The booming tech industry is in need of American workers

The booming tech industry is in need of American workers

America needs tech workers like never before. If 350 new workers joined the tech industry every day for the next seven years, that would still only get us halfway towards addressing the 1.8 million tech jobs that are projected to be unfilled through 2024. 

Think for a minute about the challenges to recruiting and developing a tech workforce. First, we need diverse groups of students to consider technology as a career. Then we need to keep their interest and create a pipeline so they can find jobs that meet their interests and skill sets.

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To achieve all that, we need to overcome not only a skills gap but also a confidence gap — which is experienced by those who don’t think tech is for them.

 

We see it every day: lawyers’ children are more apt to become lawyers, just as the kids of small business owners are more likely to start their own venture. That’s because having seen it from a close family member or friend, it seems attainable and it gives them confidence that they can do it, too. 

Why does all this matter? Because our tech workforce is an economic security asset. The United States led the development of the first stage of the internet from 1995-2007 that was defined by web storefronts, retail and infrastructure. Then it spawned and led the second stage driven by mobile devices, consumer-driven apps and disrupted industries.

Now the question is: will America lead the third wave of artificial intelligence, cyber security, smart cities and Internet of Things? 

To do so, we need to expand the universe of those who see technology as a career choice — especially among women and minorities, who are most often not encouraged towards technology or don’t have a role model in the tech workforce to emulate.  

There are hundreds of thousands of jobs in the tech industry that need filling, including many that do not require a college degree. So, how do we bridge the gap between those looking for a career and an industry in desperate need of workers? 

To solve this problem, we need to accelerate industry and governmental programs to recruit and develop tech workers.

This is one reason that CompTIA AITP was launched. It’s an IT pro association aimed at helping Americans — whether they have a college degree or not — chart a pathway to a technology career.

With local chapters in 20 states, this initiative connects new and existing tech workers with job postings in their region and helps them grow their careers through skills development, networking and mentorship programs.  

Closing the confidence gap — so that a diverse mix of people see a future in technology — is a role consistent with the legacy of CompTIA, which has provided certifications to 1.2 million tech workers to strengthen skill sets.

One of the most pressing issues for Americans is what their future jobs look like, especially if they do not have a college degree. We must make it a national priority to close the confidence gap and show Americans of all backgrounds that they have a role waiting for them in our technology-driven economy. 

By helping Americans find a career in the tech industry, we can eliminate worries about their personal economic future and ensure our nation has a workforce that will shape the 21st century economy.  

Nancy Hammervik is executive vice president of Industry Relations at CompTIA, the world's leading technology association, with approximately 2,000 member companies, 3,000 academic and training partners, over 100,000 registered users and more than two million IT certifications issued.