Career Advice

How to Start a Career in Green Technology

Paul Brown
21.04.2023 Published: 21.04.23, Modified: 21.04.2023 11:04:20

With the technology industry accounting for approximately 2-3% of total global emissions, the last few years have seen an increasing amount of pressure to reduce carbon emissions in the industry. However, as digital technologies continue to expand, the UN reports that this figure can only grow if action is not taken to reduce emissions.

The current environmental crisis has forced the technology industry into gear, paving the way for the development of greener technology alternatives and opening up a whole new job market as a result. In fact, the UK Government reports that £134 million has been set aside to support businesses with clean growth projects, develop new technologies, and secure new jobs. In total, it is estimated that by 2030 there could be as many as 694,000 direct jobs in the low-carbon and renewable energy economy in the UK. Globally, there could be as many as 24 millions jobs created in the green economy!

Yet, political quotas also have their part to play. Adopted in 2015, the Paris Agreement legally bound 196 countries to commit to limit global warming and transition to a low-carbon economy. In order to meet the ambitious targets set by the agreement, countries around the world have to ramp up their efforts to transition to clean energy sources, like solar and wind power. This has led to a surge in demand for professionals in renewable energy and related industries, such as energy storage, electric vehicles, and more! Likewise, the agreement has helped create more environmental policies and business incentives to support the transition, such as feed-in tariffs and tax credits.

Not only does this industry offer fantastic career opportunities and significant earning potential, but it also offers a sense of ethical fulfilment by contributing to the betterment of the world. The green industry is growing in popularity, with research commissioned by British Gas as part of National Apprenticeship Week revealing that an incredible 70% of young adults want to pursue a career in green industries!

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s dive into all things green technology, from exciting career opportunities to green skills and everything in between.

What’s in this article?

What is the green industry?

The green industry refers to a range of economic activities and sectors that focus predominantly on creating products and services that reduce our environmental impact or contribute to environmental sustainability. This could include businesses that are involved in renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable agriculture, waste management and recycling, sustainable transportation, or similar.

According to the UNIDO, the green industry includes…

“economies striving for a more sustainable pathway of growth, by undertaking green public investments and implementing public policy initiatives that encourage environmentally responsible private investments. ‘Greening of Industry’ is a method to attain sustainable economic growth and promote sustainable economies. It includes policymaking, improved industrial production processes and resource-efficient productivity.”

What is green technology?

Green technology and clean technology are two closely related terms, but have slightly different meanings and a few key differences between them.

Green technology refers to any technology that is developed with the goal of reducing environmental impact and promoting sustainability. This could include renewable energy technologies, energy-efficient buildings, sustainable transportation – virtually anything built to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, minimise waste, and conserve natural resources.

On the other hand, clean technology refers to avoiding environmental damage at the source, including the materials, processes, and practices used to build and run these technologies. This is done to reduce the creation of pollutants in the environment, and includes technologies that help with activities such as air and water purification or waste management.

That being said, both types of technology play important roles in addressing environmental challenges and promoting a more sustainable future!

8 Exciting careers to pursue in green technology

To help you get a better feel for the opportunities available to you, we’ve listed some of the most interesting careers in green technology and business for you to consider:

  1. Green IT Business Analyst
  2. Sustainable Cloud Computing Architect
  3. Green Business Intelligence Analyst
  4. Green Software Project Manager
  5. Renewable Energy Data Scientist
  6. Environmental Data Scientist
  7. Energy Management System Software Developer
  8. Sustainability Operations Manager

1. Green IT Business Analyst

A Green IT Business Analyst is responsible for analysing business processes and practices to identify opportunities for reducing environmental impact and increasing sustainability. Based on their findings, they will develop and implement strategies for green initiatives accordingly. Learn more about the roles and responsibilities of a Business Analyst and how to start a career in Business Analysis,

2. Sustainable Cloud Computing Architect

A Sustainable Cloud Computing Architect develops sustainable architecture solutions for cloud-based services. This involves designing and implementing cloud computing systems that are energy-efficient, minimise resource usage, and reduce carbon emissions. The green cloud is one of the biggest cloud computing trends this year, so Cloud Computing Engineering is definitely a career path to consider!

3. Green Business Intelligence Analyst

A Business Intelligence Analyst collects, cleans, and analyses data sets to identify trends and opportunities, for example in sales or revenue data. A Green Business Intelligence Analyst interprets data to identify opportunities for improving environmental performance in particular, and developing reporting frameworks for tracking sustainability initiatives.

4. Green Software Project Manager

Software Project Managers organise and coordinate development projects, including all the people involved across the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). They are responsible for ensuring that everyone knows what they need to do to bring the project over the line, and everything goes smoothly through development, testing and release.

A Green Software Project Manager will manage software development projects that focus on environmental sustainability, which may involve coordinating with cross-functional teams to develop sustainable solutions that reduce energy consumptions, minimise waste, and lower carbon emissions. This includes during the process and within the end product itself.  Find out more about what it takes to become a Project Manager.

5. Renewable Energy Data Scientist

Data Scientists transform raw data into tangible insights that organisations can use to improve their business processes and performance, using analytical, statistical, and programming skills. A Renewable Energy Data Scientist analyses and interprets data related specifically to renewable energy sources, such as wind or solar. Following this, they can then develop algorithms and models to optimise these energy sources or to devise strategies to solve any issues.

6. Environmental Data Scientist

Similar to a Renewable Energy Data Scientist, an Environmental Data Scientist carries out analysis on data related to a business’ environmental impact, such as its carbon footprint, water usage, and waste management. Environmental Data Scientists can also work on much more complex projects, handling large data sets to identify patterns and relationships that can inform environmental management. They can develop models and simulations to forecast future environmental conditions or evaluate the impact of potential policies or interventions. 

7. Energy Management System Software Developer

An Energy Management System Software Developer designs, develops, and implements software solutions for managing energy usage and optimising energy efficiency. This includes developing systems that automate energy management processes or monitor energy usage in real-time, for example.

8. Sustainability Operations Manager

Working as a Sustainability Operations Manager, you are responsible for managing sustainability initiatives within an organisation and reporting on your success, whether that’s to reduce your environmental impact or improve sustainability performance.

What skills do you need to work in green technology?

If you’re looking to start a career in green technology, you’ll require a unique set of skills in addition to your typical technical abilities and soft skills. Employers are becoming increasingly focused on green skills rather than just university degrees, and due to the high demand and low supply, individuals with these skills are more likely to land the job. Green skills can be defined by the skills that enable you to support the environmental sustainability of economic activities, such as those within an organisation.

Although it will depend entirely on the industry you want to enter and the career path you choose, here are some examples of the most popular green skills according to LinkedIn’s Global Green Skills Report. Each skill includes the skill name, as well as the green skill category it falls within.

H3: Top 10 green skills required by employers

  1. Sustainability, sustainable development
  2. Remediation, environmental remediation
  3. Occupational Safety and Health Advisor (OSHA), environmental policy
  4. Climate, ecosystem management
  5. Renewable energy, renewable energy generation
  6. Environmental awareness, ecosystem management
  7. Environment, Health and Safety (EHS), environmental auditing
  8. Solar energy, renewable energy generation
  9. Corporate social responsibility, environmental policy
  10. Recycling, environmental remediation

Surprisingly, most green skills are not necessarily required for traditional green jobs, including compliance, sales, and management.

H3: Top 10 emerging green skills across all sectors

The skills listed above are the most in-demand, however, there are also some up and coming skills that could become more popular in the coming years. Such skills include:

  1. Sustainable fashion, pollution prevention
  2. Environmental services, ecosystem management
  3. Oil spill response, environmental remediation
  4. Climate, ecosystem management
  5. Sustainable growth, environmental auditing
  6. Surface water, ecosystem management
  7. Occupational Safety and Health Advisor (OSHA), environmental policy
  8. Sustainable business strategies, pollution prevention
  9. Solar systems, renewable energy generation
  10. Sustainable landscapes, ecosystem management

Many of these skills are not directly related to the technology industry, however, that’s certainly not to say that technology will not play a key role in these industries. In fact, the development in new technologies will have a huge part in the green transition across industries!

Top tip: Although green skills are important, it’s imperative that you brush up on your soft skills as well, as they are just as important, if not more! Employers look for candidates who can demonstrate critical thinking, collaboration, effective communication, creativity, and organisation, for example.

Read more about the top soft skills employers are looking for in a candidate.

4 Tips to starting a successful career in green technology

  1. Conduct research into technology careers in the green industry
  2. Gain relevant education and experience in the green industry
  3. Build your professional network
  4. Begin your job search and start applying

1. Conduct research into technology careers in the green industry

The green industry offers a wide range of career opportunities across different sectors. Some of the main sectors in the green industry include renewable energy, oil and gas, utilities, environment consultancies, policy and regulation, and conservation. So, if you’re looking to land yourself a technology career in one of these fields, it’s important to do your research beforehand to find out what roles are available and which is best suited to you.

Job fairs, informational interviews, and online job searches can all be useful tools for researching green technology careers and helping you get a feel for the career you’d like to pursue. It can also be a good idea to stay up-to-date with industry news by using Google alerts or signing up to relevant publications, such as Green Living or Green Tech Media.

By conducting research, you can find out what you’re most interested in within the sector and identify the related roles that align with your interests, which can help you make an informed decision about your career path in the green industry.

2. Gain relevant education and experience in the green industry

When it comes to pursuing a career in green technology, it is not always necessary to have formal qualifications in environmental-related fields or technology for that matter! However, if you are looking to gain qualification in the environmental field, there are a number of options available to you. For instance, there are many different university courses that you can take in the UK, such as environmental science, environmental psychology, ecology and conservation, or sustainability business and management. Any one of these courses can help you set the foundation for a successful career in green technology.

Alternatively, you can look to complete an apprenticeship in the green industry. The Institute for Apprenticeships is currently placing a greater focus on developing new green jobs, building a framework to find suitable talent to work in these roles, and creating new apprenticeship opportunities. Gaining hands-on experience through internships and volunteer work can also be useful and demonstrates value to employers.

3. Build your professional network

Networking is an essential aspect of building a successful career in the green technology industry. By connecting with professionals in the field, you can gain valuable insights, stay on top of new trends, and build relationships that may lead to new opportunities.

There are various ways you can go about building your professional network. For example, attending conferences and industry events is a great way to meet new people and share ideas with like-minded professionals. Joining professional associations is another way to build connections in a similar way, too.

Finally, social media platforms like LinkedIn can be powerful tools for professional networking. We recommend you create a strong social profile and actively engage with others online.

4. Begin your job search and start applying

Searching for a job can be a rewarding but challenging process, even more so when looking in a specific industry, such as green technology. Yet, there are a few tactics you can use to help you find the right opportunities and build a professional image to stand out in a crowded candidate market.

We recommend using specialised job search engines or even contacting companies directly since both are effective ways to uncover hidden job opportunities that may not be advertised elsewhere or on general job sites. Just be wary of green-washing and look out for false advertising to ensure you end up working for a truly sustainable company. One good indicator that the company is truly committed to the environment is if they have a B CORP or Soil Association certification.

You should take the time to tailor your resume and cover letter for green technology, such as listing your green skills, certifications, or qualifications, as well as any relevant experience or volunteering work. It can also be helpful to include relevant buzzwords within your CV, such as those used within job listings, to ensure your application is selected by employers using applicant tracking systems (ATS).

Remember to prepare for your interviews by researching the company you are applying to and practising responses to common interview questions. Read our top tips on how to prepare for a strength-based interview for more information.

Are you ready to change the world?

With a growing demand for experts in the field and plenty of opportunities available to you, now is the time to kickstart your career in green technology. The route to a career in green technology may not be linear and will not look the same for everyone. Some choose to go to university in a related field or take part in an apprenticeship for hands-on experience, and some may even decide to start in a more generalised field and specialise later in their careers.

At FDM, we are committed to the environment and offer graduates the opportunity to work with some of the most innovative organisations in the technology industry, who are working hard to make a positive impact on the world. Joining the FDM Graduate Programme will give you the training and experience you need to excel in the technology career of your choice, whether that’s in cloud computing, data analytics, or project management. With the right skills, knowledge and practical experience, you can then go on to achieve great things in the environmental field.

Are you passionate about the environment and technology? If so, a career in green technology could be just the thing for you!Check out the FDM Technical Graduate Programme to find out how we can help you kickstart your career in green tech, and make a real difference in the world. Get in touch