Education and Training

IT Workforce: On the Brink

Gone are the days wherein people consider the IT field as the “minefield” for opportunities. A recent survey done by AFCOM showed an alarming trend in the world of IT workforce.

There were 179 IT managers who participated in the survey which aims to find out the latest trend when it comes to workforce in the IT industry. The survey results were able to reveal two relevant nformation:

  • there is an increasing rate of aging workforce in the IT department
  • increase rate in automation

Declining IT WorkforceWorkforce

This is one of the results revealed in the survey conducted. More than half of the participants revealed that at they need at least three months in order to fill up the senior-level technical and management positions that are vacant in their company. Aside from that, 38% of the participants revealed that they are employing less employees that they did five years ago. The survey predicted that by the year 2015, data center workers would decline by 45%.

The Retirement Trend

The survey also revealed that the IT workforce are fast approaching retirement age and replacement for these employments are not coming anytime soon. Nate Viall, a Des Moines-based recruiter who specializes in finding application developers for the IBM iSeries remarked that: 20% of the candidates in his database have 25 years or more of IT experience which is more than triple the percentage in 1999.

The survey was also able to gather information and reasons why the IT workforce is decling and this is the end result:

    Reasons for Cutting the IT Workforce

  • Technology – 74%
  • Automation – 65%
  • Budget cuts – 47.5%
  • Outsourcing – 18.3%
  • Aging/retirement – 18.3%
  • Other – 17%
  • Lack of applicants – 15.8%

Thoughts and Insights

I think the case of people actually losing interest in working for IT is because of the negative publicity sorrounding it. In my opinion, one factor which affects the IT workforce is the exaggeration focused on offshoring/outsourcing certain IT functions. Let’s face it. There are a lot of opportunities available in the IT industry and even if some functions are outsourced, there are still a lot that still remains on its homeland. I guess that people should be more open towards this business trend because as of the moment, it is not going anywhere. Deal with it.

From “Techie” to PM? Think Again

Question: Do you think that a techno-genius should be promoted when he/she has people skills and know how to make a proper appearance?

If your answer to this question is yes, you better think about your decision for more than 100 times. According to the article entitled Great IT Leaders Have To Be Made, Execs Say, being an effective project manager is more than just having the basic skills needed for the job. Kay Palmer, CIO of J.B. Hunt Transport Inc. remarked that if a person pursued this kind of decision over the matter, there is a chance that you could find yourself having a “so-so” manager rather than an effective one.

The best way to find out if a person has the qualities of being an effective project manager is by training them. The training done to these people would include commitment from the part of the participants. One example of these training programs available is the one used by Jerry Bartlett, CIO of TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation. The CIO mentioned that there are three programs included in his kind of training and these are:

  • evaluation of personal characteristics
  • assigning industrial psychologist that is not situated in the firm
  • educating and tutoring by mentors

The CIO believed that with these three aspects in his training program, a person could develop into an effective and worthy project manager in their firm.

On the other hand, survey results from the survey conducted by Computerworld in response to this question (How are you working to develop the next generation of IT leaders?) yielded the following results:

  • 56% – mentoring the expected replacement
  • 45% – implementation of an in-house leadership development program
  • 43% – rotating promising IT leaders through different tasks
  • 24% – putting a formal succession plan in place
  • 23% – collaborating with universities in order to directly recruit graduates

Thoughts and Insights

Being a Project Manager is more than just the glory-there is also the hardwork associated with it. I believe that every person have the skills needed to be an effective project manager, it just depends on how a person is going to use it and how one could go about it. Of course, there is no harm in further enhancing these skills for the betterment of that person. By being a project manager, a person is expected to have the basic “techie” skills, communication skills, and management skills that would help a person shift from being effective to being an expert PM.

Innovation Starts in School

Innovation is a term that is not only applicable to technology but to almost every aspect in life. In the article entitled Reading, Writing, and Creativity, it shows the interview done with Education guru Sir Ken Robinson that points out the importance of innovation and creativity in every aspect of our lives-either in school or in the corporate world.

When asked about his definition of creativity, Sir Ken Robinson mentioned this:

Ultimately it’s the process of having original ideas, but there are several steps. The first step is imagination, the capacity that we all have to see something in the mind’s eye. Creativity is then using that imagination to solve problems — call it applied imagination. Then innovation is putting that creativity into practice as applied creativity.

Sounds encouraging isn’t it? That is precisely what the education guru is pointing at. Each and everyone of us has the capability of being creative which blurs the notion that only artists have the right to be creative. The main ingredient needed to be creative is the motivation to do so and in order for people to take the creative approach, they have to incorporate it through the shool curriculum. The education guru pointed out that today’s curriculum is more concentrated on science and math subjects which are considered as theory-based ones. Though this kind of approach is not bad, he suggests incorporating more creative-based ones which could help young students to be in tune with their creative side thus fueling their imagination.

In terms of the corporate world, Sir Robinson points out that most firms are making a wrong approach in this situation. Instead of focusing on the outside creative human resources, firms should utilize the human resources that they have because all people have a creative minds and stimulating their creation through the firm’s environment or company activities. The firm should be an active part in stimulating a creative work environment for their employees. Sir Robinson also added that firms should know how to enhance the firm’s strengths and abilities for the betterment of their firm and their employees.

Thoughts and Insights

Creativity in a person is often taken for granted because of the misconception that only artistic people have the ability to channel their creativity. Through this article, people-firm leaders or not could recognize the truth that each and everyone of us have the potential to be more in terms of thinking creatively. Innovation and creativity should not start in the corporate setting. In fact, it would be best if it would start in the school setting which could help young people grow into a creative environment thus prompting them to hone their skills. Through creativity, people would be more bold in approaching things and the word redundant would cease to exist.