March 29, 2012, 9:20 PM — WASHINGTON - U.S. officials Thursday said that offshoring will hurt the growth of programming jobs in in this decade, though expansion of health care IT and mobile networks will in turn increase demand for software developers, technical support and system analysts.
By 2020, employment in all computer occupations is expected to increase by 22%, but some IT fields will fare better than others, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) biennial update of employment projections.
Comparative growth rates
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Demand for software developers will be the strongest in this period, with increases ranging from 28% to 32%, depending on the type of software development.
The BLS update imagines what IT employment will look like through 2020.
The agency's forecasts, particularly for technology-related jobs, are often controversial because they can't account for rapid market changes and tech disruptions. But its estimates are often cited in various policy debates in issues ranging from U.S. educational needs to immigration policy.
The BLS IT employment growth rate was characterized as "anemic" by Victor Janulaitis, CEO of Janco Associates, which analyzes IT wage and employment trends.
"When you consider the overall demand for systems and applications in high growth markets like China and India, [the BLS projections] means the U.S. will be doing a diminishing portion of the development and implementation work," said Janulaitis. "If that's the case, the U.S. will no longer be the leader in IT.
"The BLS projections are a bad sign for the U.S. IT graduates from universities -- those numbers do not cover the net growth necessary to give all of the graduates jobs," Janulaitis added.
The outlook across IT occupations varies. The BLS outlook for various tech jobs follows:
Demand for database administrators is expected to increase by 31%, adding 33,900 jobs in this decade thanks to a need to make use of an ever-growing mountain of data.
The field employed 110,800 in 2010 at a median wage of $73,490.
For IT managers, employment is projected to increase 18% by 55,800 jobs to 363,700 jobs by 2020.