[FoRK] from the latest ACM newsletter

Corinna schultz
Wed Aug 17 12:58:59 PDT 2005


I promise I won't spam everyone with any more of these...

-Corinna

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As the perception of careers in IT has been tarnished by the dot-com
collapse and widespread offshoring of jobs to India and China, many IT
positions at home may go unfilled. The approaching retirement of baby
boomers and declining enrollment in IT worry Phil Zweig with the Society for
Information Management (SIM) studying the future of the IT industry. A
Gartner study projects the IT departments at midsize and large companies
will be at least one-third smaller by 2010 than they were in 2000, and that
by that same year, 10 percent to 15 percent of IT professionals will drop
out of the industry, leaving an uncertain fate for that sector of the
economy. Amid dubious forecasts of the future of IT, fewer students have
been pursuing math and science; the number of undergraduates declaring
computer science as a major dropped 39 percent in the four years following
2000, leading many industry watchers to speculate on the detrimental effect
this trend may have on U.S. technological innovation. Gartner's Diane Berry
says parents are another factor deterring kids from pursuing IT, but some
are unfazed by the decline in IT enrollments; for example, Partners
HealthCare System CIO John Glaser notes that many of his technical workers
acquired their skills at community colleges or through on-the-job training.
Additionally, previous attempts to forecast labor markets have been fraught
with error. To proactively address a shortage of talent, companies are
advised to inventory the skills they anticipate needing in the next five
years and turn their focus in that direction. More globally, Zweig
emphasizes the importance of reaching out to schools to overhaul the
perception of IT careers, particularly at the secondary level and earlier,
citing the outreach efforts of the more than 30 chapters of SIM in the
country.
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