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Job Horizon


Finance, Wall Street, and Consumer Retail Need Your Expertise
By Frank McCoy
Apr 16, 2014, 18:28

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STEM leaders and rising stars like you understand how Information Technology has transformed the capture, processing, analysis and communication of data both up and down organizational hierarchies and horizontally across related sectors.

Let’s drill down and review information technology’s impact on finance, Wall Street, and consumer retail, and spotlight trends that should inspire STEM students in 2014 and beyond to enter those sectors.

Finance

Whether as an individual accountant or at a hedge fund, the hyper-speed of automatic transactions via shared service centers and outsourcing makes business both more efficient and precarious.

Of course, while increased speed and data accumulation doesn’t alter finance’s basic tools, techniques, or functions, it does require that organizations hire information technology specialists for other purposes. These include technologies to control employee use of personal and company digital devices, strengthen cyber security, and create and monitor cloud-based platforms.

The importance of IT’s relationship to finance is evident. In her 2000 paper, “Catalytic Impact of Information Technology on the New International Financial Architecture,” University of Washington School of Law Professor Jane K. Winn called financial markets “the first organized, global information markets operating through networked computers."

Her analysis is borne out in sources including a Demand Media report on the importance of information technology in finance that spotlighted information technology’s historical impact on that vital sector.

• 1960s: the New York Stock Exchange cut trading days as trade volume exceeded the ability to process it manually.
• 1970s: electronic checking and credit card processing spread nationwide as computer technology, local networks, and electronic data processing firms shared information.
• 1990s: Banks harden cyber security technology, begin using web-based commercial transactions, and by 1998 “more than $50 billion worth of transactions” are done online.
• 2007: Murithi Mutiga, an editor at the Nation Media Group in Kenya, reports that in that year his country launched the world’s first mobile banking system. In 2012, 18 million Kenyan web banking subscribers processed transactions equal to $11.5 billion of the country’s $37 billion GDP.
• 2013: Gartner, an IT research and advisory firm, wrote that global mobile payment transaction values would be $235.4 billion. A year earlier, payments equaled $163.1 billion. The number of global mobile payment users was projected to be 245.2 million in 2013, up 45 million from the previous year.

Where are the IT Finance/ Wall Street jobs?

At the least, to operate, maintain and upgrade an information system for a financial firm requires hardware and software, technology vendors, employee training, technicians, cyber security experts and systems engineers. Plus, those STEM graduates with M.B.A. degrees will rise higher as they can speak money as well as talk tech.

Beyond traditional public, private and non-profit finance-related brick-and-mortar organizations, would-be finance and information technology professionals should consider reviewing and contacting the World’s Best Internet Banks.

In 2013, Citi won multiple honors in the Best Corporate/Institutional Banks category, including the Best Overall Internet Bank award. Wells Fargo was also recognized.

Consumer retail

How will Google, Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Tesla, and other digitally-innovative companies transform consumer retail? Here’s the lowdown.

Last year, J.P Gowinder, a Forrester Research vice president and principal analyst wrote a commentary for Forbes. It was titled Google is Poised to Revolutionize Consumer Retail and Gowinder said that “consumer retail stores act as de facto extensions of the information technology department in today’s BYO (Bring Your Own Office) world.”

What does that mean and how will it impact your job opportunities?

At Google, which is engaged in a steel cage battle with Apple for customers and prestige, CEO Larry Page is considering opening physical stores to advertise and sell its products: Android-based Nexus smartphones, Google Glass, Chromecast, Chromebooks, and maybe even self-driving cars someday.

If so, Google, which opened a Chrome Zone retail store in London in 2011, will join Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung, which has created space in other stores for its products, and will offer customers access to their product and services. Today’s STEM students will be the ones to support tomorrow’s ecosystems for those companies.

Subhede: Consumer IT and Engineering Jobs

How might Google’s potential venture affect STEM students? A Morgan Stanley retail study reported that, “Various Google job postings seek engineers to ‘develop, test, and deploy retail Point of Sale systems’ (POS), requiring skills such as ‘experience spanning any of the top tier platforms including: IBM, NCR, Retalix,’ various retail POS systems.”

Google’s competitors will also need people STEM majors to collect, analyze, use, store and protect the digital consumer data they gather via social networking and from point of sales.

The Mountain View company will lead the pack in how it uses everything it learns from the billions of daily searches users conduct for something to do, watch, or listen, and uncover new and personal ways to contact and/or influence customers before, during and after they visit a Google store. Cross-collaboration with Android-reliant companies is also likely, and every step of the process will demand information technology expertise.

Comments by Arvind Desikan, head of consumer marketing at Google UK, are the flashing “go” sign. In 2011, Desikan said of the Google Chrome Zone store, “ It is our first foray into physical retail. This is a new channel for us and it’s still very, very early days. It’s something Google is going to play with and see where it leads. We found anecdotes that when people tried the device and played with it, that made a huge difference to their understanding of what the Chromebook is all about. We want to see whether people understand what this device is all about and monitor their reaction when they try it out."


IT, the Internet of Everything, and your employment

Older people may find the Internet of Everything (IOE) to be potentially intrusive. Younger ones will only consider it, and the billions of sensors and devices in it, as the seamless support system of their daily life.

At networking giant Cisco Systems, it “defines the Internet of Everything as the networked connection of people, process, data, and things.” By 2023, the company predicts that net profit of that sector may be equal $14.4 trillion.

The IoE, says Cisco, will be driven by “connecting the unconnected”—people-to-people, machine-to-people, and machine-to-machine—via the Internet of Everything , and $3.7 trillion in net profit will derive from customer experience, much of which will be connect to retail.

STEM professionals will be necessary to support, expand and protect the Internet of Everything, as
The Economist Intelligence Unit, and Information Week magazine predict that information technology’s impact on the IoE and consumer retail will:

• Create ever-larger waves of consumer-generated data
• Produce a torrent of consumer-directed products and services
• Force companies to interconnect networks of products, support and services
• Increase demand for technology infrastructure to store and protect data
• Raise the bar for corporate skill development
• Lead to accepted interconnectivity and data-sharing standards
• Spike demand for employees with multi-disciplinary experience in sensors, networking and analytics
• Unlock new revenue streams from old products
• Inspire innovative working practices or processes
• Transform existing business models and strategies
• Increase the need for technology infrastructure, energy, supply chain, logistics, data, and asset managers
• Make graduates with internship experience in the above areas more attractive.
• Boost visibility of prospective hires with STEM and business backgrounds
• Increase hiring of business intelligence designers who can “turn all of that information into stuff the executive suite, marketing, and other non-technical business units can actually understand and use”
• Spike demand for DevOps Experts who can build and maintain cloud infrastructure and mobile apps


Radio Frequency Indentification (RFID)

Key components for effective use of the Internet of Everything are sensors such as Radio Frequency Identification Devices. The following are January 2014 Careerbuilder.com RFID-related jobs found on Careerbuilder.com (search word: RFID). They all require experience, and that is what internships are for, but recommended STEM degrees for entry are noted below.

• Real-time system location architects: B.S. degree in computer science
• Wireless engineer: B.S. degree in business or information technology
• Application Engineer Project Manager: B.S. degree in electrical engineering/computer science
• Electrical Design Engineerg: B.S. degree in electrical or electronic engineering
• Senior Software Engineer – Cryptography: B.S. degree in electrical engineering/computer science

Last year, Consumer Goods Technology (DGT) published two articles that point where information technology and consumer retail may be going. CGT distilled trends within a McKinsey & Company study and reported that consumers will someday have “the world’s largest store in every pocket.”

• During the past 10 years, CGT said that e-commerce grew 18 percent annually and in 2013 was equal to 8 percent of total retail sales. If as predicted, U.S. mobile smart phone penetration rises from today’s 40 percent to 60 percent, digital business will skyrocket and that will increase demand for STEM graduates in the sector.

• Based upon McKinsey’s study, CGT noted that marketers now spend more than 50 percent of their ad budget on digital advertisements.

• Based upon the pattern set by Amazon, someday consumers may expect every retailer to ship items as quickly as it does. McKinsey projects that the top 150 metropolitan statistical areas, home to almost 75 percent of Americans, will soon have same-day delivery.

• The McKinsey report also stated that increasing numbers of Americans are conducting consumer retail business with alternative companies such as craigslist, eBay and Etsy, which has almost one million small businesses. And each of those entities needs professionals to keep business churning profitably.

All of which should bolster the confidence of STEM students at they know these and other organizations need your expertise, and someday you will become their leaders.

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The development of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers is integral to America's advancement. Career Communications Group publications--US Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine, Hispanic Engineer & Information Technology magazine and Women of Color magazine--offer a blueprint for continued growth and success in STEM fields by highlighting progress and people at all stages of the STEM pipeline; from the college student taking his first engineering courses to the senior executive managing the projects that will change the ways we live.

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