Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Surprise! Tech is a safe career choice today

Via ACM CareerNews Alert for Tuesday, February 17, 2009.

Tech Is a Safe Career Choice Today
InfoWorld, February 4

Despite the rising concerns about job security in the IT sector, technology remains a respected profession with relatively high compensation and solid job prospects. The problem, however, is that young people in high school and college exploring new career options tend to have a less than optimistic view of future job prospects. After exploring the new approaches that educational institutions are taking to fill the tech talent pipeline, the article analyzes the compensation and job stability numbers for technology careers.

Educational institutions are working hard to encourage college students to consider possible tech careers. As a result, enrollment in college STEM programs has seen an uptick lately. In regions such as Silicon Valley where technology companies are still willing to pay top dollar for recent grads, there has been an increase in student interest in computing-related studies. Other colleges are re-thinking their curriculum to attract students, such as by migrating coursework related to artificial intelligence and social networking to freshman-level courses. They are also introducing students to a wide range of possible careers beyond just software development.

Job stability within the tech sector is also a major draw. IT jobs continually outpace the national employment average, offering a sign of stability in a tumultuous job market. In 4Q 2008, tech workers posted some of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. For example, the unemployment rate for computer software engineers was only 1.9%, while many other areas of computer science reported unemployment rates below 3.5%. Moreover, salaries among tech workers remain surprisingly strong. A recent Dice survey showed a spike in salaries late last year, despite the recessionary environment, with average pay increasing by 4.6%. In addition, the average salary for recent information sciences graduates increased by 12.9%.

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