Addressing the IT Skills Gap
By Matt Brennan
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be 1.3 million openings for IT professionals by 2026. At the same time, there will be roughly 60,000 computer science graduates from universities per year – leaving a significant skills gap in the information technology field.
The shortage will be driven by a lack of workers with the right skills, but it’ll also be driven by advancements in technology that institutions have not kept up with. We live in a world that is increasingly automated, and hundreds of thousands of patents being filed on an annual basis.
Vast amounts of data – beyond anything previously comprehensible – are being collected to write AI algorithms and program self-driving cars. There are CEOs and visionaries actively working to enter the space tourism business, with an eventual goal of colonizing mars. When it comes to the future, the best technological minds will work on problems that only existed in fiction just a few short decades ago.
It’s tough to expect traditional education systems to be able to keep up with outright futuristic problems. Producing skilled workers who can pursue tomorrow’s problems will be tough, even if curriculums are written and rewritten annually. This type of pressure makes it hard for colleges to dependably produce the type of worker who can serve in high-paying tech roles.
Because of this there are tremendous opportunities for the right type of worker, but they will have to be responsible for their own education.
An Increasing Number of Jobs in Tech Don’t Require College
It used to be that a college education was necessary for any job that paid more than $100,000 in a given year. But with this growing demand, there are developers, programmers, and database administrators who didn’t attain a college degree before they were hired.
Employers can no longer rely on a computer science degree from a major university to provide information that will remain current years into the future. Employees who stop learning new skills and keeping up with advancements in technology will risk falling behind and becoming obsolete.
Employers Can Double Down on Their Workforce
It’s important for organizations to invest in their workforce and create a culture that reinforces life-long learning. It’s important to encourage employees to pick up new technology and become the driving force of innovation within your company. Leading tech companies like Google go as far as encouraging employees to work on personal projects at work – leading to further innovation.
Companies could think about creating and furthering an employee development plan and helping to provide the books, articles, blogs, and videos that will drive learning within the organization.
The IT skills gap is a significant problem that the industry will face for years to come, but it doesn’t have to grind your organization to a halt. There are several ways that employees and employers alike can work to alleviate its effects.