The need for jobs related to weather technology is growing

As students head back to school and explore career paths, or are on the brink of job hunting, one thing to seriously consider is the growing demand for non-meteorologist careers related to weather. The convergence of extreme weather conditions that are increasingly disrupting operations and putting safety at risk, coupled with the availability of big data and advanced computing power, creates a huge demand for people to design and implement innovative digital solutions.

In the last 20 years, there have been 241 separate weather and climate disasters costing more than a billion dollars each and we continue to see that trend continue with this year’s extreme floods, droughts and intense heat waves. The importance of providing hyper-relevant weather information in real time is a key factor in predicting and managing these extreme weather events, but these jobs are not just for meteorologists.

The current job market for meteorologists is quite competitive, with US universities seeing nearly twice as many meteorology graduates as entry-level positions. Recent research suggests that it is becoming more difficult for young meteorologists to find a traditional meteorology job, but the growth of weather-related tech jobs is increasing in the public and private sectors. So fast, that it’s more of a challenge to fill specialized data science and engineering positions than it is to fill a forecasting role.

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 than around us. In fact, NOAA is looking to increase its operating budget by 20% this coming year, with most of the additional funding 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 electronics technicians who work with computers, servers, telephones, radio systems, automated surface observing systems, radar or other equipment. to provide critical support to meteorologists and weather-related 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 about protecting lives and property, although that will always be a key function of the industry. Companies are turning to enterprise weather services to help 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 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 have not traditionally used weather data for decision making in the past, but are now finding opportunities to increase revenue and reduce costs with this data. For example, by combining weather data with purchasing trends and consumer demand data, one supermarket chain learned that even a small change in temperature can result in a significant change in what people buy, and improved its prices as a result. revenue by modeling this impact and managing inventory accordingly. I have recently written several articles highlighting the use of AI in climate risk management and how climate analysis affects climate change roadmaps. This high level of intelligence requires the combined skill sets of meteorologists who can understand, model and interpret data and data engineers who can design, process and deliver insights through accessible and agile methods.

So if you’re curious about weather and interested in helping develop innovative technology that provides critical insights into the atmospheric forces that shape our weather and climate, this may be the industry for you.

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