Desperately seeking IT goobers

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

For the first time in years, universities need more nerds. The annual number of IT graduates is declining while the demand for computer science professionals is going up.

Over the past three years, the demand for IT professionals has doubled. Retiring baby-boomers are freeing up around 35,000 information and communication technology jobs per year.

The decline began in 2003, when computer science students found themselves in smaller classrooms and IT graduates started becoming rare.

“People got the idea that the degree meant no job,” Lucian Ilie, associate professor in the department of computer science at Western, said.

John Nakamura, a computer science course assistant at McMaster University, said, “People got more interested in other areas. At first there was a lot of money in computers " then, job opportunities just decreased.”

Software companies like Microsoft can expect difficulty finding professionally trained employees. Efforts are being made in cooperation with a Conference Board study commissioned by a coalition of Canadian employees. It projects as many as 58,000 new jobs in the information and communication technology industry next year.

“Obviously this is really bad and will have some effect on our business,” Frank Nanfara, CEO for computer software and hardware seller Torcomp, said.

“I would have thought there would be increase rather than a decrease in IT professionals.”

The success of these companies relies on a strong talent base, and much of this is being lost in retirement. It is clear there is a problem, but the solution is in the students.

Ilie stressed the importance of recruiting international students. The decline is “all over North America.” This means universities can and will bring in international computer science undergraduates.

“Enrolment is expected to go up,” Ilie noted.

Share this article on:

Facebook | DiggDigg |

Copyright © 2008 The Gazette