When it comes to a sizzling job field, the computer and tech arena is hard to beat. Employment in computer and information technology will grow 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations, predicts the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook.
Helping drive the growth is a greater emphasis on cloud computing, the collection and storage of big data, more everyday items becoming connected to the internet and the continued demand for mobile computing, the report says.
For an appreciation of the size and variety of this employment field, take a look at big job boards such as Glassdoor.com, Indeed.com and Monster.com. Look too at Dice.com and CrunchBoard.com, the two big technology-specific job sites. You'll see many thousands of postings in too many categories to count.
"For someone in the second half of their career, looking for ways to transition into retirement, or to find better work-life balance, technology jobs are a good option," says Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of FlexJobs, a job board that specializes in part-time and work-from-home positions. Many of the jobs have options for telecommuting, part-time hours and flexible schedules.
How to get in? It will of course help if you're already working in some way in a tech or related field. But you can also make the jump if you're willing to learn new skills and enjoy working with computers.
Here are five well-paying tech jobs that may be for you:
1. Quality assurance specialist
The nitty-gritty: No stone goes unturned here. This is a position for the detail-oriented worker with a discerning eye. You're responsible for making sure software products meet quality compliance regulations and standards through periodic reviews and testing. You may also be the conduit for customers complaining about problems.
Annual pay range: $36,302 to $82,233 for all fields of quality assurance, according to PayScale, an online salary, benefits and compensation information company.
Qualifications: A bachelor's degree in business administration or industrial engineering can be a prerequisite, but requirements vary by company. Certification is often not required but can't hurt. The American Society for Quality offers credentials as a certified reliability engineer, certified quality engineer and certified quality auditor.
2. Technical support specialist
The nitty-gritty: Nerves of steel, a calm, reassuring voice and tech smarts are must-haves for this troubleshooting position. Not everyone is hardwired to calm a frustrated client when a system crashes.
Employment of computer support specialists is projected to grow 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, according to the BLS. Help-desk technicians often work for support service firms that contract with clients that don't have the financial resources to afford their own IT departments. Lower-level tech support jobs can be found in call centers.