Martin Slofstra at ITBusiness.ca has been asking if IT is losing its lustre as a profession. Does anyone care about IT as a profession anymore? This is all part of a discussion of the declining numbers of women in IT, declining enrollment in IT education, etc.
I think we are at a point where we must decide what is the future of IT in Canada.
Will it be like the auto industry where government, business and labour got together, promoted it and created a vibrant business.
Or will it be like consumer electronics, which was allowed to wither away with no one really doing anything about it. Does anyone remember when Electrohome was a major player, making TVs in Kitchener? Seems like another world now.
If we do nothing, today’s youth will make the decision for us. They aren’t going to believe anyone telling them about how great a career IT is, not even Bill Gates. They see jobs being shipped overseas and they decide to look elsewhere for a career. They aren’t going believe some marketing spin, they are way too used to seeing through it. To attract them we have to prove our commitment to the future of IT on the street with sustained real investments.
Otherwise, at some point outsourcing becomes self-fulfilling. If you scare off enough workers, there aren’t enough left to support a viable IT industry and then outsourcing is the only option. Fifteen years from now will Canadian business be complaining that it is beholden to its Indian IT providers? Bet that is what India has in mind.
So do we support the IT industry in the way that brought Toyota to Cambidge or saved the plants in Oakville and Oshawa? Or do we toss it in the dumpster along with that old Electrohome TV?