Tech workers are in high demand, and a college degree might not be a requirement for entry these days.
The nonprofit technology industry trade association CompTIA has launched a member support and advocacy organization to attract technology workers of all backgrounds and education levels, addressing the issue of unfilled tech jobs.
The Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP), which formally launched Tuesday, said it will offer an online job search tool, online courses and other educational materials, and networking and mentoring opportunities to help workers develop skills and build or advance their careers.
CompTIA actually acquired AITP earlier this year, and this is a brand refresh of sorts under CompTIA's umbrella. In a statement announcing the launch, AITP said the shortage of tech workers is due to more than just a skills gap but also a “confidence gap” -- meaning many potential employees think they don’t have the right background to work in the tech industry.
“America’s tech workforce is a national asset, and we need it to grow and develop so that the next wave of technology – smart cities, IoT, cyber security and artificial intelligence – can reach their potential,” Nancy Hammervik, executive vice president of industry relations for CompTIA, said in the statement. “What CompTIA AITP represents is an organization helping tech workers of all backgrounds and education enter the workforce, grow in their skills and have successful careers.”
Addressing the Shortage
Employers across the country posted an estimated 550,000 job openings for core technology workers in Q1 2017, according to CompTIA. By 2024, it is projected that 1.8 million jobs in the tech industry will be unfilled.
AITP is launching as a national organization with chapters in 20 states. The new IT professional association falls in line with the legacy of CompTIA, which offers educational programs and has provided certifications to 1.2 million tech workers.
CompTIA said the new association is part of a growing trend. Industry and government groups are increasingly offering education and resources to address the tech worker shortage, which poses a challenge as new technologies emerge and more skilled workers are needed to maximize them.
In the statement, Hammervik said AITP is good for tech workers, the tech industry, and the future of the economy.
“We know Americans are more worried now than maybe ever before about their jobs and future – especially if they don’t have a college degree. Yet, we can’t seem to find enough people to fill all the tech jobs we need,” she said. “Think about what CompTIA AITP can mean for a 25-year-old who hasn’t settled on a career. It’s a path forward in a futuristic industry. And it’s equally important to a 35-year-old who’s been in the tech industry for 10 years but wants to jumpstart his or her career.”
Tech Industry Resources
AITP is offering a blend of online and in-person resources.
The job clearinghouse, TechTalent, offers job-specific data on the market demand for certain skills and capabilities. Users can search for job postings and access salary information.
Through a partnership with Lynda.com, AITP members will have access to more than 1,200 online courses, from finance and project management to communication and customer service, to improve their leadership and business skills.
Networking events around the country will be planned through AITP’s 20 chapters. CompTIA said it plans to continually grow the number of state and local chapters.
AITP also offers a portal of whitepapers, presentations and reports on technical issues, best practices and developments that are shaping and changing the tech industry.