Could IT be key to economic growth?

With a recent slight uptick in job growth, the Fed issued a statement of cautious optimism about economic recovery.  The IT industry, however, has more jobs than people to fill those jobs.  Though IT is forecast as one of the “hottest” careers for the future, IT employers need skilled people now.  So the question is not only how can young folks prepare for a career in IT, but how can people retool now to meet the need?

In a previous post, we suggested a skill that anyone in the IT industry needs: adaptability.  New employees entering the workforce should prepare for rapid change as technology transforms the way we live and work. Older employees need to embrace the changes coming down the pipeline.  Of course younger workers can benefit from the wise and vetted ways of their elders whereas the older employees can open their minds to the millennial innovation mindset.  Whether we brand it adaptability or flexibility, this malleability is essential for anyone entering the workforce now.

How does this philosophy translate into “actionable items”?  Those currently employed and those looking for jobs would do well to keep pace with current IT trends and keep learning programs or skills in demand.  Career website Indeed.com has analyzed data from job postings and summarized the top skills and programs IT employers need.  Last year’s top ten list included HTML5, mobile apps and, of course, the cloud.  But soft skills are proving to be equally important.  IT pros need both the tech know-how and the business sense to respond to these rapid changes.  This blog lists 6 Essential Skills for the Cloud Era and cites IT strategic consultant Jeff Kaplan who says IT pros need to “think like a CEO.”  CEOs don’t just manage product or service, they think about outcome, too.  While the old IT employee model focused on doing one thing well, the new IT workplace is much more interconnected and needs employees willing to play more than one role.

Of course filling IT jobs isn’t the panacea for the global economy, but getting people employed will help.

Economic growth is good news and we’re hopeful that IT will help propel us out of this slump.  But the new IT workplace and the economy need people who are a little more flexible or, like we said, willing to go with the flow.

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