Information technology (IT) refers to the full range of computing technologies and the people that work with them. IT itself is among the world’s fastest-growing economic sectors, and is an integral part of most other sectors. Rapid growth and demand for IT services have led to critical workforce shortages. Efforts to address these shortages have largely focused on K–12 and college education while ignoring the post-graduate population. This is a critical error. The post-graduate population is a valuable potential source of high-skilled tech talent and diversity. Many individuals with computing-related degrees would benefit from updates to their training, while individuals with expertise in other areas increasingly stand to benefit from adding IT competencies to their existing skills. Expanding post-graduate education and training opportunities would give current employees additional avenues for advancement, while also offering displaced workers ways to reenter the job market with a new set of skills. Such opportunities would also help employers quickly meet workforce needs, enabling the IT sector to become more dynamic, agile, productive, and innovative.
The Biden-Harris Administration should make a substantial investment in post-graduate opportunities that enable college graduates from a range of disciplines to build or upgrade their computational skills. These opportunities could include everything from business-to-business (B2B) short-term classes to update computational skills, to Master of Science (MS) degree programs that don’t require prior computer-science experience, to research and mentoring experiences that prepare students for Ph.D. studies. When implemented at scale, such opportunities will enable our nation to address pressing IT talent shortages while empowering Americans of all backgrounds to participate in—and benefit from—the IT economy.
Note: An initial version of this document was posted as a Widening Participation Quadrennial Paper. Citation: Cuny, J.; Danyluk, A.; Rushmeier, H. (2020). Fostering a Post-Graduate Tech Boom. Computing Research Association.