500000 Open IT JobsThere is an insane number of open computer jobs in the USA right now. “500,000” may seem like an unbelievable amount, but this really is the number of empty IT vacancies in the IT sector. Filling in positions for big data solutions, data science, cloud engineering, and software development is a challenge because the industrial demands are exceeding the number of computer engineers needed for them.

Tech-companies are really at a stretch and if they don’t take smart steps to overcome the employment gap, it will only get bigger. There is clear evidence that computer science demand is soaring, and IT enterprises need to act quickly to cater to the growing innovative demands.

Here are a few ways to bridge the gap.

1.    Improving Gender Diversity

STEM-related careers are dominantly assumed to be male dominated. One reason why there could be an alarming lack of IT candidates is insufficient gender representation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, diversity in computer science jobs is increasing— but very slowly.

The Current Population survey shows that currently there are 5 million people working in computer occupations. Unfortunately, only 24% of those are women. Diversity in computing jobs increased from 23.6% in 2015 to 24.4% in 2017. The shifts from thereon have been gradual and slow.

Code.org, a proud advocate of women working in the IT sector, boasts a majority of girls in their computing classrooms. However, despite such efforts, it will take over a century to balance out the male domination in the IT sector.

Nonetheless, a smart and socially laudable way to fill in those empty IT vacancies is to bring in more women at the workplace and to encourage their participating in data science, cloud engineering, and cyber security professions. It’s not easy for women to navigate their way in the IT industry.

The solution is going to be a massive structural change in the way Computer Science is taught in schools. Governments, district mayors, and educational institutions need to encourage more girls in STEM careers. We need more engaging programs and courses that instill a passion for tech and innovations in girls.

As a recruiting manager, your company should encourage diverse leaderships and encourage women to take up challenges in the IT field. You should listen, engage with, and acknowledge the ideas and contributions of the women in your organization.

Over time, your organization will become known for its inclusivity in tech and IT-related areas of work. And, this is the seed that will encourage more and more women to apply for a computing job. We need more women in tech to share their ideas and turn them into spectacular data and software solutions.

As unsung heroes in the tech industry, most of their potential remains untapped. And, this is the best time to fill in those empty jobs with capable women who are willing to take up IT-related challenges. Women like Mana Al-Sharif, Chantelle Bell, and Eileen Burbidge are proof that women can move mountains in the tech world.

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2.    More Inclusivity

An extension of the first point, if you really want to bridge the gap, it’s time for inclusive recruitment policies. By hiring an ethnically diverse pool of candidates, your tech company can experience enrichment in tech-related innovations and big data solutions.

This also entails including H-1B recipients in your recruitment pool. It can be hard for computer programmers to get H-1B visas. Even when they do get by, their employers have to offer clear evidence that the recipient fits the criteria of a “specialty occupation”. The move was pushed forward to encourage only highly-skilled professionals to apply for computer programming jobs.

However, it is limiting many talented young individuals who earnestly want to work in IT and tech companies. Breaking these limitations around H-1B visas is essential to access a greater pool of candidates seeking tech-related jobs.

3.    Encourage STEM-Education in Schools

As discussed above, the root cause of the unemployment gap is that students are hardly encouraged to try STEM careers once they graduate. However, the statistics are slowly changing. According to Code.org, around 33 states in the US have expanded the K-12 Computer Science program in 2019.

In Alabama, every K-12 school will offer a Computer Science program for students till 2023. Colorado is investing $1.25 million for CS Education programs in its district. And many other states like Florida, Indiana, and Michigan have come forth with huge investment to improve teacher learning in computer science courses.

Schools need to start making their STEM curricula more robust and inclusive. This will start by creating funding and training computer science teachers in areas of math and science. There is also a need to bridge the gap between educators and business leaders.

The educational institutions and the companies who will hire them need to parent up as well. The Business-Higher Education Forum is a platform specially created to bridge the gap in STEM careers.

A good example is how the University of Maryland joined hands with Northrup Grumman Corporation to start a residential honors program for Cybersecurity. The aim was to help students specialize in industrial requirements to become cyber-security professionals.

Hence, the bottomline is to encourage, initiate, and improve access to STEM related subjects, courses, and extra-curricular activities for male and female students. Through this collaboration between schools and businesses, both the parties will help improve the unemployment gap currently plaguing the IT sector.

The IT Sector is all about creative innovations, out-of-the-box data solutions, and using technology for greater social impact. A diverse group of teams, managers, and employees is necessary to thrive in the right direction.

Understanding how to fill IT jobs is more profound than simply attracting potential candidates with a handsome salary package. There is a great unemployment gap in the IT sector that must be addressed. And, that can only be done through structural measures like encouraging STEM-education, bringing in more women, and improving inclusivity in tech-companies.

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