Computer Economics recently predicted that 2007 would be the busiest year yet this decade for IT hiring. This is perhaps not all that exciting, when one considers the unpopularity of IT following the dot-com bust in the early part of the decade.
What makes the firm's projections a bit more compelling, however, is the number of companies in its survey -- 25 percent -- that indicated plans to grow their IT staff by at least 15 percent this year.
Not only that, but according to a Robert Half Technology report released in late 2006, IT workers can expect an average pay raise of 2.8 percent in 2007. Some IT folks, like software developers, should do considerably better.
A longer-term Department of Labor forecast, which shows the fastest-growing U.S. occupations for the years 2004-2014, appears to lend credence to these rosy outlooks for IT professionals. Fully a third of the 30 jobs listed relate to IT, and they are all located near the top of the list.
The only industry segment that fares better than IT is health care, which accounts for nearly half of the positions on the list.
The dark cloud encasing this silver lining, of course, is a possible shortage of professionals to fill these jobs. In a recent interview with IT Business Edge, the EVP of The Advisory Council says that many college students got soured on the idea of an IT career following the bust and, even with all of the optimistic job outlooks, university enrollment in IT programs has yet to recover. He says:
"What they used to view as a really hot career overnight came to be viewed as a bad option because they heard they would be competing with guys from India who were making a tenth as much money."
There is no quick fix to this problem, he adds. His suggestion for CIOs: Approach high schools with the idea of outreach programs that spotlight IT as a rewarding career.