IT job satisfaction high, but some troubling signs

Diversity of London
Lack of diversity could threaten the future of tech jobs, as many potential workers think a career in tech is not for them. (jonrawlinson/CC BY 2.0)

Fears about skills becoming obsolete, lack of diversity and filling jobs are clouds in a new IT survey.

The results from trade group CompTIA found some cautionary notes that could impact the industry's ability to fill the millions of tech jobs expected to become available through 2024. For example, nearly one-quarter of respondents said they are concerned about their skills becoming obsolete.

Women remain a small segment among IT professionals

Another major issue for the future of tech jobs is a lack of diversity in the industry that has many potential workers thinking that a career in tech is not for them.

Kristi Riordan, COO of the Flatiron School, a New York-based coding academy that provides financial assistance to women looking to get into tech, told Tech Target that while the entire organization should encourage women in IT, it's imperative that signoff on that policy comes from the top ranks. Really, it's part of the ethical criteria of being a CEO, she said.

"I would love to see a lot more conversation around the reasons why managers are crucial to supporting an inclusive and welcoming environment, what is expected of managers, how managers are evaluated," Riordan told Tech Target's Jason Sparapani. "I think they're a very, very important piece of the puzzle."

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Thirty-four percent of the women IT professionals surveyed only landed their role in IT after working in a non-IT job.

In past research, the industry group has similarly noted that women lack access to IT careers despite boys and girls generally using technology the same amount. It's possible that further classroom instruction, parental encouragement and the presence of female role models working in tech could counter the trend, says a press release on the study's findings.

Nancy Hammervik, executive vice president of industry relations at CompTIA, said developing a robust workforce that can effectively fill future jobs in cybersecurity, IoT, AI and other fields means companies have to attract and recruit a diverse workforce, both with and without college degrees.

The association expects that in the U.S. alone, 1.8 million tech workers will join the labor force through 2024. "We need to attract and recruit a diverse workforce of individuals, with and without college degrees,” Hammervik said.

Satisfaction up but advancement and guidance wanting

Overall, job satisfaction among information technology professionals is increasing, with heightened interest in cybersecurity and opportunities for more training and networking. In its 2015 survey, only 73% of IT professionals said they were satisfied with their jobs, but that figure has risen to 79% today.

Nearly three-quarters feel their job provides them with a sense of personal accomplishment, while 71% believe their job makes good use of their talents.

Half of the 820 IT professionals surveyed expressed an interest in working on cybersecurity-related issues—beating out the internet of things (30%) and artificial intelligence or machine learning (20%).

In additional findings:

  • 53% of IT pros surveyed would like more resources for training and professional development.
  • 48% seek more career advancement opportunities and career path guidance.
  • 61% report that involvement in a professional group would benefit their career.