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Editor's Note: Future Is What You Make It

Would you recommend that your child or grandchild study computer science or an IT-related field in college or graduate school? It's a question we posed to readers on the InformationWeek Weblog this week.
Would you recommend that your child or grandchild study computer science or an IT-related field in college or graduate school? It's a question we posed to readers on the InformationWeek Weblog this week.

It also was a topic of discussion at Microsoft Research's Tech Fair in Washington, D.C., last week, where Microsoft chairman Bill Gates lamented the lagging enrollment in the sciences and the decline in foreign students interested in studying or pursuing careers in the United States. This comes at a time when opportunities for careers in IT and innovation through technology are brighter than ever, he says.

Indeed, the data looks quite good--IT unemployment is below 4% and average salaries have grown almost 6%. Yet two-thirds of the IT pros we surveyed in our recent salary survey said they don't consider IT as promising a career path as it used to be. Globalization and offshore outsourcing are part of the reason, but I think the future still looks bright for those who combine computer-science knowledge with business skills.

Some readers who contributed to our blog agree. "Today the IT industry still offers a great career path to those individuals who are committed and passionate about technology and its application. I would argue it also offers even greater opportunity because IT itself is now embedded into the product and service offerings of companies that are at the forefront of high-potential, high-growth industries," wrote one.

The advancement of health care through the use of IT certainly looks promising. Check out our cover story for a new level of innovation coming from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Still, others on the blog present a more dire view. "Being in IT is a great job for a young person fresh out of school, but it has no future," one person wrote. "IT is a temporary job, not a career--I realized that too late." So what do you think? Let us know at our blog.

Stephanie Stahl
Editor-in-chief
[email protected]