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The 6 hottest new jobs in IT

Bill Snyder | March 8, 2016
These leading-edge jobs could prove to be the most lucrative careers in tomorrow’s tech.

GPU cluster engineer

GPU computing improves application performance by offloading compute-intensive portions of the application to the GPU, while the remainder of the code still runs on the CPU. That advantage is key to companies like Facebook, China’s Baidu, and Experian that deal with enormous data sets.

Facebook’s Big Sur runs the social networking company’s machine learning servers and is heavily reliant on GPU clusters, which can be more efficient than conventional CPUs for machine learning and other tasks. Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer says the GPU-based system is twice as fast as conventional solutions.

Experian, with its massive data stores, also uses GPU clusters, but because it is a new technology, finding engineers with GPU experience is difficult, says Experian’s Haller. “Provisioning clusters is one thing, but writing code to run on it is another. You can download software that does it, but that’s inefficient,” he says.

In something of a new technology twofer, Ford Motor is looking for GPU engineers to work on its driverless car program. The list of necessary skills and duties fills an entire computer screen, and the minimum skills needed include: “1+ years [experience with] GPU, parallel programming tools and language extensions etc.,” as well as a broad array of programming skills, among them C/C++, Perl, Python, Java, OpenGL, OpenCV, CUDA, MATLAB, and more.

You can learn about recent developments in GPU computing by visiting the GPU Computing News group on Facebook.

Virtual reality engineer

Virtual reality is no longer the sole province of game makers. That means someone with the right experience and skills can write a ticket to places as diverse as The New York Times, one of the first newspapers to begin using VR (and Google Cardboard) as a storytelling tool, or startups such as Lucid VR, a developer of 3D cameras.

Here’s a list of skills Lucid says you’ll need: Objective-C, C++, Computer Vision, C, computer graphics, mobile application development, OpenGL ES, C#, OpenGL, DirectX, WebGL, and digital image processing. There are more VR-related jobs posted on AngelList and you’ll find postings for a few VR engineers by CyberCoders, a staffing agency in Seattle.

Don’t overlook established companies working on mobile if you’re interested in VR. Samsung, for example, recently announced two new phones, but what drew more attention at the Mobile World Congress was its Gear 360, a camera for recording virtual reality videos for its Gear VR headset.

Although investment banks frequently overhype new technologies, it’s worth noting that Goldman Sachs predicts that virtual reality will generate $110 billion compared to television’s $99 billion in 10 years. Even if that estimate is too bullish, it is clear that serious money is pursuing virtual reality technology and there will be opportunities for skilled IT workers to exploit.


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