By Henning Seip
Since 2004, the Help Wanted signs at the doors of New York City-based IT departments are getting bigger and bigger, and available workers are getting fewer and fewer. Does anybody notice?
Many people considering Information Technology (IT) as a career are influenced by hearsay about offshore outsourcing. Yes, some IT jobs such as coding of large, well-defined software programs are leaving the United States. Does this mean jobs in IT have no future at home? The answer is a clear No!
Large employers in New York City, the ones who outsource some of their work to places like India, are looking for more help right here at home. SkillPROOF, Inc., a start-up firm, has been counting IT job openings at large employers nationwide for the past three years, and has discovered a significant growth in demand for IT specialists. Much of the reason for the increased demand has to do with offshore outsourcing and the expanding use of IT in our daily lives.
Today, there are about 13,000 open IT positions posted on corporate Web sites-tech and Fortune 1000- with work locations in the New York metro area. The leading growth sectors are software development, project management and sales of IT products and services. The number of open positions in these areas has doubled since 2004 and continues to increase. Offshore workers require more management than local resources, leading to more domestic job openings. Expanding use of technology requires more IT talent, generating more jobs to develop and sell IT products and services. Looking ahead, retiring baby boomers and dwindling enrollments in IT majors at universities will add to the IT talent crunch. The winners: students who act countercyclical and enroll in IT courses today. What are the first signs of success? Universities are reporting that IT graduates are again receiving sign-up bonuses and are hired before they leave the campus.
Another little-known fact comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS reports that in the New York Metro area, computer and mathematical occupations ranked third in income of all occupations in 2005, after management and legal occupations and ahead of occupations in business and financial operations. The mean income estimate for computer and mathematical occupations in 2005 was $77,020.
Careers in IT require a high speed of learning, constant attention and superior communication skills. The Internet provides incredible opportunities for talented individuals everywhere in the world, including right here at home. Individual programmers can post their ideas and software code on the Internet and may end up changing the world like Linus Torvalds did with his Linux operating system There are more and more examples like him and most of them do not originate in India.
Rapid software development tools and programming languages are succeeding with technology leaders. Google’s primary programming tool is Python, a high-level scripting language that has superior text- processing features. Yahoo! prefers Perl, a programming language with similar characteristics. Both Python and Perl are ideal for Internet software development. Even though there are about eight times more job openings for Perl programmers in the New York Metro area, Python has a much higher growth rate and is catching on fast.
Perl and Python belong to the open source domain. Open source means programmers post their software on the Internet and anybody can use it for free. Open source is a major shift in the paradigm of software development and illustrates how IT professionals make money today and will in the future. While customers can download and install software free of charge, they pay for customization, integration with other software packages and enhancements.
Implementation of open source software saves employers large amounts of license fees, which they use to hire more IT talent. This is another reason why Help Wanted signs at the doors of IT departments are getting bigger.Henning Seip, President, SkillPROOF Inc.