February 06, 2012, 2:29 PM — The IT industry is losing out on new talent because schools and universities are not providing the information that students need to make informed career choices, a survey has found.
In a survey of 1,056 students at higher education institutions across the UK, CompTIA, the IT trade association, found that just 13% felt that their institution had fully equipped them to make career decisions.
Although nearly a fifth (18%) of students said they were interested in working in IT or technology, and 23% said they might be interested if they knew more about the careers, nearly half (41%) did not feel they were well-informed about the range of careers open to them.
"There is plenty of potential interest, but the lack of information means a huge number of technology jobs remain unfilled and motivated graduates remain unemployed unnecessarily," said John McGlinchey, VP of Europe and Middle East sales operations at CompTIA.
It also predicted that employment in the IT industry would grow at 2.19% a year over the next decade, which translates into more than half of a million new IT and telecoms professionals needed over the next five years.
CompTIA's survey found that 36% of students assume they need an IT or related degree to work in the industry.
While this is true for certain areas, such as programming, the association said that industry training and certifications have proven to be successful entry routes for non-technological graduates in many other areas of IT.
Other misconceptions students had about IT included the belief that the job involved sitting in a back room with little or no social contact.
Kevin Streater, executive director for IT Intelligence at the Open University, said: "For far too long there has been a false assumption that IT is too technical for most people to get into.
"The reality is that anyone who is educated, motivated and passionate about technology should consider a career in the industry. At its core, it is very much a career where you can keep learning, keep developing and keep your hands on technology."