand” for digital marketing professionals, with a 70 percent increase between 2016 and 2017. As that trend looks set to continue, the report suggests that digital marketing roles will likely be filled, at least in part, by professionals transitioning from other fields. According to Brainstation’s marketing respondents, there was an almost even split between those who started in the industry (47 percent) and those who did not (53 percent), showing that nearly half of individuals have entered into the data-driven profession from a different background.

      The contrast is even more stark with those working with cleaning up and analyzing raw data. Demand for data scientists, the report says, is expected to rise by 28 percent in the next two years, with a projected 2.7 million new data jobs. Of those currently in the profession, 79 percent of respondents did not begin their career in data, and—a testament to how fast the job market has moved—65 percent have been working in the field for five years or less.

      The same is true of those employed as developers: the people who design and create computer programs. The sector is still comparatively young and has exploded exponentially in recent years, which is reflected in the Brainstation survey’s responses. The workforce, it says, is made up of a lot of new talent, with 58 percent programming for five years or less. Highlighting the popularity of bootcamps and retraining courses, 55 percent began their career in a field other than development.  

      Of all six fields analyzed by the report, only one—design—was composed of a majority of employees who had spent their whole career in that sector.

      “The findings point to a dramatic shift across industries, which really highlights the digital transformation initiatives companies are undertaking around the world,” says Jason Field, Founder and CEO of BrainStation. “They also underscore the growth of fields like data science, user experience design, and product management, as well as the gap in skills needed to meet that demand. There are, in fact, a number of roles being introduced that did not even exist a few years ago, and the results point to this trend continuing, which puts additional importance on continued learning and skills training.”

      The full report is available here.

      Kate Wilson is the Technology Editor at the Georgia Straight. Follow her on Twitter @KateWilsonSays