ALABAMA COOPERATIVE E X T E N S I O N S Y S T EM Volume 1, 9 October 27, 2000 A Fact Sheet Information Technology Jobs According to U.S. Department of Commerce projections, the rapid ex- pansion of the U.S. core information technology (IT) workforce will con- tinue, bringing the number of IT jobs up to 3.9 million within the next eight years. That will be a 79% increase in the number of IT jobs over a ten-year period beginning in 1998. During the same period, the number of jobs overall is expected to increase by only 14%, showing a significant dif- Highlights ference between job expansion in IT and job expansion as a whole. The five fastest growing occupations are Computer Scientists, Computer Engineers, • Technical education Computer Support Specialists, Systems Analysts, and Database Adminis- is the key for entry trators. The chart on page 2 compares projected job growth in these areas to the high-paying, with job market growth as a fast-growing field of whole. information technol- ogy. The overall IT growth is expected to require 1,712,000 • The need for quali- workers to fill the new jobs fied IT workers is plus another 306,000 new increasing. workers to replace current workers who will retire or change jobs. The IT job mar- ket requirement works out to AUTHOR INFORMATION: around 202,000 new workers Dr. Jacquelyn P. Robinson needed each year. Most of Community Workforce Development Specialist these jobs (over 75%) require State Headquarters at least a bachelor’s de- 216 Extension Hall gree and the remainder Computer technology allows people to commute to their work- Auburn University, AL generally require an asso- place electronically. 36849-5631 Telephone (334) 844-5353 ciate’s degree or comple- FAX (334) 844-9022 tion of a formal certification type of training program. For the 75% requir- firstname.lastname@example.org ing a bachelor’s degree, the people who will enter these jobs: (1) are cur- rently working in some other field, (2) are already in high school or college, or (3) will come to the US from a foreign country either to immigrate or to work here and return to their native land. There are major implications from this growth pattern. First, technical education—either at the bachelor’s or associate’s level—is the key for entry to this high-paying, fast-growing field. If you don’t have the education, get Visit the Community Resource Development home page at www.aces.edu/department/crd/ PAGE 2 THE WORKPLACE VOLUME 1, 9 it, or you can’t get in the door. The technical these institutions is a great deal different from education needed to enter the field is intimi- what many adults remember from high school dating to many workers who are stuck in a and is generally focused to meet the needs of dead-end job or whose job is going away be- the students. There is generally opportunity for IT Job Growth 117.50% 120.00% 107.90% 102.30% 93.60% 100.00% 77.20% 80.00% 60.00% 40.00% 14.40% 20.00% 0.00% Computer Computer Computer Systems Analysts Database Non-IT Jobs Scientists Engineers Support Administrators Specialists cause they feel they either are too old to learn people to take coursework in the evenings so or because they had bad experiences with edu- that they can work one job while preparing cation earlier in their lives. They need not be themselves for a better one. intimidated; the truth of the matter is that Next, the need is immediate. There are job most people are easily capable of learning openings now and the need for qualified work- what they need to know to enter these fields ers is increasing as a glance at the help-wanted and entry through one of Alabama’s technical, listings in major newspapers will show. While community or there is a growing trend toward IT workers junior col- working out of their homes, for now most of the “The IT job market leges is usu- jobs are in metropolitan areas—especially met- ally smooth. ropolitan areas focusing on IT infrastructure. requirement works out to The junior, Many people may have to relocate or be willing community to commute to get these jobs. It also means that around 202,000 new and technical communities without a modern information/ workers needed each colleges want communications infrastructure will fall farther and welcome and farther behind in their search for good jobs year” adult stu- for their citizens and a tax base for their com- dents. The munities. average age of students in many of these insti- tutions has moved into the upper twenties as more and more adults return to school for an Dr. Jacquelyn P. Robinson educational upgrade. Students in their 30s, Community Workforce Development Specialist 40s and 50s are common. The teaching in Alabama Cooperative Extension System Sources: U.S. Department of Commerce (August, 2000). Office of Technology Policy. The Digital Workforce. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work in agriculture and home economics, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, and other related acts, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M University and Auburn University) offers educational programs, materials, and equal opportunity employment to all people without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status, or disability.
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