Originally Posted by bluemagic
What is the future outlook for the following? (mostly on ease of getting a position)
IT (get a certification at the local community college/state u?)
^ Any other areas I missed?
My work is in web development so it's an odd mix of advertising, software development and business. It's flexible in that I can work for a Fortune 500 company, a small agency where everyone wears flipflops to work, freelance for small businesses, consult for large ones, build a product/app, etc.
Downsides are that there's no real barrier to entry (licensing, certs, degrees, etc) so the industry is a free-for-all. It's highly dependent on reputation and experience (that quickly becomes obsolete). You're only as good as your last project.
On the plus side you can earn as much as you have the balls to ask for/sell, and you can practically write your own job description (provided you can find a client who needs your combination of services).
On the industries above:
IT: Low level is drying up (outsourcing, shift to the cloud, automation) but the mid and upper ends are doing great. People skills and communication are way more valuable than implementation skills. There's major shortages of highly skilled people (both on the tech and management sides). Most of the knowledge is self-taught (as the industry moves so fast) but my compsci-related degree is definitely useful for getting a foot in the door, and the fundamentals help you learn and adapt very quickly. In some ways technology is getting easier, in many ways it's getting way more complex. Certs are OK for entry level jobs and for entry level clients but won't help with management positions or teach you anything you can't learn yourself. Certain high-end certs are highly valuable (SQL DBA ones and Cisco ones) but I'm guessing you're talking more about A+/MCSE.
Most tech people seem to start in tech support or freelance, then climb the ranks as an implementer before making a jump to management around the middle of their career. You can choose to stick at the implementation end if you enjoy it, but there's definitely a ceiling and it's tougher to make the big $$. Changing company every 2-3 years is a good way to jump up the ranks/pay grades.
Advertising: I work with a couple of agencies and they're always doing well. Again, low level is tough, high level (conceptual thinking, branding etc) is hard to find and very well compensated. Account exec is a good way of getting into the industry; you handle the communication with the client and pass it on to the internal team. It's a good way of getting to learn the processes. I know a number of account execs who have gone on to start their own agencies. Agencies tend to scale up and down with the economy (ie. if you're not essential you get cut at the first sign of trouble), they're the first to cut (as their clients stop spending) but the first to recover (as clients want to ride the wave back up).
Healthcare: One of my clients is a very large hospital chain. They are turning record profits, never stopped hiring and are continuing to expand. They're not particularly worried about healthcare reform (which looks like it's stalled for a few years anyway). Ground level medical (nursing, techs, etc) market is flooded thanks to for-profit diploma mills, but marketing/admin side of things seems to be going great. Usual path is to enter as a marketing rep (see account exec above) and climb the ladder. Healthcare marketing is definitely a specialized industry.
Once America completely stops manufacturing anything all that's going to be left is selling things to each other, and making sure we are well enough to consume them... from that perspective, healthcare marketing is a winner