Survey: Computer Industry to Recover First

Group of top engineers say computer industry will lead tech industries in recovering from the economic slump.

Top engineers across the board say the computer industry will be the first to recover among the engineering-related fields.

According to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), top engineers across a variety of disciplines said they believe the computer industry would recover from the current economic slump before other technology industries, such as semiconductors, energy and telecommunications.

The IEEE conducted a survey of its IEEE Fellows, or VIP members of the longstanding technology organization. IEEE Fellows are recognized for significant contributions or accomplishments in their disciplines. Of the organizations some 385,000 members, about 6,000 are fellows, IEEE officials said.

The IEEE survey looked at the data in two ways: responses from fellows in specific industries and responses overall. Respondents from the computer industry were far more optimistic than those overall as to which industry would recover first—although the computer industry came out ahead in both breakdowns. According to the IEEE survey, 69 percent of the respondents working in the computer industry said it would be the first out of the slump, while 49 percent of respondents overall said the computer industry would be first to recover. Also in the industry-specific breakdown, the semiconductor industry trailed closely behind the computer industry, as 62 percent of the respondents working in the semiconductor industry said they expected that industry to turn around first. According to the industry-specific responses, energy ranked next and telecommunications last. As far as the overall breakdown, the computer industry led the way, followed by the energy, semiconductor and telecommunications industries.

Other insights from the survey indicate that 52 percent of IEEE Fellows believe that Moores law—which states that the information storable on a given amount of silicon (chip) doubles every year (later modified to every 18 months)—will hold for another five to 10 years. Also, according to the survey, 85 percent of the respondents said they believe top students are passing up engineering as a career option because they can make more money in other fields. The survey also showed that IEEE Fellows said the top three areas where technology can help society are in energy development, combating terrorism and protecting the environment.