The Job Market

The software industry is constantly changing and accelerating, there are many high-paying jobs but NOT enough workers. As students, you need to read more about these job market trends to explore opportunities then select the relevant courses to develop proper skills. Since many “Hot Jobs” are new and not available in universities, but they are being taught online (Massive Online Open Courses or MOOCs) by professors from Top schools such as Stanford, MIT, Harvard etc. If you are willing to put in some efforts to learn them, you will have the skills that are in high demand. According to the U.S. government’s industry report, the following are the best jobs between 2018 to 2025:

  1. Machine Learning Specialist: One of the highest paid jobs with an average salary of $118,000 (2017 Data.) All top companies from Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon are looking for a machine learning specialist to support their  product innovations. If you want to become a machine learning specialist, I need to have good programming skills in Python, Java and a strong foundation in statistics and math. There are several excellent online courses in this field from Coursera, edX, Udemy as well as courses from Microsoft, Google, Amazon.
  2. Data Specialist: One of the highest paying jobs with an average salary of $115,000 (2017 Data). This is the most exciting jobs of this decade according to Harvard Business Review and it has the highest demand across the industry. All companies, large and small, need Data Scientist (Ph.D. level) Data Analyst (MS level) and Data Engineer (BS level). To work in this field, you need strong programming skills in Python, Java, Statistics, and basic knowledge of the business. Since it is a relatively new, not many schools are teaching it, I recommend that you take online courses from Coursera, edX, and Udemy to develop the needed skills and get a job in this very high demand field.
  3. Embedded Software Developer: This is a very specialized job needed in robotics and manufacturing automation areas. The average salary is $112,000  (2017 Data).  To work in this area, you need to have strong programming skills in C++, Linux, and C. You also need to take a few courses in Introduction to Robotics, Automation, and Microcontroller available online from edX, Coursera.
  4. Mobile Application Developer: The average salary of a Mobile developer is around $98,000 (2017 Data). If you want to become a Mobile App Developer, you can to have good programming skills in Java, C++, Swift, and have knowledge of Android or iOS (Apple). There are many mobile app courses available from Apple, Google and MOOCs.
  5. Graphics/Design/Programmer: This is one of the interesting jobs in the technology industry because it requires a lot of creativity and artistic skills in combination with programming skills. The average salary of a Graphics Programmer is around $95,000 (2017 Data). A majority of people who work in this area are Art students who have the graphics skills and take additional programming courses (Java, C++ etc.) to be Graphic artists. Most computer games companies are hiring them for the design of their games. There are several online courses available from Udemy, Coursera, and edX.

Learning independently from Online courses is NOT easy, even for the most motivated students. According to several studies, about 82% of students who enrolled in MOOCs quit after a few weeks. However, if you are willing to do that, you will need to set your learning goals and knowing exactly what you want to do with the learned skills. (i.e., how much time you are willing to put in your efforts every day. How much time you are willing to do the homework to develop the skills. What will happen if you do not? Do you have enough time to spend on the efforts?)

Image: Internet

You need to understand that as Self-learners, you are responsible for your own time and efforts. To be successful in MOOCs, you must be able to do a self-evaluation of your learning and monitor your own progress. This year, as new first-year students are coming to my Machine learning class, several of them already took online courses to prepare for the rigorous study at Carnegie Mellon. They told me that they are prepared and readied to learn more and be successful.


  • Blogs of Prof. John Vu, Carnegie Mellon University
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