Ever since the dot-com bubble burst at the beginning of the last decade, the IT industry has been waging an uphill battle to attract the talent it needs to meet its ever growing workforce demands. Somewhere along the way, as words like outsourcing and off-shoring became permanently derogatory terms in our vocabulary, pursuing an IT career lost its “cool” factor.
The reasons I commonly hear from kids and their parents are “why would I want to be in IT?” or “Aren’t all those jobs for programmers being outsourced?” Lack of perceived job security and future opportunity aren’t cool to an 18-year-old no matter how geeked they might be about technology. When you get right down to it, the industry’s message to the young would-be workforce has not kept pace with the innovations in the business of providing IT.
What we need is a new message, a new theme that catches the attention and imagination of kids in high school today. We need to tell those technically inclined that they can find great careers installing, maintaining and integrating new technologies such as virtualization and cloud, unified communications and mobility. If they like technology and have the drive, they can have a great career in sales. The industry is all about customers, so support and account management soft skills can be put to use. If they are process driven and have a desire to lead teams, IT project management is a great career.
When the economy is humming, there are typically more than 1 million rewarding, good paying IT jobs of all stripes and colors in the market. Even in a slow recovering economy like we have today, there are more than 400,000!
You also don’t need a four-year college degree for most of the entry-level jobs in IT. With the right motivation CompTIA certified professionals can expect to get started in as little as a few months. Vocational schools, community colleges, self-study and professional training companies like New Horizons, one our CompTIA Authorized Partners, can get you career ready and on your way.
Over the next few months, we are going to be scanning the horizon and looking for places to get the word out. We’re hoping to culminate our benchmarking by launching a program to inform and educate teachers, guidance counselors, parents and most importantly kids on the great opportunities that await them. If you’re interested in joining the effort to make “IT Cool”, let us know!
If we don’t find a way to funnel more kids into the IT industry, we’re placing a needless barrier to the industry’s continued growth.