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The IT Job Outlook

The IT Job Outlook

October 16, 2007

No matter which pundit or news report you read, the technology industry is always in a state of constant change.

The reason for this state of flux is that business is constantly morphing and technology is now woven into business strategy and tied to growth predictions. Unless you’re selling lemonade on the roadside, it’s likely any business today, small or big, online or brick and mortar, is using some sort of tech tool to boost sales, production, expansion and growth acceleration.

Those devices and tools in play need support, administrators, developers and designers. That’s because the tools and devices are also changing and advancing every day.

Where it was once PCs and phones, it’s now server networks in the thousands, handheld gadgets of all kinds, from cell phones to personal digital assistants to smart phones to WiFi-enhanced gizmos that bridge business and lifestyle for today’s employed ranks.

Tie those trends together and the employment future for IT professionals looks rosy: more companies and businesses are realizing the value and important of technology to the business, more advancements in emerging technologies are hitting stride and a big portion of tech employees are due to retirement in the next several years leaving lots of opportunities for new and upcoming tech professionals.

The Employment View

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)/U.S. Department of Labor, the projected labor force growth will be affected by the aging of the baby-boom generation-persons born between 1946 and 1964. In 2014, baby-boomers will be ages 50 to 68 years, and this age group will grow significantly over the 2004-14 period.

The labor force will continue to age, with the number of workers in the 55-and-older group projected to grow by 49.1 percent, nearly five times the 10 percent growth projected for the overall labor force. That’s good news for college and new tech professionals. Prime-age workers, those between the ages of 25 and 54, also will lose share of the labor force, from 69.3 percent in 2004 to 65.2 percent in 2014. The 55-and-older age group, on the other hand, is projected to gain share of the labor force, from 15.6 percent to 21.2 percent.

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The best news, according to US labor statistics, is that IT professions are among the top 50 fastest growing career occupations for the next seven years.

Jobs will boom for network systems and data communication analysts with a spike of 55% by 2014. Opportunities for computer software engineers, application experts are right behind with a spike of 48%. Computer software engineers and those versed in systems software will also have lots of choice with an increase of 43%.

Also on the top 50 list are IT roles including network and computer systems administrators, database administrators and computer systems analysts.

As a recent article explains, there is no single “tech job market,” as the IT industry is more of a collection of markets for techies boasting various skill sets.

While there may be shortages for certain kinds of workers, most tech skills are in big demand and given the labor demographics, that’s likely to continue. While so many IT jobs are among the fastest growing occupation, some tech roles are not—one case in point is the fact that programming positions in the U.S. have declined since 2000.

That’s exactly why students and those considering a career move into the IT industry need to investigate and discern whether the particular role they’re thinking of has a good career future or lands within a niche area which would provide limited career opportunities.


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