Apr 02 2012

IT Jobs to Grow in the Next 10 Years, but Outlook Is a Mixed Bag

Some positions in IT can expect a boost, while others may diminish due to outsourcing, according to predictions from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There’s good news for those looking to enter the IT field: Technology jobs are set to grow at rates at or above average across the board by 2020, according to forecasts by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The bad news: Not all IT jobs will see that amount of growth.

According to the BLS data, these IT jobs have the strongest forecast for growth for the next 10 years:

  • 31% Database administrators
  • 30% Software developers
  • 28% Network and system administrators
  • 22% Computer systems analysts
  • 22% Information security/web developers/network architects
  • 19% Computer and information researchers
  • 18% Tech support
  • 12% Computer programmers

If this data seems underwhelming to you, you’re not alone. ComputerWorld’s Patrick Thibodeau took a look at the BLS data and spoke with two experts who disputed the government agency’s predictions.

Ron Hira, an associate professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology, said the BLS IT forecasts have been wildly wrong in the past.

"Volatile occupations tend to be subject to bad forecasts, and it's clear that computer occupation employment levels are very hard to forecast," said Hira.

David Foote, CEO of Foote Partners, an IT labor market research firm, scoffed at the BLS's projections and said they extended too far out into the future to be reliable.

In light of "current market volatility and uncertainty which is unprecedented," Foote said that anyone who makes a 10-year IT employment projection "is kidding themselves."

Regardless of how much stock you place in these predictions, the future of IT employment is certainly poised to be competitive as businesses increasingly rely on technology for operations, marketing and efficiency.

For more great content from around the web, check out the 50 Must-Read IT Blogs from BizTech.