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IBM And Universities Feeling The Loss Of Talented U.S. IT Workers

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There is a projected shortage of IT workers in the U.S. in the coming years no doubt in part due to the way companies have been outsourcing so many jobs overseas and cutting off the path of experience that is required by new workers in the tech industry (see my entry "Outsourcing The Entry-Level Education Of Americas Technology Sector"). With the outsourcing continuing, universities are seeing a sharp decline in the "best and brightest" that are even attempting to pursue the technology career path.

A commenter and recent graduate with a CS degree over at Slashdot noticed this decline.

I think it's kind of surprising how many fewer CS students there are, though. I just got my BCS last year, and there were over 120 CS students who started at the same time as me (not sure how many graduated). Do you know how many students applied to CS at my school this year? 12.
It's really a shame that we would allow this to continue. Now IBM and the universities are getting together and discussing ways of tricking people back into taking on technology through marketing campaigns. I'm kind of curious how many jobs IBM outsources.

Durham Herald-Sun

With a critical shortage of Information Technology workers projected in the coming years, it's crucial that university computer science departments do all they can to attract top students to the field, a local IBM official said Tuesday.

At IBM University Day in Research Triangle Park on Tuesday, leading IBM officials and university professors from across the region gathered to discuss new ways of marketing computer careers to up-and-coming students.


Duke professor Owen Astrachan said his department wants to pay attention to "untapped" interdisciplinary alliances. Duke economic students, or business students, could benefit from taking computer science courses, Astrachan said.

"The slope shows an unbelievable decline in computer science majors," Astrachan said. "There are smart people no longer even signing up to take our introductory courses. We need to fix it, or there's not going to be a U.S. work force in computer sciences."

And that's the exact problem IBM is trying to avoid by partnering with universities through the Academic Initiative. IBM has contributed more than $30 million in the last 15 years to universities across the state ... But IBM also hopes it receives a leg up in recruiting the best and brightest when graduation day approaches.

IBM doesn't give a crap about the rest of the students tricked into taking technology courses. All they really want is the top end students, the rest of the positions at IBM will be outsourced like the rest of the companies in America are doing. The bottom 95% of students will be left with a degree that won't allow them to get a job that pays a living wage.

People who go into technology generally aren't stupid when it comes to math and they can do the calculations on the back of a napkin and realize that they're going to get shafted in the end.

The other issue is the amount of students from foreign countries who come to our colleges and then go back to their country when they get their degree. They can then charge the cheap labor price and provide a service. With no controls in place to level the playing field the American worker is once again at a massive disadvantage. Most will avoid this entirely, that is unless they get tricked by the marketing.

Tipped by: Slashdot

Other Commentary:

Larry Borsato who adds

... I was in a meeting and someone from a local technology advocacy organization was telling us that theye were more than 1000 open positions locally, and HR folks just couldn't find anybody to fill them. One of the other people in the meeting asked if the problem was that they couldn't find people, or that they couldn't find cheap people. That ended the discussion.

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