Editor's Note: It's Time For IT To Get Off The Dime
If there's one thing I've learned from the many, many letters and the many comments on InformationWeek's Weblog (blog.informationweek.com/002758.html#comments), it's that when it comes to the IT workforce, there are those who think there's a shortage of skilled labor and those who think there are too many people out of work and desperately seeking good IT jobs. (Note to Microsoft's HR department: My in-box is full of resumés from people who believe they're worthy of the jobs you're having trouble filling. Please give me a call if you want to review.)
The fact is, there are talented IT folks who can't find good jobs. Maybe they're located in the wrong towns? Maybe they're demanding salaries that are twice what someone of equal talent would work for? Maybe they're lacking in business-side skills? Maybe they haven't kept their skills up to date in a fast-changing world? Some have, but for whatever reason they can't seem to get back on the IT career track. My heart goes out to them, especially those who truly love the trade and who have families to support.
But does that mean the United States should keep smart foreign IT workers from coming into this country? Fact is, some believe H-1B visas shouldn't be given to anyone. That's both shortsighted and extreme. Why should any business have to limit its ability to bring in smart, innovative people? Don't we all want the best? The best teachers for our children, the best doctors for our ailments, the best veterinarians for our pets? So why shouldn't we want the same for our business-technology projects?
It's easy to blame the U.S. education system for not doing enough to train future workers. But it's time to stop complaining and start doing something about it. I've heard of some extremely creative programs from the IT industry, but I'd love to hear more. What are you or your company doing to keep young students interested in math and science?