At the GSMA Connected Women Event on October 10-11, I had the thrill of combining two of my favorite things – being in New York and speaking about women in technology. Both ignite a passion in me.

As a little girl, when hearing the question “What do you want to be when you grow up,” the answer “IT expert” rarely makes the top of the list. But maybe it’s time to plant the seeds of possibility in the minds of our daughters, nieces and women in our lives, especially with the IT job market perched on the brink of major growth.

As the world becomes more connected with cloud computing, mobile applications and devices, social networking and the Internet of Everything (IoE), new career opportunities are rapidly emerging. As a matter of fact, by 2018 40 percent of jobs will be in five industries and IT will be front and center, fueled by these escalating technology shifts. These are exciting times in technology. However, this also creates a growing skills gap. The rate and demand for IT professionals will outpace qualified candidates, meaning we’re going to start seeing some major competition for top talent.

We are just at the beginning of this profound new journey. Here at Cisco, employees are an important differentiator. We want our employees to be engaged in their work and committed to longer term careers at Cisco. Because of this, we’ve increased our focus on understanding and meeting Gen Y’s unique development needs and workforce expectations.

If you look at the amazing things happening in technology and the future workforce, I think you can see why it’s important to be informed and begin to think about how you plan for this incredible journey at your own companies. I’d love to hear what steps and strategies you’re taking to stay ahead of this wave to recruit and attract top talent, as well as ways you’re supporting the expansion of women in technology. Share your thoughts in the comments section or via Twitter @MarieHattar.