Rumours of IT demise have been greatly exaggerated
By David Ticoll (guest blogger), Executive Director of the Canadian Coalition for Tomorrow’s ICT Skills (CCICT)
The IT industry will need to hire another 150,000 new professionals by 2015, but enrollments in university and college IT programs are down dramatically — 33 to 40 per cent, in fact. Given the growing demand for professionals in this field, students are missing the prosperity boat by turning away from IT. Parents should reinforce that IT is where students should focus their energy.
IT jobs play a critical and integral role in how well business organizations function, and those who know how to design, manage, implement and lead the use of modern technology are high in demand in the upper echelons of the business world.
The same is true for those who go down the road of specializing in a technology-oriented area, such as web design, social media or computer security. There's also an explosion of creative, multidisciplinary opportunities that interweave IT with anything from health care and biology to architecture and animation.
Research conducted by the Conference Board of Canada and funded by Bell for the Canadian Coalition for Tomorrow’s ICT Skills (CCICT) shows the problem lies in high school students’ misperceptions that IT leads to boring, monotonous, uncreative jobs that are carried out in cubicles located in suburban warehouse-like settings.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Take, for example, the team of University of Toronto hackers that exposed the GhostNet international spyware conspiracy, or the green energy technologists helping to build Ontario’s next generation “smart” power grid, or biotech researchers who use their IT skills to research the causes and cures of diseases; none of these are boring or ordinary roles. It’s important we begin to educate today’s youth on the possibilities within IT. There are 150,000 opportunities out there for the taking.
Founded in 2007 by Bell Canada, CCICT is an industry-led, action-oriented, open multi-stakeholder initiative. Its mission is to ensure that Canadian organizations can engage information and communications technology professionals with knowledge, skills and talents to meet the evolving and diverse needs of this exciting field. Members include companies, academic institutions, professional associations, industry organizations, and other stakeholders with an interest in developing Canada’s ICT capabilities. For more information please visit www.ccict.ca