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United States Department of Labor published recently an interesting document Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition.  One of the chapters of the document  gives an insight at what IT skills will be in demand on US job market in 2011-2018.

The chapter talks about computer software engineers and computer programmers.  It defines two types of software engineers:

  • Computer application software engineers
  • Computer systems software engineers

Based on the definitions given by the document the former are roughly equal software application architects and tech leads/senior developers (those who design a code) while latter are equal to software enterprise  architects who define IT infrastructure and software operation engineers who deploy and maintain applications. Computer programmers as defined by the document are just coders without design functions.

There were 514K computer application software engineers, 394K computer systems software engineers and 428K computer programmers in the USA in 2008.

Employment of computer software engineers is expected to increase by 31% between 2008 and 2018 which is much faster than the average for all occupations.  31% growth in jobs within 10 years  is actually exceptional one by any measure. I knew the demand has been growing, but the magnitude is much bigger than I was thinking.

Employment of computer programmers is expected to decline by 3% between 2008 and 2018 (I did not expect this). The document mentions “advances in programming languages and tools, the growing ability of users to write and implement their own programs, and the offshore outsourcing” as the main reasons for the decline. This means that decline in quantity of computer programmers jobs is likely to be a local US effect which is not applicable globally; if computer programmers occupation declines due to outsourcing, those jobs going abroad do increase computer programmers occupation somewhere else, right?

But the fast growth of demand for computer software engineers is likely a global effect. World needs more and more of increasingly complex software.

This means in my opinion that professionals employed in one of roles classified as computer software engineers by the document may enjoy the best career prospects.  Something to think about if you work in IT 🙂

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