Developing IT Talent

Information Technology is projected to reach $5.2 trillion in sales globally by 2020

Information Technology (IT) has a profound influence on industry, business, and society.

IT keeps operations running smoothly through design, development, implementation, support, and management of computer information systems. Over the last few decades, the digital transformation has propelled IT integration into nearly every aspect of our work and personal lives. From SharePoint to online shopping to our health care delivery this integration has further increased demand for IT.

Between 2009 and 2019, the Information Technology1 industry grew by 35% to over 3.8 million jobs throughout the United States.2 Globally, the Information Technology (IT) industry is estimated to reach $5.2 trillion in sales in 2020.3

As technologies continue to evolve the industry undergoes rapid changes in products and services,  ultimately transforming its workforce. Looking forward to 2029, the industry is projected to grow an additional 17% in the United States, adding nearly 656,000 new jobs. According to EMSI, average earnings for an IT position were $143,260 in 2019 for the United States. This is more than double the national average across all industries of $67,317.4 Strong job growth and high earnings – what everyone wants!

Recognized to be a significant economic contributor, many communities throughout the United States have looked towards the IT and tech workforces to bolster their economies. While some communities seek to attract this talent, others seek to develop it. The following are best practices for communities seeking to develop their IT workforce and prepare for the future industry needs:

  • Look to industry leaders –  IT companies and leaders have the greatest understanding of where the industry has been and where it is heading. Look to these leaders to inform IT educational opportunities – ask for input on current curriculum, training, and program offerings at higher education institutions and look for guidance on improvements to suit industry needs. This helps educational institutions hone in on applicable skills that students will need and fosters connections between students and industry leaders.
     
  • Bigger is not always better – Educational offerings for the IT field should focus on a range of complexity levels. This includes 4-year and 2-year degrees as well as certificate programs. Often 2-year degrees and certificates are just as valuable as 4-year degrees as the IT industry is ever changing and new skills need to be developed quickly in order to remain competitive. This industry prides itself on speed of innovation, so certificates that cover new or emerging IT trends are highly sought after. Providing efficient educational and training opportunities enables talent to be integrated into the workforce swiftly.
     
  • Provide real experience – Encourage local businesses to offer internships, mentorships, and apprenticeships to engage and prepare the future IT workforce. These opportunities help create hands-on experience in developing both hard and soft skills needed in the Information Technology sector. Working with the existing workforce creates important connections for the future workforce and (hopefully) leads to opportunities for job placement. These relationships are mutually beneficial as local businesses can test out talent without a hiring commitment.
     
  • Industry-wide partnerships – Bring industry leaders and companies together to assess workforce demands and challenges. Identifying in-demand skills and training opportunities can help to ease employment challenges faced across the industry.

Overall, education institutions and industry leaders are critical to developing the future IT workforce within a community. Working together, they can efficiently and effectively prepare the future workforce with skills for the opportunities they will face. Communities will need to support these efforts by continuing to invest in IT infrastructure including broadband, fiber optics, etc. Additionally, as the industry evolves, communities will need to remain highly aware of privacy, safety, and sustainability concerns and integrate these concepts into workforce preparation.

 

[1] Includes NAICS 511210 Software Publishers, 517311 Wired Telecommunications Carriers, 517312 Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite), 517919 All Other Telecommunications, 518210 Data Processing, hosting, and Related Services, 519130 Internet Publishing and Broadcasting in Web Search Portals, 541511 Custom Computer Programming Services, and 541512 Computer Systems Design Services.

[2] EMSI

[3] “IT Industry Outlook 2020.” CompTIA, https://www.comptia.org/content/research/it-industry-trends-analysis.

[4] EMSI

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