How to deal with the IT skills shortage

If you are looking for a career in IT, you will probably have heard people talking about an ‘IT skills shortage’. But what is this actually all about?

The IT skills shortage does not mean that there is a lack of applicants for IT roles. It means that candidates are not coming into the industry with the right skills. Corporations are favouring more experienced professionals to ensure the quality and efficiency of their IT systems meet that of their competitors.

Don’t panic. If you are planning to launch a career in IT, there are various ways to ensure that you stand out in the job market and make yourself a valuable asset in the ever-evolving IT sector.

Do not underestimate the value of older technologiesMany students believe that with the rise of mobile apps and tablets, they should concentrate only on learning the new technologies. I will not dispute that this is valuable, however, there is often a shelf-life for these trends that is not applicable to other areas of IT. For example, Cobol, LISP, Fortran and Perl are still used today in businesses and, because many younger IT professionals wrongly consider these to be dead languages, there is a high demand for programmers with these skills.

Computer technology

“My advice is not to become an expert in these languages, but to not underestimate the value they still hold and the doors that being familiar with them can open”

Dr Frey commented to news.com in September 2012, "Most major corporations use computer languages no longer taught at universities, so companies are coming to the conclusion that they're going to have to rewrite everything because we don't have people with the talent to maintain it anymore."

Although many companies will choose to re-write these systems, at a hefty cost, they will still need programmers who are familiar with these older technologies to make the transition. My advice is not to become an expert in these languages, but to not underestimate the value they still hold and the doors that being familiar with them can open.

If the opportunity arises to learn, do not dismiss it.

University is not enoughSo you want to be a Java Developer. How much java development have you actually done at university? Ask yourself, if you were an employer looking to hire a Java Developer to work on critical software for your business, would you hire someone who did a module on Java at university and maybe completed a project or two using the language? Or a recent graduate who can also say he/she has developed websites, software or applications in their spare time, and you are able to see the work they have done and prove the efficiency?

You would definitely be more likely to hire the latter person.

Studying IT in the UK

“If the opportunity arises to learn, do not dismiss it”

Read all about ITThe world is progressing faster than ever and you need to make sure you're not left behind. If you want to know about new methods and breaking technologies, and you should because it will affect you, then you need to keep up with industry news.

If you are truly passionate about IT, you should enjoy doing so.

Be agileOkay, forgive me for the IT pun, but I cannot stress enough the importance of being flexible when you are starting your career. This goes for any industry.

Write down a description of your perfect job in IT, then move it to the second page. On the first, write a 3-5 year plan of how you are going to get there, because the chances are this is not what you will be doing when you first graduate.

For most people, post graduation is the time in your life where you have the most freedom and the fewest commitments so most can afford to be flexible for a while, on location, on time and yes, even on salary.

Opportunities work out for those who embrace them whole-heartedly. When it comes to your career, the end justifies the means so get involved and be agile.

computer technology parts

“If taking computers apart appeals to you, then take computers apart. If you enjoy putting them back together again, then do so - especially if it is not your machine!”

If you want to do IT, then do ITA popular piece of advice for writers is ‘if you want to write, then write’.

If you are passionate about something then you should just do it. If taking computers apart appeals to you, then take computers apart. If you enjoy putting them back together again, then do so - especially if it is not your machine!

The point is, you will get further in your field if you demonstrate the enthusiasm to keep learning. If you have this, you will naturally continue to perfect your craft. That, together with your drive to succeed, will make you more employable than your peers, and maybe even allow you to compete with the more experienced professionals, for the better roles.

By Emily Dauris, of the FDM Group. To read the full article, visit blog.fdmgroup.com

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