Information technology is the fastest growing sector in the economy with a 68% increase
in output growth rate projected between 2002 and 2012. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Employment opportunities are expected to be good in the IT industry as demand for
computer-related occupations increases due to rapid advances in computer technology,
continuing development of new computer applications, and the growing significance
of information security. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
92% of all IT workers are in non-IT companies, 80% of which are in small companies.
(Information Technology Association of America)
Some Interesting Facts:
Take a look at these facts about the IT Industry:
- The IT industry includes such products and services as software, telecommunications,
wireless, Internet, hardware, peripherals, and computer and data services.
- Software and hardware segments of the industry accounted for 12.57% of total GDP in 2001.
- The commercial software industry of 2003 was a $175 billion economic engine with 2.3 million jobs worldwide.
- IT is both a distinct industry, and, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a subset of Manufacturing, Transportation, and Business Services.
- 92% of all IT workers are in non-information technology, companies including companies engaged in health care services, real estate, insurance, and financial services; 80% of them are in small companies outside the IT industry.
- Over the last 30 years, an investment of $11 trillion has been made in information technology globally. The major achievements have been in productivity, manufacturing efficiencies, and education applications.
- Seven of the top thirty fastest growing occupations are projected to be IT-related.
- The computer systems design and related services industry is expected to be one of the top 10 fastest growing industries in the economy, adding more than 600,000 jobs between 2002 and 2012.
- Employment in the telecommunications industry is expected to increase by 7 percent between 2002 and 2012.
- All seven of the fastest growing IT jobs (Network Systems and Data Communciations Analyst; Computer Software Engineer - Applications; Computer software Engineer - Systems Software; Database Administrator; Computer Systems Analyst; Network and Computer Systems Administrator; Computer and Information Systems Manager) require at least a bachelor's degree.
- Nine percent of CIOs at U.S. companies plan to increase their IT hiring.
Let's look at the microcosm of IT professionals. According to former U.S.
Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, U.S. businesses will need 21 million new IT workers
in the next five years. However, a shortfall of at least 4 million workers is predicted.
The Computing Research Association says the number of students choosing computer science
as a field of study decreased 39% from 2000 to 2004. The dot-com bust and fears of
an insecure future have led students to pursue other professions.
Companies exacerbated the problem during the recent recession by laying off large numbers
of IT workers. Many of these people left the profession because they couldn't find another
job. Companies also stopped hiring entry-level workers who would start basically as
apprentices and be ready to take over IT roles when older workers retire.
When the gray hairs retire, who will do the work? Smart companies are starting
now to prepare for the future IT workforce.
There is good news, however. The future workforce likely will include many
older workers who don't want (or can't afford) to retire completely. AARP reports that
nearly 70% of workers aged 45 to 74 say they want to continue working in some capacity.
An innovative employer might be able to retain workers by offering reduced work hours,
a flexible schedule or lighter responsibilities.
Smart companies are starting to bring in new recruits so they can begin preparing to
step into jobs with more responsibility. A study commissioned by the Society
for Information Management indicates that companies are still looking to entry-level
hires to fill technical positions such as system administrator, help desk worker or
programmer. Although these are the types of jobs that are typically outsourced,
they serve a purpose in developing the next generation of workers.
Many companies are establishing formal or informal mentoring programs to help
less-experienced workers learn the ropes from those with more experience.
Mentoring helps knowledge pass from one person to another.
The competition to hire and retain skilled IT workers is fierce, and the situation
is likely to get worse before it gets better. When the gray-hairs log off for the
last time, companies don't want to be scrambling for help.
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