Many recent college graduates – and friends’ children – ask me what are the best career areas within IT. Here are my thoughts on the four areas that offer the greatest opportunities for personal satisfaction and professional advancement.
Security
From Target Breaches to Russian Cyberattacks to the growing attendance at Angelbeat regional seminars and Black Hat national conferences, IT security remains a rapidly growing field. Criminals no longer need to rob a bank; they just hack into corporate servers. Digital information is as valuable, if not more, than gold.Cloud

Putting your infrastructure and storage in the Cloud is the de facto IT architecture for any startup, and increasingly used by enterprises of all sizes. But there are legitimate security concerns, strategic tradeoffs/limitations and financial issues. It is not always better and cheaper to go to the cloud. Understanding this dynamic, and being able to design the appropriate private/public hybrid cloud platform for an organization, will be a very useful skill for many years to come.

Apps

We live in a world of apps, with “sharing” apps – Uber for cars, Airbnb for travel – the latest buzz. Understanding the digital marketing required to drive tens of millions of users, plus the underlying technology needed to support a rapidly changing and dynamic user base (see cloud above), is a career path pursued by many recent college grads.

Big Data

Driven by the Internet-of-Things, Machine-2-Machine Communications, and Website/Social Media analytics now available by device/operating system/geography/wireless carrier/time-of-day, Big Data is here to stay. Medium-to-Large organizations (this isn’t a priority for small companies) face many challenges in capturing, analyzing and then taking action based on this data. If you have the skills to help in this area, then your career is bright. Quite honestly being recognized as the Hadoop expert at work (Hadoop being the open source software platform that is emerging as the de facto standard) will result in much higher compensation than trying to be yet another Cisco certified network engineer.