Internet Services

Internet Services

Industry Outlook

The future is bright for Internet services and security companies. Improved and new technology is making the Internet easier, faster, and more convenient, driving people to rely on it for more and more services. A growing number of individuals and households turn to online providers for news, streaming movies and television, streaming music, health information, shopping, gaming, and many other activities. Smartphones and tablets are putting the full power of the Internet into people's hands almost anywhere they go, giving them the option to stay connected almost 24/7.

Technical workers can expect strong growth and good job opportunities in the future. Employment for Web developers, information security analysts, and software developers is predicted to grow much faster than the average for all careers through 2028, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Software developers will experience a 21 percent increase in employment, and job opportunities for mobile application developers will be excellent. In 2019, Morgan Reed, president of ACT | The App Association, noted: "In just over 10 years, the app economy grew from a handful of app developers to a $1.3 trillion industry across the United States ... but we are facing a shortfall of skilled workers." ACT noted that more than 500,000 unfilled computing jobs existed nationwide in 2019.

As more and more activities are performed online and people shift toward mobile computing platforms, security of personal information will remain a high priority. Securing the ever-growing array of data available online, however, will be a challenge. As a result, employment of information security analysts is projected to grow 32 percent through 2028.

Top content producers, such as popular bloggers, musicians, game designers, and columnists, will be in demand for their name recognition, which drives traffic and advertising revenue. Digital music continues to grow in popularity. As the 2020s began, more people were streaming music instead of downloading it. In its Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2019–2023, PwC revealed that revenue from recorded music would surpass the live music category for the very first time in 2019. Additionally, podcast advertising was expected to exceed $1 billion that year. Compared to $56.74 billion in 2019, digital music revenues were projected to total $65.17 billion by 2023.

Opportunities will exist for entry-level writers, editors, photographers, videographers, and others, but these jobs may come with low pay and limited job security.

Online gaming will also grow as the number of broadband users rises, microtransaction technology (financial transactions involving small amounts of money) makes it easier for users to play casual games and social network games, and smartphones and tablets become the most popular method of play.

Search marketing, an already lucrative sector, will grow as companies seek an extra edge by improving the search rankings of their Web sites. The need for better online security also will intensify. IDC reported that global cybersecurity spending would total $103.1 billion in 2019 and grow at a compound annual rate of 9.2 percent through 2022, reaching $133.8 billion.

In 2018, an estimated 2.65 billion people used social media worldwide, according to Statista. By 2021, this figure was expected to reach 3.1 billion. Overall time spent on mobile apps continues to skyrocket. One of the main revenue streams in social media is advertising, which is also expected grow, driving demand for digital advertising and marketing workers. Along with a wide range of projected growth, the Internet industry is also expected to become increasingly competitive for workers even as more job opportunities appear. Fast-changing technology means workers must stay on top of new developments, continually update and upgrade their skills, and be prepared to adapt to new platforms, programs, and consumer needs.

The coronavirus pandemic, which started in late 2019, impacted the Internet services industry. A decline was projected in business investment in Internet service providers for 2020 due to the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic. This decline was expected to be offset, however, by the rapid growth in the number of people teleworking because of business lockdowns and social distancing requirements. More people working from home increased the demand for Internet services throughout 2020 and into 2021. Growth in the Internet services industry is expected to continue in 2021, as the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine accelerates and the economy rebounds. According to Statista, there are currently about 284 million Internet users in the U.S. In 2020, nearly 86 percent of the U.S. population accessed the Internet from anywhere and on any device, and this number is expected to reach 87.2 percent by 2025. The research group IBISWorld predicts that there will also be sustained growth through 2025 in this industry due to regulatory overhaul and extensive private investment in upgrading existing data networks.