The exponential growth of the digital economy and rapid developments in computer software and IT has provided tech professionals with a bountiful supply of lucrative job opportunities during the last decade.

Every modern enterprise needs technologists to function due to the critical importance of digital systems, devices, hardware and software, and the reliance on cutting edge tech is only set to increase in the coming years.

There is a vast array of job roles available in technology. The UK head of cyber security at CGI, Dr Andrew Rogoyski, recently claimed that anyone desiring a high demand, secure and lifelong vocation should opt for a career in cyber security, but this is essentially true for any skilled profession within the tech industry. From games development and computer forensics, to web design and software engineering, there are numerous areas to work in and it offers high rates of pay. Fortunately, tech in the North East is currently thriving and reports indicate that it could now be worth £5.7 billion to the region.

Newcastle is the central hub for tech businesses but there are clusters of digital activity across the entire region with notable communities in Gateshead, Sunderland and Northumberland among others. Data shows there are nearly 27,000 people in digital employment in the North East and software development, advertising and marketing, health tech and gaming are leading the way in terms of technology jobs for talented workers.

Education and qualifications

Completing a college course or university degree and earning tech qualifications is the first step to securing a job within the industry, however, there is no definitive route to success. For example, it is possible to get into coding and web design by using your own initiative and accessing online tools and courses and building a portfolio of your work. Any higher education will make it easier though as many employers prefer experience and believe it shows a commitment to the field.

You may also want to look into other professional qualifications, which are generally focused on a specific subject such as programming. Once you have decided what area of tech you want to concentrate on, you can opt for a qualification that will help you in that particular field. A recent study by Spiceworks found that more than half of IT pros believe qualifications can increase both job opportunities and pay rates so it makes sense to continue your education even after attaining a degree. There were an average of 163,000 vacancies for digital specialists during every quarter of 2015 so it pays to double down on a niche or particular skill set.

Those entering the IT sector can expect many self employment opportunities and it is not unusual for tech workers to embrace a contracting career immediately. If you work for yourself, you will be able to choose job roles, deploy your skills as you see fit and enjoy varied working environments. Using a global recruitment company is the most effective way of finding contract technology jobs.

Networking is perhaps the most overlooked aspect of career building in tech. Communicating effectively across social platforms, email, formal writing and verbally can really provider professionals with a significant advantage during their careers. Employers also favour candidates with impressive soft skills if they have an abundance of similarly qualified professionals to choose from.