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August 19, 2014 at 1:00 AM

Are you in the pipeline for an in-demand career?

With fall right around the corner, it’s time to ask that age-old question: Will you be better off in two to four years than you are today? No, I’m not talking about elections. I mean something far more important: A college major that might actually land you a job.

At this time of year, when incoming freshmen get ready to start college and undeclared sophomores have to choose a major, students have some tough choices to make as they balance their class choices between what interests them and what can lead to a career.

Recently, a little help came from the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County (WDC) in the form of its biennial Talent Pipeline Study, this time focusing on the catch-all category of Information & Communication Technology, or ICT. For each occupation studied, the report analyzes the economic scope of the occupations, the demand for local jobs and the impact of these jobs on the labor supply.

By crunching these numbers, the WDC has created a short-range crystal ball to predict how certain ICT occupations will fare between 2016 and 2021. Here are some of the report’s findings to help students choose which path of study they may find the most rewarding.

Tech still reigns. According to the council, the ICT sector is expected to grow by 1.6 percent to 2 percent from 2016 to 2021, more than the expected rate of growth for all jobs (1.3 percent). More than 6,200 new job openings are forecast to become available in the broad categories of “computer and mathematical” and “arts, design, entertainment, sports and media,” the study found.

The power of mobile. The supply of systems software programmers, developers and analysts will continue to outstrip demand during this five-year period. But the continued rise of mobile devices is expected to drive a vigorous demand for app developers (469 new jobs per year over five years), market-research analysts (175 jobs) and web developers (40 jobs).

Advanced degrees not necessary. While the highest-paying jobs will still require a four-year bachelor’s or graduate degree, there should still be decent annual demand for jobs that require only a high school diploma or an associate’s degree. Those include user-support specialists (283 jobs per year), business-operations specialists (94 jobs) and services sales representatives (74 jobs).

For more details on the latest Talent Pipeline Study, please visit the reports page of the WDC’s website to download a PDF.

Randy Woods is a writer and editor in the Puget Sound business publishing arena and a veteran of the local job-search scene. Email him at randywoods67@gmail.com.

More in Work Life Blog | Topics: career planning, education, technology, training

Blog contributors

Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.

Randy Woods Writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.

Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.

Former contributors

Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant.

Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."

Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.

Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.

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