January 10, 2021
Given the change of course that has happened in the world, we wanted to provide expert opinions on what aspiring graduates can do to start off their careers in an uncertain economic climate. We wanted to know what skills will be more important, where the economy is doing relatively well, and if there will be any lasting effects on the job market.
Companies are looking for candidates that can handle the new responsibilities of the job market. Recent graduates actually have an advantage because they are comfortable using newer technologies and have been communicating virtually their whole lives. They can take what they've learned and apply it immediately.
We spoke to professors and experts from several universities and companies to get their opinions on where the job market for recent graduates is heading, as well as how young graduates entering the industry can be adequately prepared. Here are their thoughts.
New York University
Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringWebsite
Shivendra Panwar: Jobs in areas like AI/ML, 5G/6G, and AR/VR will continue to grow, but now on an accelerated schedule due to the need exposed by the pandemic. Our graduates have had no problems getting jobs, especially in companies that have done well in the pandemic, like Amazon.
Shivendra Panwar: In my opinion, mathematical skills, coding skills, and the ability to communicate effectively and succinctly are an unbeatable combination. Some awareness of business issues is essential. Being aware of larger societal issues, including ethics, is very important.
Shivendra Panwar: The usual tech hot spots cited are California, Texas, and Massachusetts, in that order. But New York City has become a hot spot in the last 10 years. Many people do not know that there are more engineers in the greater NYC metropolitan area than Silicon Valley! Washington D.C. and its environs are good for tech jobs, but often require U.S. citizenship or a green card.
Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA)Website
Dan Brown: Today's grads should recognize their credentials reflect something that goes way beyond specific knowledge -- the ability to adaptably learn new things. That is a core skill they should continue to nurture in professional life, hopefully with the support of an employer that also recognizes and appreciates this. In addition, knowledge of how various technology standards work and how they are developed is not usually something learned in a university classroom, but understanding the role they play in creating market opportunities presents a differentiating opportunity. It's important to note, the need to manage and maintain physical infrastructure will never go away, but as more and more of that infrastructure becomes virtualized, software skills and knowledge of remote management systems are skills that will be increasingly in demand.
Dan Brown: Some tech and knowledge economy workers often have the luxury of being remote, while others are hands-on with the physical ICT infrastructure, wherever it may be. That said, specific ICT hot spots include Northern California's Bay area, Texas, the Eastern Seaboard, with special mention of the DC area as the site of the new Amazon HQ2, as well as the Dulles Technology Corridor, which has become known as "data center alley," where an estimated 70% of internet traffic flows in and out. That said, there are plenty of other cities described in Steve Case's The Rise of the Rest, where access to technology, education, and capital exists along with a much lower cost of living than in traditional tech hubs. I cannot see us as a society ever going back to pre-covid ratio of in-person to remote work, but my sense is that it would be helpful to being recruited remotely if you are connected to an online professional community like TIA's LinkedIn Group.
Dan Brown: The advent of 5G will open many doors over the next 5 years, enabling new possibilities as well as handling today's applications with greater speed (and lower latency and jitter) and higher reliability. LEO satellite constellations will offer ubiquity of connectivity access worldwide and help connect the next 3 billion global internet users. Autonomous vehicles, drones, and AR/VR will also expand new possibilities. I envision telecom and ICT standards, regulation, and self-regulation to evolve beyond the current focus on compatibility, performance, and security to better address sustainability, privacy, and impacts on the holistic health and productive functioning of individuals and society at large.