Students need IT skills to compete in the newest economy

Employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 13 percent over what it had been in 2016. Jobs in these fields will demand skills in cloud computing, big data collection and storage, information security and more.

As I argue in a paper in the Journal of Monetary Economics with Giovanni Gallipoli, these information technology – or IT – skills are increasingly required if you’ll need a job with upward mobility and autonomy.

A brand new “IT intensity” index that I developed illustrates this trend. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that measures tasks and skills across occupations, the index gauges how much occupations deal with information technology free Xbox live codes. I developed this IT intensity index as a labor economist who studies macroeconomic trends, policy and their interaction with individuals and labor markets.

Whilst the index is definately not perfect, it allows us to distinguish between jobs that need more interaction with computers, whether it’s software engineering or coding.

Escalation in IT jobs

Using our IT intensity index, along with data tables from the Occupation Employment Statistics program, I discovered that IT intensive occupations grew by 19.5 percent between 2004 and 2017, while less IT intensive occupations only grew by 2.4 percent. That’s significantly more than eight times as large of a growth rate within the last decade.

And yet, companies routinely complain about not to be able to find enough workers. Whilst the skills gap for digital and technical tasks is large, some researchers argue it’s largest for cybersecurity.

There is also concern about unmet demand for coordination and communication skills.

The fact that so many prospective job candidates lack these skills may help explain the decline in labor force participation and stagnation of median hourly wages within the last few decades.

On the other hand, new research shows that the economic benefits of technological advancements – including the development of artificial intelligence – do not necessarily arrive straight away in national measurements of productivity growth. The study blames “implementation lags” in technology as a likely culprit.

New models in higher education

Educational institutions might help turn things around by equipping individuals with IT skills. Technology is changing at an increasing rate and a four-year degree might not give students the skills they need to remain competitive until retirement. Students today must become lifelong learners. To accomplish this, universities need to provide their services to enough students to make a direct effect and focus on teaching relevant and tangible skills, particularly around data analysis, that are in increased demand. Several universities stand out as leaders in this regard.

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