Looking for a leg up in the tech-job market?

Technology Management or Industrial Engineering might be just the ticket

Exterior of Dibner Building with an overlay of interconnected nodes

Browse any major news source in the last several months and you could be forgiven for thinking that the sky is falling on tech fields: feature stories have been trumpeting downturns, layoffs, bursting bubbles . . . even, in the case of a particularly histrionic reporter, metaphoric blood on the streets of Silicon Valley.

But go behind the blaring headlines, and the picture becomes much more nuanced and optimistic. 

Industry Professor Pavlos Mourdoukoutas, who oversees NYU Tandon’s Management of Technology master’s program, and Industry Associate Professor Tom Mazzone, who directs the school’s Industrial Engineering program, weigh in on the matter and why tech degrees are still an excellent investment.


Q: What is behind the panicked headlines about the tech landscape right now?

Mourdoukoutas: During the COVID-19 pandemic, we lived our lives increasingly online. We worked, learned, shopped, and socialized remotely, and tech giants like Google and Microsoft naturally benefitted. In fact, their revenues increased by some 40% in a single year. They capitalized on the situation by going on a hiring spree to meet the demand of the times, even though the pace of that growth could not continue once people started returning to pre-pandemic behavior. They figured that the greater the number of employees, the better the impression they were making on Wall Street. What the papers are characterizing as a downturn is actually a necessary course correction.  

Mazzone: The fact is that there have been a lot of layoffs at high-profile tech companies, but it’s important to keep in mind that half of all tech jobs are not actually at those companies. It’s a cliché by now to say that every job is a tech job, but it’s true. Graduates with tech skills are needed at hospitals, financial institutions, government agencies, manufacturing facilities, and in every other sector you can think of. Skilled workers who were caught in the lay-offs moved on to different sectors or smaller tech companies. Not everyone has to work at Google or Meta. There are jobs out there for everyone. 

Q: But why take a chance on earning a degree that might not win me my dream job?

Mourdoukoutas: If your dream job has always been to work at Google’s headquarters, those particular jobs might be in relatively short supply, but if you cast a wider net, you’re going to find something fulfilling, where your talents are valued and you can make an impact. 

Mazzone: It’s important to keep an open mind: any job can be a dream job if you’re doing something you love and making a good living at it. One recent survey ranked the best jobs in the U.S., based on work environment, flexibility, and other factors, and eight of the top-10 were tech positions of various types. Tech jobs were also among the highest-paying on the list, with most coming in with median annual salaries of well above $140,000. 

Q: So why should I consider going on to get a graduate degree?

Mazzone: An M.S. in Industrial Engineering can be an important complement for engineering students who are interested in leveraging their core skills and discipline-specific knowledge to take a leadership role in driving meaningful change. Organizational change requires understanding the particular organization's culture and overall processes, and that’s not an HR function, as many people believe.   

Industrial engineers determine the most effective ways to design, manage and improve systems — people, processes, materials, information, and energy — to make a product or provide a service. So whether you’re a civil engineer, electrical engineer, or one of any other engineering majors, having an industrial engineering background makes you exponentially more valuable across a wide range of sectors and settings. It’s a natural progression for all engineering disciplines, and Tandon industrial engineers work in consulting firms, financial services, health care, government, transportation, construction, social services, operations, and supply chain management, to name just a few. So a mechanical engineer who earns an advanced degree in industrial engineering could be working to design and build not just a single machine but an entire facility.

Going back to the news, you probably read a lot about supply chain issues during the pandemic; almost any company needs supply chain expertise to survive. I’ll give you one interesting anecdote to illustrate: During the recession of 2008, many pundits predicted that no one would buy luxury products, yet Apple thrived. Much of that success stemmed from the fact that the company promised innovative products on a regular basis and delivered on that promise like clockwork. That was possible only because Tim Cook, the company’s head, is a supply chain expert, able to see the big picture, work effectively with partners, and move nimbly. It’s all in the industrial engineering.

Mourdoukoutas: As the job market becomes more competitive and bachelor's degrees become more common, many students are choosing to extend their studies and pursue master's degree programs. The difference between a bachelor's and a master's degree as far as job opportunities after graduation is tremendous. At Tandon, if you know you want to pursue a master's degree within your major, combined and accelerated bachelor’s-and-master’s-degree programs save you time and money: time because you can work concurrently toward your bachelor's and master's degrees in a condensed time frame, and money because it is much less expensive than taking the traditional route of a four-year bachelor's degree followed by a two-year master's program. 

If you are an engineering major, an accelerated degree with an M.S. in Management of Technology has additional benefits. It differentiates you from all other engineers in the marketplace by labeling you an unconventional engineer – a vibrant professional capable of working at the intersection of innovation and business development. One of the reasons the Management of Technology program had a 30% increase in the number of applicants this year is that our graduates are uniquely employable.

Management of Technology

Learn more about the Management of Technology MS

The Management of Technology Master of Science Degree program is offered online and in person.
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Learn more about the Industrial Engineering MS

The MS in Industrial Engineering program teaches you to search for similarities in concepts, laws, and models across disciplines