Howard Elias’ Take on The IT Skill Gap for Big Data, Cloud

Howard Elias, the president and COO of EMC’s services unit, wrote up a very insightful piece about the growing skill gap in two key areas of IT: cloud computing and big data.

These new technologies are creating opportunities for both vendors and the client organizations that leverage them to do business.    The innovation in recent years has created several openings for very specialized professionals, but the supply can’t keep up with the demand.

In his article, Elias cites research that predicts as much as 800,000 new engineers will be needed in the market by 2018, four times the number of graduates that have the necessary skill sets.   This is a problem, and one that has to be addressed early on.

Elias is pushing for a two-step overhaul to address this shifting climate. He says that the industry needs to start by addressing K-12 level education in the fields of science, technologyengineering, and mathematics.

African Americans, Latinos and women today comprise only about 20 percent of the STEM workforce, yet are projected to make up 70 percent of the total U.S. workforce by 2017. That discrepancy is unacceptable, and it is why we must encourage all young children to recognize the exciting opportunities available in STEM-based careers.”

He stresses the need to nurture existing programs that tackle this issue, including VEX Robotics and Citizen Schools.

Elias’ second point is that a change must also occur in the academia. The industry has to remove the financial barriers between talented students and higher education by supporting scholarship programs, but that’s only the beginning. He stresses that training at the collegiate and professional level needs to focus on “highly specialized, marketable skills” that make use of new technologies and provide graduates with the analytical skills sought after the increasingly data-driven business world.