CompTIA, a very well known member organization in the IT sector for the last 28 years, has been watching the IT industry to provide high-quality perspective on business trends in that sector. The company recently released its IT Industry Outlook for 2018. Here are the key items that those working in the IT arena should be aware of as they look at their approach to the coming year. These 2018 technology trends can shape how you find talent -- or how you find your next job.
The IT industry will grow globally by 5% in 2018. IT executives contend that customer demand, along with adoption of newer technologies across the sector, will drive this positive movement. IDC has stated that global spending on IT is expected to exceed $4.8 trillion this year, with $1.5 trillion of that being spent in the U.S. market. In terms of global markets, the U.S. is tied with Asia for first place -- each accounts for 33% of global IT spending -- while the European market accounts for 22% of all IT spending.
Industry executives are feeling confident about technology hiring and budgets -- but the executives in the biggest companies feel the most optimistic. As the CompTIA report states, "Executives from large and medium-size technology companies are most bullish on the state of the market and their companies’ prospects. The smaller and micro-size firms, which may be more sensitive to local conditions or have a less diverse base of customers, lag slightly, but are still solidly positive."
CompTIA projects the global IT industry will grow at a rate of 5.0% in 2018. The optimistic upside forecast is in the 7.2% range, with a downside floor of 2.8%.
Small businesses remain skeptical about technology ROI. When CompTIA surveyed SMBs, the level of satisfaction with current IT offerings was mixed. Eighty percent of SMBs have at least one IT pro on staff, yet 75% routinely use a technology partner, such as a solution provider, VAR, or MSP, at least occasionally during a typical year. Among this segment, 20% are frequent users of technology partners, while 23% are regular users. CompTIA offers this interpretation: "It should be noted, among the segment of SMBs most satisfied with their IT, there is a much higher utilization rate of technology partners. This should not necessarily be interpreted as causation, but it is reasonable to assume that businesses that recognize when they need help, and are willing to pay for it, tend to be in a better place with their IT than those that underinvest."
In other words, a higher investment in tech yields a higher ROI.
Among SMBs that perceived low ROI on their tech spending, the following were cited as factors: Ongoing maintenance costs, required upgrades, burdens on staffers' time, high upfront costs relative to long-term savings and poor user experiences.
The IT job market is expected to continue to add jobs, albeit not like it used to. There are two components to the tech workforce. First, you've got your tech industry employees -- such as software developers or network administrators, as well as non-technical positions, such as sales, marketing and HR. They make up 6.1 million jobs in the U.S., with 900,000 of those jobs added since 2009.
But what to really pay attention to is the 5.4 million tech occupation employees. These are the people who work as technology professionals across the U.S. economy, and their ranks increased by 2.1%, or nearly 110,000 net new jobs, over 2016. (Note that technology now permeates every industry sector, so it's more difficult to precisely quantify the tech workforce.)
While job postings are down from their high point of 2015, the data indicates the number of employers actively recruiting for tech talent remains in a healthy range. And CompTIA provided a list of emerging technology job categories to keep an eye on:
- Machine learning trainer / scientist
- AI developer
- Industrial IoT engineer
- Geospatial and mapping specialist
- Blockchain developer / engineer
- Digital designer
- Cybersecurity architect
- Penetration tester
- User experience (UX) designer
- Solutions architect
- Full stack developer
- Technology project manager
- Robotics engineer
- Drone operator / technician
You can read more of the report on 2018 technology trends -- including economic breakdowns and detailed survey results -- at the CompTIA website.