NYU Tandon graduates are entering a tech job market that looks better than ever

As technology companies begin a hiring surge in New York City and around the country, our graduates find themselves in an enviable position.

As the pandemic begins to wane, and people begin to resume a life that more closely resembles pre-pandemic life, new opportunities are presenting themselves. Nowhere is that more true than the tech sector. Venture investment is at record levels, and big tech is doubling down on New York office space. Since the beginning of the pandemic, tech companies in New York City have hired for more positions than other large tech areas including Silicon Valley. Billion dollar companies located in New York City are still going public at a rapid pace. The opportunities here have never been stronger.

The one thing these companies need is new talent. In a survey of tech and finance executives earlier this year, at least half of the respondents plan to increase technology hiring by up to 20% this year compared with last year. And that drive for talent gives recent graduates in certain sectors their pick of jobs. 

Tandon students are well-prepared to enter these job markets, and often command higher salaries than students from other schools. With Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering students across the country earning an average starting salary of slightly under $70K, for example, Tandon’s average CBE grad fields an entry-level offer of more than 80K. Similarly, an average entry-level computer scientist takes home $81K, while those graduating from Tandon top that by some $25K, earning starting salaries that average $106K.

“Our students are perfectly placed to take advantage of the booming tech scene here in Brooklyn and New York City,” says Jelena Kovačević, Dean of NYU Tandon. “They exhibit the expertises of their chosen fields, and combine that with the kind of street smarts picked up here in the heart of Brooklyn. It's a mix of attributes we call NYU Tandon Made.”

The two biggest hiring sectors are two of the most exciting, especially for students at NYU Tandon: cybersecurity and AI. More than 70% of executives said they are seeking to fill cybersecurity positions. Almost 65% said they plan to fill AI jobs. But about a quarter of companies expect to have difficulties finding candidates for cybersecurity jobs, and 28% predict AI candidates will be difficult to find, according to the poll. 

Those skills are highly specialized, often requiring advanced degrees, and competition among employers is fierce. For NYU Tandon students, the school's robust programs and opportunities in AI and cybersecurity are key parts of their education, and are able to bring those skills to a market in New York City that has never looked better for new employees.

Cybersecurity concerns

Back in May, a hacker group caused Colonial Pipeline, which controls nearly half the gasoline, jet fuel and diesel flowing along the East Coast, to shut down operations. It was one of the most sophisticated and high-profile hacking attacks in memory, costing the company millions of dollars and forcing them to pay off the attackers to resume business as soon as possible. Worries of gas shortages gripped parts of the country, and fuel infrastructure failed to meet the demand of individuals looking to hoard gas.

But most hacks don’t make international news. Companies understand that they’re susceptible to exactly this kind of attack, even at a smaller scale. That explains the rush to hire more cybersecurity experts to protect their systems from nefarious actors.

Cybersecurity-related jobs paid $149,000 on average in New York last year, up from $136,000 a year earlier, according to data from Hired and Vettery, affiliated job-listing sites. Financial firms are especially eager to protect their investment information, but specialized Cybersecurity firms are struggling to keep up with the demand for companies trying to secure their infrastructure from hackers. The field will only continue to grow, as companies realize that the fully-digitalized world crystallized by the pandemic will need safeguards put in place, no matter how big or small their bottom line is.

Building the future of AI

If automation is the future, one expertise is poised to take advantage: AI. As more companies and fields begin to take advantage of new innovations behind AI and machine learning, they’re looking to bring in people who know their stuff, and can modernize business practices at a rapid rate.

Tech goliaths like Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google may be competing for top AI talent, but that’s hardly the only option for graduates with specialized degrees in AI. JPMorgan Chase, the city’s second-largest employer, is looking for hundreds of AI professionals. Demand for artificial intelligence experts is surging as the economy opens up and companies expand their use of the technology to enhance the customer experience, increase sales and improve operations. 

While once AI was used by tech companies almost exclusively, the market has opened up to huge sectors of the economy, including retail companies. Home Depot, for example, is using machine learning to analyze online customer activity and to make online product recommendations based on the shopping patterns of other customers. If shoppers, for instance, buy floor tiles, a Home Depot AI system will suggest tools and supplies to help them install the flooring. This kind of data analysis is becoming so widespread that AI experts can find a place in companies they may have never given a passing glance.

There were 37,000 AI job postings in the first quarter of this year, up more than 45% from the fourth quarter of 2020. This competition is a good thing for workers. New York tech workers skilled in machine learning earned $160,000 on average last year, a $15,000 bump from 2019.  And with work-from-home options opening up, the opportunities for AI experts continue to expand.