How To Pick The Right Career (Part 2)

In part 1 of this series I showed you how to research government data to discern if the job you are qualified for (or studying to get a degree in) will be around later. In this post, I am doing more or less the same thing, but from a computer science perspective. In other words, if you are a Programmer, Software Developer, Software Engineer, Software Analyst, Hacker, whatever and you are considering a new certification; I suggest that you do a bit of research first before plopping down your hard-earned dollars. Let me share with you a couple of really cool resources. is a site that (among other things) plots job trends. Here is a quick note about what they say they do.

The US job index is based on an aggregation of job data from thousands of online sources. This includes jobs posted on corporate web sites, job boards, recruitment agencies, online classifieds and newspapers throughout the country.

Check out what they think are among the hottest IT Certifications these days. (See below) The obvious winner is “java.” If I were a programming whiz, I would get me some of that because according to these stats, Java is where its at.

Demand for Software Skills in usa

java,c#,c++,perl Jobs in usa

  • Graphjava monthly job percentages have decreased by 3.71% .
  • Graphc# monthly job percentages have decreased by 16.85% .
  • Graphc++ monthly job percentages have decreased by 20.00% .
  • Graphperl monthly job percentages have increased by 0.26% .

View the java,c#,c++,perl job trends in usa at


But I would be remiss if I relied too heavily on one resource, so let’s look at a couple of other things first. Namely, the Tiobe Programming Index. This is their claim to fame…

The TIOBE Programming Community index is an indicator of the popularity of programming languages. The index is updated once a month. The ratings are based on the number of skilled engineers world-wide, courses and third party vendors. The popular search engines Google, MSN, Yahoo!, Wikipedia and YouTube are used to calculate the ratings. Observe that the TIOBE index is not about the best programming language or the language in which most lines of code have been written.

According to their stats, Java is the most popular programming language with the C programming language becoming a close rival.


So, if Java is so popular, is it really worth getting a certification? I mean, what is the return on investment? Hmm… According to, the average salary of someone skilled in Java is $91,000.00 and even with the recession being how it is, jobs for people skilled in Java is trending upward. (See below)


Okay, so I am not an expert in information technology, but I would say that its a safe bet to put some of your eggs in the java basket. So what do you think of my logic? Make sense? Leave me a comment and let me know…

How To Pick The Right Career (Part 1)

If someone were to ask me, “Jim, what is the right career for me?”

I would probably shrug my shoulders and say something like, “Umm… I don’t know. Probably the career that will be there next year and for years to come.”

What do I mean by that? Simply put, industries are hot one minute and then laying off the next. You can give your life to a particular trade and before you know it, you are replaced by some form of technology. How can you safeguard against that? Well, one way is to put your tax dollars to work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a government agency that studies and measures what is going on in the world of labor. One of the studies it focuses on in particular is Occupational Projections. In other words, they see what has been hot and by using statistical data, they make their best guess on what will be hot later. Let me show you how it works.

Step 1: Click this link and A) select a search method. For our demo, I choose to search occupations by keyword. For giggles, I choose “recruiter.” With that done, B) I click “continue.”

Step 2: I get a list of occupations to refine my search further. I choose the first on the list – “Employment, recruitment, and placement specialists” and then I click the “Search” button. (See the *asterix?)

What is the right career for me?

Step 3: I review the data and make a judgement call. This is what the data is telling me.

  • In 2008, there were about 207,900 Recruiters employed and by 2018 there will be about 265,900 thousand Recruiters employed.
  • Between 2008 and 2018 there will be about a 27.9 percent increase in Recruiter jobs
  • In 2008, about 1.6 percent of Recruiters were self-employed
  • Between 2008 and 2018, there will be about 112,300 job openings for Recruiters
  • In 2008, the average annual wages for a Recruiter was $45,470.00 which was rated “High” when considering salaries of jobs overall in their survey
  • It also states that a Bachelor’s Degree is the most significant source of education or training for this role. (Although I would debate that.)

How to pick the right job

So there you have it! Do a search on the career you are currently in and then in careers you may have had a bit of curiosity for. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the average salary of the job I am considering fitting my lifestyle (or at the least, the lifestyle that I want)?
  • Will there be a significant number of jobs for me over the next few years?
  • If I ever wanted to make this job a self-employed business, what are the chances of that?
  • If a college degree is the most significant source of training, am I willing to devote time towards that goal?
  • BONUS QUESTION: If I am entering college now, am I studying (and spending my parents money) on something that may be difficult to get a job for later? What are the chances that I will get a high ROI on my degree?

I hope this gives you some good food for thought? I look forward to reading your comments below.

– Jim Stroud