Magazine article Black Enterprise

Tech Careers 2001

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Tech Careers 2001

Article excerpt

IT is one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S. Here's where the jobs are and how to get the skills to land them.

If you've ever watched daytime or late-night TV you've probably seen the commercials for Apex, Chubb and DeVry institutes. These technical schools promise to open the doors to lucrative information technology (IT) careers with just a few months of training. Yew ago, these ads prompted laughter and snide remarks. But today, the schools and their graduates are laughing all the way to the bank.

"This is such a great time in the technology job market. Anybody with six months of training from a technical school can come out and make at least $30,000," states Sam Washington, a recruiter at Apollo Programming Industries, a black-owned technical staffing firm in Silicon Valley, California. "In two years that salary can easily double."

The proliferation of tech graduates commanding hefty salaries has taken the stigma out of the term "vocational school." Computer science has become one of the most popular majors in universities across the country and employers are clamoring to shore up the best and brightest, often luring them with tempting signing bonuses and stock options.

A 1998 study conducted by Virginia Tech and the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) (www.itaa.org), in Arlington, Virginia, reveals a shortage of over 340,000 IT workers in the U.S. This deficit isn't expected to abate anytime soon.

With the need for workers so great, companies are looking to India, Eastern Europe and South America for programmers, developers and systems analysts. Earlier this year, talent-starved firms successfully lobbied Congress for an increase in foreign worker visas from 65,000 to 90,000 annually. Still, that's only a stopgap measure. Homegrown talent must be identified and trained in order to successfully fill the void. …

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