Business executive and researcher Joseph Schmoke, with extensive experience as a university CEO and as founder of career selection services, has identified two thriving career paths in today’s dynamic job landscape: cybersecurity and artificial intelligence (AI).

“Regardless of your educational background, cybersecurity and AI offer career changers unparalleled opportunities,” Schmoke asserts. “For the forty percent of workers who contemplate changing careers annually, now is an opportune time to upskill. Embracing these high-demand fields can lead to lucrative prospects as trained specialists are increasingly sought after.”

A recent report from Gartner, a leading research and advisory firm with a global revenue of over $5 billion, underscores the persistent shortage of cybersecurity talent worldwide. In the U.S. alone, only 70% of the current demand for cybersecurity professionals can be met—a historic low over the past decade (referencing Gartner’s “Top Trends in Cybersecurity for 2024,” January 2024).

Schmoke recommends starting the journey into cybersecurity with a focused, short-term non-degree course, such as the fourteen-week program offered by Claim Academy. Enrollees can benefit from a partial scholarship facilitated by Schmoke’s efforts through Alternatives to College LLC and Skill Escalator Inc. Scholarship details are available at or contact Schmoke directly [email protected].

Highlighting the symbiotic relationship between AI and cybersecurity, Schmoke emphasizes the potential for career success in either or both fields. The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report (2023-2027) forecasts a 40% surge in AI and machine learning (AI/ML) jobs, equating to approximately one million new positions—an encouraging prospect for career changers.

Considering compensation levels of the recommended careers, Upwork reports an average annual salary of $128,870 for cybersecurity professionals and $98,340 for AI engineers in the United States. While these figures represent averages and actual salaries may vary, they reflect the lucrative nature of these careers.

Schmoke extends his support further by announcing scholarship opportunities for AI courses. Interested individuals can reach out via email at [email protected] to explore partial scholarship options.

For those uncertain about cybersecurity or AI, Schmoke suggests exploring the diverse range of the 6,000 faster and more affordable courses listed on Each course offers a reasonable alternative to expensive and time-consuming traditional college degree programs. And individuals can take a free career assessment quiz available on the Insights dropdown page at, which recommends suitable career paths based on assessment quiz responses.

In conclusion, Schmoke hopes these insights empower individuals in making informed career decisions and encourages them to stay updated by following the Alternatives to College and Skill Escalator websites. Those interested in Schmoke’s thought on these and other related matters are invited to follow him on LinkedIn

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