IT Jobs Will Be Hot With Obama In The White House - InformationWeek

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12/17/2008
04:36 PM
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IT Jobs Will Be Hot With Obama In The White House

There's a little more than a month before President-elect Barack Obama gets sworn in. Based on the hints he's provided so far about his economic stimulus plans and other programs, some pundits are predicting that demand for IT jobs will take off, especially in key sectors.

There's a little more than a month before President-elect Barack Obama gets sworn in. Based on the hints he's provided so far about his economic stimulus plans and other programs, some pundits are predicting that demand for IT jobs will take off, especially in key sectors."This will be the second best of times for IT people," after the dot-com boom, predicts Rob McGovern, CEO of online job matching site, JobFox, in an interview with InformationWeek.

"Our economy is an information-based economy, and Obama's $700 billion economic stimulus programs will create millions of new jobs -- and that means it's a good time to be an IT person," he says.

Some sectors will be particularly promising for tech talent, says McGovern. That includes health care. Obama has said a major component of his economic recovery plan focuses on building a health care IT infrastructure and promoting the use of electronic medical records by doctors.

As you probably know, the Bush administration also pushed the adoption of health IT, including the creation of a national, interoperable health information highway. While progress has been made in the adoption of e-medical record systems by hospitals and doctors over the last several years, there's still by far a much bigger reliance on paper than digital records in health care. Obama's expected to put more funding behind various health care IT-related initiatives. Under Obama's administration, McGovern expects the health care industry's demand will strengthen for a variety of IT talent, including software developers, security experts, and bio-informatics specialists.

Health care isn't the only industry that will be seeking IT expertise over the next four years, says McGovern. Other industries include the alternative energy sector, which will be looking for various kinds of specialized engineering expertise, but also more mainstream tech talent.

"I'd rather be an IT person doing work on the accounting system for a company that's building solar energy products than the accounting system of an automotive company," says McGovern. "IT people typically leave jobs for more interesting work, and smart people will find interesting IT jobs in promising industries."

Also, Obama's initiatives related to revamping the nation's roads, bridges, transit system, and extending rural broadband also will fuel the creation of new tech-related jobs needing telecommunication engineers and computer-aided drafting expertise, predicts McGovern.

Meanwhile, moves toward greater oversight of the financial markets in the wake of Wall Street's recent crisis also will bring a need for compliance specialists, including tech expertise.

One last tech-job related prediction from McGovern: "You won't see an increase in the number of annual H-1B visas," something that Congress has been weighing the last several years. Between the weak economy and a Democrat-controlled Congress, McGovern doubts increases to the H-1B cap will come anytime soon, although reforms to crack down on visa abuse and fraud by employers will likely gain support.

"The ability for companies to import foreign IT talent will get more difficult," he says, "but that will be good for American workers."

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