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High Five: Meet Jim Noble, President Of The Society For Information Management

As new president of the Society for Information Management, Jim Noble--a managing director for Merrill Lynch and until recently CIO of Altria Group--will push new programs that address both ends of the IT workforce: attracting young people to the field and helping current tech pros evolve their careers.
Jim Noble
President of the Society for Information Management

Interview by Marianne Kolbasuk McGee

Bob Young, CEO of Lulu

Photograph by Ken Schles




1
OFFSHORE OUTLOOK
"Parents and young people have the impression that all IT jobs are going offshore, but only 2% of the total U.S. IT workforce is being offshored" currently, he says. With fewer young people entering IT and baby boomers reaching retirement age, "there's a net shortfall," he says. "Through necessity, we may need to offshore jobs."

2
CHANGING MINDS
In 2006, SIM leaders hit a dozen college campuses with events to spark students' interest in IT and bust myths. But now SIM is shifting its focus to younger kids. "We were late in the life cycle," he says. "We need to move to high schools before kids sign up" for their college majors.

3
TOP OF THE HEAP
"IT is the emerging route to get to the top" of the corporate ladder, Noble says. "IT is a great stepping stone to general management. ... We're not just knocking on doors, we're pushing open the door," finding ways to improve processes and optimize the business.

4
VIRTUAL HOBNOBBING
"The most important thing on [SIM's] agenda is giving members help with their careers," he says. A new SIM portal allows members to network with each other through Webcasts and blogs. "Our members have so little time, they can't spare a few hours" to attend events in person a lot of the time, he adds.

5
HIGH SPEED
"I come from a fast family," says Noble. One cousin was a world land-speed record holder, and another manufactures one of the fastest series production road cars in the world, the Noble M400. "I own and race one of these cars, having been a driver of 'rally' racing cars for Ford of Europe in my younger days."

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