The need to fill weather-related tech jobs is growing

As students return to school and explore career paths, or are about to seek employment, serious consideration must be given to the growing demand for weather-related careers without being a meteorologist. The convergence of extreme weather events increasingly disrupting operations and endangering safety, along with the availability of big data and advanced computing power, is creating high demand for people to design and deploy digital solutions. innovative.

Over the past 20 years, 241 separate weather and climate disasters have cost more than $1 billion each and we continue to see this trend continue with this year’s extreme floods, droughts and intense heat waves. The importance of providing hyper-relevant, real-time weather information is a key factor in predicting and managing these extreme weather events, but these jobs aren’t just for meteorologists.

The current job market for meteorologists is quite competitive, as US colleges see almost twice as many meteorology graduates as there are entry-level positions. Recent research suggests that it is becoming increasingly difficult for young meteorologists to find traditional meteorology jobs, but the growth of weather-related technology jobs is increasing in both the private and public sectors. So fast that it is more difficult to fill qualified data science and engineering positions than it is to fill a forecasting position.

The weather industry employs computer scientists, programmers and application developers to use technology to make detailed and complex weather information available to everyone, from professionals to the public, helping us all to be more aware of the weather around us. In fact, NOAA is looking to increase its operating budget by 20% next year, with most of the additional funds going to climate research and supercomputing.

The National Weather Service is one of the largest employers of meteorologists, and of its more than 4,000 employees, only about half are meteorologists. The other 2,000 employees work in a variety of careers, including many technical positions such as information technology specialists and electronic technicians who work with computers, servers, telephones, radio systems, electronics systems, etc. automated surface observation, radar or other electronic equipment to provide essential support to meteorologists and weather programs. Other technical staff maintain websites, develop software and write computer programs.

In the private weather sector, jobs for engineers, software developers, application developers and other technical positions also continue to grow, as the weather business is no longer just there to protect lives and goods, although this will always remain a key function of the industry. Businesses use enterprise weather services to make agile and confident business decisions using a variety of analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence and cloud-based systems to forecast the weather and understand the weather. business impact.

According to NOAA, 76% of global organizations plan to increase or maintain their investments in big data over the next few years. These companies did not traditionally use weather data to make decisions in the past, but are now finding opportunities to increase revenue and reduce costs through this data. For example, by combining weather data with shopping trends and consumer demand data, a grocery chain learned that even a small change in temperature can cause a significant change in what people buy, and has therefore improved its revenue by modeling this impact and managing inventory accordingly. Recently, I have written several articles that highlight the use of AI in weather risk management and how weather analysis affects climate change roadmaps. This high level of intelligence requires mixed skill sets of meteorologists who can understand, model and interpret the data and data engineers who can design, process and deliver the information through accessible and agile methods.

So if you’re curious about the weather and want to help develop innovative technology that provides critical information about the atmospheric forces that shape our weather and climate, this may be the industry for you.

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