The Association for Computing Machinery, the professional organization that issued the report, says that there are more information technology jobs today than at the height of the dot-com boom. While 2 to 3 percent of American jobs in the field migrate to other nations each year, new jobs have thus far more than made up for the loss.
That picture, of course, stands in contrast with the more familiar gloomy depiction of runaway outsourcing. Perhaps that explains what the report says is declining interest in computer science among American college students. Students may think, Why bother if all the jobs are in India? But the computer sector is booming, while the number of students interested in going into the field is falling.
The industry isn’t gone, but it will be if we don’t start generating the necessary dynamic work force. The association says that higher-end technology jobs like those in research are beginning to go overseas and that policies to “attract, educate and retain the best I.T. talent are critical” to future success. Given the post 9/11 approach to immigration and the state of math and science education in America, that is hardly encouraging.
Information technology jobs won’t go away unless we let them. Computing in the past five years has become, according to the report, “a truly global industry.” In the next few years, jobs won’t just land in our laps. We have nothing to fear but the fear of competing itself.
We covered the report from ACM’s Job Migration Task Force recently in this space. Given the amount of work I know went into it, I’m pleased that the report appears to be having such significant impact.
Update: (9:40 am, 3/1) – The Wall Street Journal has a related piece today titled Market is Hot for High-Skilled in Silicon Valley. I assume it’s publicly available. If not, I’ll excerpt it a bit. But the lead tells the story:
Five years after the dot-com bubble burst, job growth has returned to Silicon Valley. But it’s a different kind of growth than in past recoveries, favoring higher-skilled workers.