|Yes, there is still a big gap between supply and demand relating to high-tech workers. This gap will only increase before it starts to shrink. There are several reasons for this:|
Younger professionals in virtually all disciplines have tended to embrace technology. For many, computers and computer-related coursework were required during high school and/or college. For others, computer applications played a major role in their day-to-day professional roles. Most people have now become computer-smart simply to use the Internet.
- Demography of the American population. There are fewer college-age and college-bound people in our country today. Many of the late baby boomers waited until their 30s to have children and consequently contributed to this population gap which is impacting the labor market. Also impacting this gap are people in various ethnic areas in which the birth rates did not decline who are not choosing or are not able to go to college.
- Less than 3 percent of college graduates at the bachelor's degree level possess IT, MIS or Computer Science majors, whereas 40 percent of new jobs call for some kind of computer skills. Many college-age individuals share a common perception that the computer industry is for nerds, is unglamorous and does not benefit the world. This negative image of the computer industry has steered college students away from obtaining technical degrees.
- Aging Population in the Market. During the 1970s and 1980s, there was a large influx of professionals into the computer industry. By now, this aging population has moved through the ranks of their respective companies.
| ||Furthermore, nearly every other television or radio ad involves a technology-related commodity, either a product or service, so technology affects virtually everyone. The good news from all of this: the rollover of people from various disciplines into IT has theoretically become easier to attain.|
The National Association of Computer Consulting Businesses has organized a nonprofit charitable foundation to promote technical education among Americans. This foundation, dubbed The Open Door Education Foundation, will grant scholarships to enable deserving Americans to pursue technical education both at the 2-year and 4-year program levels.
NACCB has recognized that:
We have all seen the impact in productivity and profits based on our ability to automate the routine and streamline our businesses. As we now look into the new frontier of the economy, the technology skill sets required to support it will become critical to the survival of all of our businesses. Work is being done to help keep our country in the technology lead.
- America's economic future depends upon maintaining world leadership in technology
- Every year many thousands of our high-tech jobs go unfilled
- Our country needs more trained computer professionals
It is going to require the support of all businesses to keep up with the demand for IT skills. The commitment of people in organizations such as NACCB and AITP will continue to play a very major role in the future shaping of our industry.
James Del Monte is president of JDA Professional Services Inc. and former president of the Houston chapter of the National Association of Computer Consulting Businesses.