By DANILAS PESCAUDE and LISA KERRENJENSENAssociated PressWASHINGTON (AP) The information technology job market in the U.S. is booming, but a lack of training is holding back potential graduates from entering the field.
The number of people seeking information technology jobs soared to 6.6 million last year from 3.7 million a decade earlier, according to the latest government data.
The job market is expected to grow another 5.1 percent this year, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The economy has been expanding at an annual rate of 5.4 percent.
About 1.3 million of the 6.7 billion people working in the workforce are in the tech industry.
Many of those jobs involve computers, software and network management.
The U.K. government says about 9 percent of its workforce is in the IT field.
“We’re in the midst of a new phase in our economic recovery,” said Dan P. Rieckhoff, president of the National Association of Information Technology Professionals.
“The data clearly shows that information technology has been a pillar of our economic development and job creation.”
But while the tech jobs market is booming there is still a lack in the training programs for the more than 2 million graduates who have applied for the jobs.
The shortage of job training programs is driving a steep decline in the number of students entering the industry, the BLS said.
The number of applications to technical schools dropped to 694,000 in 2015 from 1.1 million in 2014, according with a separate study released Tuesday by the American Association of University Professors.
The data, released by the BLEP, shows that more than a third of applicants were in the first year of college, while less than half were in advanced college and more than half in the fourth year.
“While the information industry is booming,” said John Riesen, president and chief executive of the American Information Technology Association, “it’s a very young industry and we’re seeing a lot of students going into the information tech field that don’t have the skills they need to advance.
They just don’t know how to get a degree.”
About 50 percent of graduates who entered the information-technology field have jobs.
But many of them lack a bachelor’s degree or higher, said Paul J. Cawthon, executive director of the B.I.T. Institute at George Mason University.
The institute says the shortage of computer science degrees is a bigger problem in the industry than the lack of information-tech training.
“There’s been an explosion of students in information technology.
This is a rapidly growing sector,” he said.”
A lot of them aren’t going to get jobs and won’t get a good education.
The degree they need is not being adequately funded.”
About 20 percent of those who graduated from college had jobs and 35 percent had at least a bachelor degree, according.
The lack of knowledge about information technology is also holding back graduates from completing their training programs, the association said.
The BLS says the number one reason for that shortage is the lack.
“Information technology graduates are more likely to have fewer years of experience in this industry and less experience in the job market,” it said.
Another big problem is that there are not enough technical colleges and universities to fill the needs of graduates.
The BLEM says more than 6,500 schools offer bachelor’s degrees and a minimum of 25 percent of their graduates end up going into IT careers.
That leaves more than 8,000 colleges offering only bachelor’s and computer-related degrees, the group said.
More than 40 percent of all students entering information technology programs have not completed their college degrees, which means they are less likely to be employed in the next few years, the report said.