3 Reasons Chicago Is Becoming America’s Newest Tech Hub

Ian Clark, Head of Americas at cloud staffing firm Frank Recruitment Group, breaks down the key reasons IT professionals are moving to The Windy City.

tech jobs chicago

When you think of the world’s great tech cities, Chicago may not always be top of your mind, but its transformation over the last decade makes it impossible to omit from any discussion about the best American cities for IT professionals.

The global skills gap in technology means that professionals hold most of the cards when it comes to choosing how and where their career pans out, but Chicago has a lot to offer to make sure people want to be there.

Of course, there must be opportunity, and there’s plenty of that. Tech giants such as Google, LinkedIn and Salesforce all have offices in the city, which is partly why CompTIA named Chicago as one of the largest tech employers in the US last year.

Here are the top three reasons tech professionals are packing an extra layer and heading to the Jewel of the Midwest:

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A Guide to Changing Careers from Military to IT

A technical staffing advisor with 20+ years of experience lays out the path for military veterans to successfully transition to a career in information technology.

tech careers for military vets

If you’re nearing the end of active service and looking for a fast growing, high paying career with a bright future, you may want to consider a job in IT. Given that many of the skills and qualities you developed in the military apply to roles in information technology, a career in IT could be your best move.

Why IT? Let’s start with demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employers to add about 668,000 computer and information technology jobs by 2030 to reach a total of 5.7 million jobs. In fact, businesses would like to hire more tech workers but they can’t find qualified candidates — especially developers, engineers and cybersecurity pros. Even so, U.S. IT job growth is still in record territory with no signs of slowing down.

Then, there’s the money. The median salary for Computer and Information Technology Occupations is $86,320 as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than double the $41,950 median wage for all jobs nationwide. What’s more, the military or a prospective employer may even pay for IT training and certifications that will further enhance your skill set and market value.

There’s also a huge range of entry-to-mid level jobs that are appropriate for veterans who are just starting their civilian careers. Ready to get started? Here’s how veterans can navigate the transition into employment in the IT job market.

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Required Skills for Cyber Security Professionals

Required Cyber Security Skills

The demand for dedicated cyber security talent is higher than ever before, and it's unlikely to decelerate any time soon. Many companies are feeling the pressure from an ever-growing threat landscape, and are compelled to seek out professionals who can help protect the organization from harm. According to a study conducted by the Center for Cyber Safety and Education and (ISC)², the workforce shortage in the cyber security industry is projected to hit 1.8 million by 2022. There's no better time for professionals in the cyber security field to hone and expand their skill set, becoming a valuable asset in the process.

When it comes to developing these skills, it helps to view them in the context of cyber security specialties. While job roles and day-to-day responsibilities often overlap, and professionals must adapt to new knowledge all the time, these specialties can still help an aspiring cyber security professional focus on a group of skills that are most appropriate for them.

The following are in-demand cyber security specialties and the skills you need to excel in each one:

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Top IT Skills In Demand for 2012

A new survey from Computerworld indicates the most in-demand IT skills for 2012.

IT skills in demand 2012

Computerworld polled 353 IT executives about their technology and hiring plans for 2012 in its annual IT forecast survey. The results provide valuable insight into which IT skills and expertise are likely to be the most sought-after in 2012. Companies will make significant investments in their IT workforces to bolster business in the year ahead; nearly 29% of respondents plan to take on new IT staffers through Summer 2012 – a whopping 45% increase in IT hiring expectations over last year's poll. The survey also reveals that companies will seek to gain a competitive advantage through technological innovation, not just “keeping the lights on,” as they plan next year’s IT hiring.

Here are the top IT skills in demand for 2012:

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Best Programming Languages to Learn in 2020

A breakdown of the top 8 programming languages you should learn right now based on workforce demand, hiring trends, and earnings.

This page will be updated annually with the most desirable programming languages and current statistics.

best programming language to learn

If you're new to the world of software development, figuring out the best programming language to learn can be daunting. There are literally hundreds of programming languages out there. Thankfully you don't have to learn them all.

With that said, there’s a number of programming skills and platforms that a young developer should study and master, and choosing the right ones can shape your career. Luckily for you, we've assembled this list of the best programming languages to learn - based on workforce demand (gauged by the number of coding tests DevSkiller's clients ordered for job interviewees), salaries according to Payscale.com, and emerging trends in software production and hiring. We've included data and statistics from the DevSkiller 2020 IT Skills Report on the top eight programming languages you should learn right now.

Here are the best programming languages to learn in 2020:

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A Successful Career in IT Requires Meeting Expectations on Both Sides

Experienced tech consultant and enterprise architecture PhD, Eetu Niemi, explores the importance of setting and meeting realistic expectations in the IT job market - both for employers and employees.

IT Career Expectations

  • Every organization wants to profile itself as modern, innovative, financially solid, a forerunner in diversity - and generally the best place to work. Naturally, not just anyone can work in such a great place, so also the positions have matching requirements. Nothing less than a world-renowned expert will do. You must have 20 years of relevant work experience, proficiency in all the technologies the recruiter can think of, a doctorate - and of course, be less than 30 years old.
  • To have a chance of being picked, potential employees must do even better. They must take every achievement in their resume to at least the power of ten. “Implementing a SalesForce SaaS solution” turns into “leading strategic transformation on the enterprise level.” If their work history has unexplainable gaps, they need to invent “jobs” to fill them. Acting as a board member in your in-law’s startup or a neighborhood nonprofit will do nicely.

As a result, we arrive at a match made in hell. New employees will get fed up when they discover the truth behind clever employer branding. Still, they will need to suffer in a stressful or tedious job long enough not to ruin their resume. Employers will get disappointed when new employees cannot deliver to the standards they led the employer to expect. There is a thing called a probationary period - and it works both ways.

Still, you can be different! Let’s take a look at an alternative approach:

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Top Job Skills You Can Learn Without a College Degree

Top Job Skills Without College

As the economy diversifies, so do the choices you face when you're preparing to enter the workforce. A four-year degree is no longer a must for many lucrative positions, nor is it an automatic ticket to career success. And with the cost of a traditional college education continuing to rise, student loans are becoming more of a burden, as well.

In short, it pays to look around at the growing number of alternatives that can jump-start you on a career path. Specialized professions in the culinary arts, sewing, carpentry, and money management (everything from credit to budgeting to investing) offer a wealth of opportunities through affordable certificate programs and apprenticeships.

But nowhere are the opportunities greater than in the IT field, which is good news because you can pursue training and certification in much of this space online. This has become even more crucial during the pandemic, as distance learning has become the norm in many places.

And if you're trying to save money (and who isn't?), here's some good news: There are numerous free online courses to explore, and plenty of places to get started.

Follow these steps to gain real-world expertise without a college degree:

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Online Learning Tips: How to Succeed in Virtual Classes & Degrees

Business and education leaders share tips and tricks for overcoming the challenges of distance learning and getting the most value from your online education.

online learning tips

For many of us, the global coronavirus pandemic has made in-person learning a temporary impossibility, but even with the promise of a vaccine, the shift toward learning online is likely to be a permanent trend.

Beyond its current expedience, there are many advantages to pursuing a training or degree program online, including the ability to study at your own pace and schedule, practicing self-motivation, gaining expertise in the increasingly valuable array of digital collaboration tools, and saving money versus traditional classroom programs.

However, online learning, be it in front of your computer or on a mobile device, presents numerous challenges, from the lack of interaction with fellow students, to potential struggles with motivation, concentration, and time management.

For a deeper look at the challenges of distance learning and how to conquer them, we asked industry experts in business, education and technology for their best tips and tricks for online learning. Here’s what they had to say.

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Online Tech Schools

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SNHU provides affordable, online degree programs that are recognized by employers, certifying bodies, and higher learning institutions nationwide.

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Take your IT career to the next level with online certificates and degrees from Purdue University Global, an accredited, public, non-profit leader in higher education.

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IT Boot Camps

Gain the skills to pursue sought-after IT careers in just 24 weeks. Available boot camp topics include Coding, Cybersecurity, UI/UX Design & Data Analytics.

These technical boot camps from top universities are offered as a combination of self-paced online content and live, instructor-led virtual classes.