The computer systems design and related services industry is among the economy’s largest and fastest sources of employment growth. Employment increased by 616,000 over the 1994-2004 periods, posting a staggering 8.0% annual growth rate. The projected 2004-14 employment increase of 453,000 translates into 1.6 million jobs, and represents a relatively slower annual growth rate of 3.4% as productivity increases and offshore outsourcing take their toll. However, the main growth catalyst for this industry is expected to be the persistent evolution of technology and businesses’ constant effort to absorb and integrate these resources to enhance their productivity and expand their market opportunities. Employment of computer and information systems managers is expected to grow between 18 to 26% for all occupations through the year 2014.
The education of the workforce in the IT industry ranges from a high school education to some post graduate study and/or specialized certifications, the latter exhibiting much needed demand for an increased role to be played by private postsecondary institutions. For all IT-related occupations, technical and professional certifications are growing more popular and increasingly important. IT workers must continually update and acquire new skills to remain qualified in this dynamic field. Completion of vocational training is also an asset. Management and many professional positions require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, and there is growing demand for further education with a shortage of programs in public secondary and postsecondary institutions.