The Great Skills Shortage Debate

Is the shortage of crucial skills real, or are IT employers just too picky?

On one hand, theres dot-com die-off. there are H1-B visas going begging. There are job boards seeing IT job-seeker traffic as if theyre Los Angeles freeways. On the other hand, enterprises are still gnashing their teeth, hungry for networking, security, e-commerce/Internet, customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning skills that they say they just cant find.

It all raises an obvious question: Is the IT skills shortage real or imagined? eWeek asked a couple of well-known—and very opinionated—experts on the subject to take a crack at providing answers. Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America trade group, maintains in the article below that the talent shortfall is still running in the range of some 425,000 IT jobs that will go unfilled this year. An opposing voice, University of California, Davis, computer science professor Norman Matloff—long an opponent of what he says are unreasoned H1-B increases and discriminatory enterprise hiring practices—answers that this shortfall is a bed that enterprise IT has made with its growing fussiness over hot skills. Having made the bed, IT must lie in it, Matloff says.

Whos right? At the end of the day, perhaps it doesnt matter. What matters is whether your enterprise has the IT skills it needs to stay alive, and to grow, during these troubled times. Whether you get there by training, changing your hiring strategy or outsourcing should be determined by circumstances and values unique to your enterprise. Please feel free to join the discussion by sending your take to [email protected]