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The dot.com bubble of the late 1990s had a profound impact on the economy and the e-business/e-commerce profession. Demand for e-commerce professionals increased so substantially during this time period that professionals with a minimal amount of experience, education, training and qualification could command salaries upwards of $150,000 annually. The dot.com bust, which occurred in the early 2000s, facilitated a stabilization in the industry, reducing salaries and creating a foundation for more precisely defining e-business and the qualifications, education and experience needed for professionals to be successful in the field.
Although different types of computer professionals are involved in e-business and e-commerce careers, those that work specifically in the area of streamlining online business operations are those that are in highest demand. Professionals in this specific niche of e-commerce provide the tools and resources needed by the organization to effectively manage its operations online. This includes all aspects of operations from online shopping to payment processing and successful marketing of the organization’s website. Because 13 percent of all economic transactions that occur in the US take place online, the expertise provided by professionals working in e-commerce is vitally important not only to individual organizations but also to the macro economy as a whole.
Even though organizations have more precisely refined their e-business strategies and needs professionals working in this industry may find that their roles, responsibilities and positions differ based on the organization in which they are employed. For instance, e-business professionals working with organizations that operate their businesses solely online (e.g., Amazon.com, Expedia.com or eBay.com) may find that their positions require them to provide a wide range of services that include marketing, network security and web design. In these positions, e-commerce professionals will be challenged to utilize web services effectively to define their organizations and the product that they offer.
E-commerce professionals may also be employed in organizations that utilize both online and bricks and mortar services to meet customer needs (e.g., Sears, Wal-Mart, and the Gap). In these positions, e-commerce professionals will be charged with the responsibility of creating an integrated strategy for website use that will enable customers to take advantage of online and in-store capabilities. In these positions, professionals will require a broad range of skills including web design, marketing and management.
Industry Salary Info
E-business and e-commerce positions require different levels of business and technological expertise, depending on the organization in which the professional is employed. Generally speaking, success in e-business requires a considerable amount of post-secondary education. While a Bachelors Degree can be useful for obtaining entry level positions, a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) will be needed for the professional to obtain an upper level or management position in this field. In addition, professionals may be required to acquire computer expertise including certification. The level of education for e-commerce professionals typically results in substantial salaries. Average entry level salaries for professionals with an MBA are $50,000. However, as progress through their careers, opportunities for advancement will increase salaries. Many seasoned professionals working in the profession command salaries in excess of $100,000 annually. Most of the positions in e-business are full-time and provide the professional with access to important benefits such as health insurance and paid vacation.
Overall, the job outlook for e-commerce professionals is quite robust. Following the end the dot.com bubble in the early 2000s, employment prospects for e-business professionals were scant. However, since this time, stability in e-commerce and e-business has created a steady demand for professions in the field. As online services continue to grow and more organizations begin offering their products through in-store and online integrated experiences, more e-business professionals will be needed to meet this demand. Opportunities for e-business expansion in small business ventures will also increase the demand for e-business professionals. Individuals willing to work on a freelance or contract basis will have access to additional opportunities helping individuals and small businesses develop their e-commerce sites. Professionals with MBAs and expertise in computer systems will also have access to more job opportunities as organizations seek out professionals that can provide web development services in a number of different areas simultaneously.