Molly directs this would-be programmer to find out more about specialization by checking the Bureau of Labor Statistics site.
Dear Molly: I am currently a student in a technical college, pursuing an associate degree in computer programming. Are there many jobs in this field? If there are, what are your predictions for the next 10 years, and is there any more training that I might need to obtain before pursuing a career in information technology?
Molly says: I wish I could give you accurate predictions about the next 10 years–that would make me a very valuable writer and analyst indeed! I do know that as long as computers exist, something will be needed to make them do what we want them to do. That’s what computer programming is all about–so there is a long-term future in that field.
Since you’ve invested less than two years in your career thus far, you may not have broad knowledge of the computer field and the wide variety of jobs it encompasses. While you’re finishing your degree, I suggest you spend some time studying the IT world and the work computer programmers do.
Depending on what you find, you may want to specialize in any of several career tracks that branch off from a thorough knowledge of programming. If you make your choice before you graduate, you can plan to find a job that helps you pursue this goal. You can also plan your ongoing education around this goal, so you’re learning with a purpose in mind.
To find out more about the many different jobs you might pursue once you have your degree, start with the occupational outlook material on the Bureau of Labor Statistics Web site. Search for programming jobs, read that material, and then follow the on-site links to find information on other, related jobs that use programming skills.
Molly Joss also writes the monthly Career Advisor column for ComputerUser magazine. Ask a career-related question at email@example.com.