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Is the technology skills gap fact or fiction?

Gary Beach | Sept. 6, 2013
Does a skills gap exist in the United States in general and in the IT market in particular?

Closing your tech skills gap may not be enough.

In the six years of research I invested in writing The U.S.Technology Skills Gap I came to this observation: While proficiency in the specific tech areas, like those reported by CompTIA, are indeed important and vital to your career as a tech professional, there are even more important skills you must master for career success. Skills that some derogatorily call "soft skills."

The Institute of the Future, a respected California-based think tank, collaborated with the University of Phoenix, the online university, to produce a report entitled "The Future of Work 2020" that claims skills like "novel and adaptive thinking, the ability to virtually collaborate, proficiency in new media literacy, cross cultural communication and cognitive load management" are the most essential skills to possess. How proficient are you in those areas?

And here's another reason why information technology professionals need to continue to hone their skill set: the service industry tipping point in the Peoples Republic of China. According to Wind Info, a Chinese financial services research firm, by the end of 2013 the percentage of Chinese workers who are employed in "services" jobs will surpass the number of workers in manufacturing jobs in China.

In a globally connected "flat" world that is a concern for all IT workers.

So, is the "skills gap" fact or fiction? For me, it is overwhelmingly a fact — particularly so in the information industry.

But perhaps the term "skills" gap is a misnomer.

Adam Davidson, an award-winning economic columnist for The New York Times, wrote an article in November 2012 about the skills gap in the manufacturing industry. In summing up his piece Davidson wrote that "the skills gap isn't a narrow problem facing the manufacturing industry. The so-called skills gap is really a gap in education, and that affects all of us."

 

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