Three ‘New Collar Jobs’ in the Age of Automation

IBM CEO coins the phrase for well-paying positions in emerging tech fields that don’t require a bachelor’s degree

10 March 2017

It’s no secret automation is going to take over many tasks and even entire jobs in the coming years. But that doesn’t necessarily mean workers will become displaced. IBM CEO Ginni Rometty argues there will be a third type of workforce—somewhere between blue and white collar—what she calls “new collar” jobs. Those positions will require vocational training or online courses on technical topics instead of traditional university programs, she says, in such fields as big data, cybersecurity, and health care.

IBM says it plans to hire 25,000 employees for new collar jobs in the next four years. Some of those new hires are certain to come from P-TECH vocational schools, which combine a high school degree with an associate degree and a focus on technical fields. Many of the graduates go on to work for IBM, according to a Business Insider article.

Stanley Litow, president of the IBM Foundation, says in the article that it’s in everyone’s interest for companies to bridge the gap between higher education and the working world. Part of the effort is helping students from low-income households get jobs in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields.

In response to Rometty coining the “new collar” term, career website Monster came out with a list of technical jobs experiencing a shortage of workers, all of which can be done by people without a university degree. Here are a few positions the site considers in demand.

  • CLOUD ADMINISTRATOR

    This role could be filled by someone who has completed certification programs or is even self-taught, according to Monster. The job involves developing, maintaining, and deploying cloud-based services.

    High-tech companies including Amazon and Microsoft offer certification programs specific to their cloud products. Some of the jobs require proficiency in Python, Ruby, or another computer language; however, those also can be learned through online courses or technical workshops. You can start training with the IEEE course Introduction to Data Storage and Management Technologies.

  • CYBERSECURITY ARCHITECT

    Symantec projects there will be 1.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2019. In fact, IBM and other tech companies are creating entirely new roles in the field. One job that does not require a four-year degree is cybersecurity architect—someone who designs, builds, and oversees network and computer security within an organization. The position might include performing vulnerability testing and security assessments, and developing requirements for a company to better protect its systems.

    Training in IT and security technologies from a well-known program or online school is key, as is knowledge of networking services and protocols and network design principles, according to Monster. The IEEE course Cybersecurity: Protecting Yourself and Your Data could be your first step. You can also contact an IEEE content specialist to learn new strategies for preparing your organization in case of a cyberattack.

  • SERVICE DELIVERY ANALYST

    This role can vary greatly depending on the industry and organization. The analyst, whose main role is to determine how services are provided to end users and how the process can be improved, is likely to rely on software designed to track all aspects of the service. The software might collect data such as costs for services. To prepare for this job, workers need vocational training and hands-on experience with the software.

    The IEEE Computer Society offers several software engineering courses. Related courses can be found on IEEE edX, the massive open online course platform, and in the IEEE eLearning Library.

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