pop avata

BPO Journal

Saturday, April 01, 2006

IS Education - The Competitive Advantage of Nations

So, I am at Baylor University for an annual conference in Information Systems (IS). One of the panels in the conference today was titled "Declining Enrollment in MIS Programs and Implications for New PhD’s". The panel discussion was less pessimistic than its title. Many department Chairs said that enrollments were picking up and that the paranoia in the field was akin to the Gauls' fear of the sky falling on their heads. However, even the optimists expressed caution and the need to do more.

First, the decline in enrollments is paradoxical because of the growing strategic importance and ubiquity of IT. The panelists also pointed out that the IT sector is booming with several firms contacting the universities with a strong desire to potentially hire graduates. Therefore, there is a need to educate students and the population at large regarding the new opportunities for IT-based jobs in the marketplace. This includes allaying fears about outsourcing and highlighting its broader benefits to the economy. Irving Wladawsky does a great job at addressing dimensions of fear vs. reality in this post. To quote,

For every chip and semiconductor engineer out there, we need, say, five times the number of engineers designing products based on those chips, including hardware and systems software. We then need to design and build the many applications in a variety of industries that take advantage of these new products. And that results in another large multiplier for application engineers, perhaps another factor of five. Finally, we need another large number, say another factor of five in new jobs working with every business and institution to help them integrate IT into everything they do -- designing, building, operating and supporting their IT and business infrastructures. While the exact "multiplier" at each level varies, the number of marketplace-oriented jobs in the last two categories is probably one or two orders of magnitude higher than the number of lab-based jobs in the first two
categories. That is where the jobs growth lies.
In this post, I refer to an ACM study which emphasizes that to stay competitive in a global IT environment and industry, countries must adopt policies that foster innovation. To this end, policies that improve a country's ability to attract, educate, and retain the best IT talent are critical.

Therefore, not only must we work on allaying fears and concerns about the future of IT (jobs) to draw more people in the workforce, we must also work to increase incentives for talented professionals to contribute to technology initiatives and eliminate barriers to the free flow of talent. As Wladawsky says,
Young people in the developing world, in countries like China, India, Brazil and Russia do not seem to share the same views and are rapidly embracing the opportunities IT presents. Universities, businesses and governments, especially those in the developed world that aspire to leadership in the 21st century must do everything possible to address this challenge of perceptions and turn them around.
We have nothing to fear but the fear of competing itself. Can you believe the New York Times said that?

Outsourcing news
Blogcritics: news and reviews Blogarama - The Blog Directory Blogwise - blog directory Listed on BlogShares

     Take this Offshoring Survey