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Entry-level IT jobs will be plentiful in 2012, experts predict

Carolyn Duffy Marsan | Dec. 15, 2011
Here is good news for college seniors with technology skills: The entry-level job market for IT workers looks solid in 2012.

Sias says she would hire a recent graduate with a computer science degree who has developed an application for a smartphone that is available at an app store. "That's definitely something of interest whether the person is just getting into IT or has a lifetime of programming experience," she says.

Gartner anticipates entry-level opportunities for techies with service providers, particularly those providing cloud-based applications.

"The purely technical roles will not necessarily be in IT but more in technology providers and vendors, including traditional outsourcing or cloud companies," says Lily Mok, vice president at Gartner for CIO Research.

CIOs will be looking for entry-level workers with communications and business skills who can manage IT service providers and who can bridge the gap between the IT department and lines of business.

"We're also seeing different kinds of jobs that are not pure IT," Mok says. "We see organizations not just hiring computer science majors, but hiring people who have a business or even arts background who can work in these roles and can be trained in the tech aspects of the jobs."

These hybrid jobs bringing together technical and business skills will be available in many industries, including healthcare, financial and retail.

"People who are looking to get into a particular industry will see a lot of IT-related opportunities," Sias says. "We see a lot of IT related to healthcare such as electronic medical records analysts. In retail, we see entry-level positions for installing point-of-sale systems and troubleshooting those systems. There are IT opportunities in marketing around search engine optimization."

Another area that's ripe for newly minted college grads is business analytics, which is being taught in more colleges such as Northwestern University, which recently inked a partnership with IBM.

"No longer are analytics skills limited to those studying computer science. Regardless of their area of study, students need a solid understanding of how analytics technology can transform their industry by unlocking critical insights hidden in data," says IBM's Deepak Advani, vice president of predictive analytics. "Students with a combination of industry/topic expertise and an understanding of analytics will be well positioned for jobs of the future."

Sias recommends that CIOs look to recent college grads to find IT workers who might replace baby boomers retiring in the next few years. They also may be more loyal and less likely to leave in one or two years compared to those in their late 20s and early 30s.

"If you start bringing on college grads now and start developing them by putting them in programs to educate them, you can let the baby boomer generation do the handholding for them," Sias recommends.


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