Market for IT Jobs Needs more Focus on Youth Movement

April 8, 2013

While there is still a wealth of IT jobs out there for the taking in the United States today, we're seeing a rapid decline in the number of workers looking to take them. Part of the problem is that many jobs in the tech sector are complex and difficult to fill – technology is evolving so quickly that it's become difficult for the workforce to keep up.

The Andalusia Star-News in Alabama recently published some survey data from USA Today that elaborated on this problem. As of 2012, the newspaper reported, there are 600,000 skilled positions that remain unfilled. The average skilled worker now is 56 years old – by 2030, 79 million of these workers will have retired, and only 41 million replacements will enter the workforce.

Clearly, something more needs to be done to address this trend. As technology improves, so too does the IT job market, meaning there will be even more positions to fill in next decade than there are now.

The number of new IT workers – that 41 million figure – needs to increase. The future of the tech sector depends on it.

Here are some ideas on how to drive up youth interest in IT.

Begin with education
Sameer Verma, a professor of information systems at San Francisco State University, told Diverse Education that American educators have yet to fully embrace the idea of incorporating technology into the curriculum. It's "extremely important" that they do, Verma argued. American educators need to tell their students that technology is an indispensable part of learning.

Embrace mobile device use
Verma said that the portion of students using mobile devices in their education is around 70 or 75 percent, and those who refrain are usually doing so for financial reasons. The nation needs to do more to put mobile devices in children's hands early. Mobile solutions are the direction of the future in technology, and kids should become mobile-savvy early on.

Emphasize the big paydays
The Dallas Morning News recently reported Dice survey data finding that the average skilled technology worker has seen his or her salary rise by 15 percent in the last five years. The typical systems engineer, mobile app designer or information security engineer now makes over $85,000 a year. That's a big paycheck, and young people should be enticed by the financial benefits that a career in IT has to offer.

There's still time to reverse the current trend and coax more of America's youths to consider a future in IT. It would benefit both themselves and their country.