A nationwide issue of growing importance, the availability of a qualified Information Technology (IT) workforce has become increasingly significant to a wide variety of industries. Like many communities across the country, the rapid creation of technology-driven jobs has led to a high demand for IT talent in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties, raising potential concerns over the ability to maintain a steady pipeline of skilled employees. A recent report released by the Tampa Bay Technology Forum and the IT Workforce Taskforce identified specific recommendations that will impact the current gap in IT talent in the Tampa Bay area.
The purpose of Grow Tampa Bay Tech (GTBT) is to coordinate the implementation of the recommendations. The research, conducted over four months in 2012, included one on one interviews, focus groups, and an online survey of business leaders, educators and students, HR and IT professionals found. Findings included:
- Large and small companies across the industry clusters expressed concerns about hiring challenges for IT-related positions; a situation that we anticipate will become more acute as the economy recovers.
- The immediate gap exists for specific skills: Java, .NET programmers and developers, Agile development concepts, Cloud Computing Engineers, Sales Engineers, CRM and SharePoint
- Future growth areas reported included: Business Analytics, Big Data, Desktop Support, Computer and Software Engineers
- All companies reported having difficulty hiring IT professionals with 3- 5 years' experience working in an enterprise environment and the ability to be productive from the first day.
- Businesses are requiring talent to do more and have multiple skills
- Small to mid-size companies that did not have formal new hire training program reported challenges finding entry level candidates with the necessary technical knowledge
- IT professionals are required to be lifelong learners because technology changes so rapidly. Easy access to training to stay current and productive will provide opportunities to learn.
- Students need to have more real world technical skills when entering the job market
- Students have limited knowledge of the local technology job market
- Business, Education, and students are all willing and interested in working together
Immediate action is necessary to impact the current talent gap while also planning for the future growth. The solutions currently being undertaken by TBTF involve expansion of internship opportunities, increase in technical training available for students, and practice labs that are integrating educational programs with business, including capstone project, competitions, and classroom use case studies.
Local and national press reported shortages in qualified IT talent to fill open position ns accompanied with supportive state and local research data. Solutions however need to be locally focused to have the greatest and immediate impact. TBTF will take the lead locally to coordinate with businesses and educational institutions to create the environment for change.
The community is rich in quality education, innovative business leaders, and willing talent. The expansion and strengthening of the connections will have an immediate impact, or simply put – creating a solid lines where a dotted lines exists. TBTF - Grow Tampa Bay Tech will provide a central point of contact for the coordination and implementation of the recommendations critical to creating the desired change. Copies of the study and supporting materials can be obtained using the links below.
Bayshore Solutions - Catalina Marketing - Ciber - DTCC - Peak 10
Pinellas County Economic Development - Syniverse - Tampa Bay Partnership
Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation - Tribridge - Vology
IT Workforce Analysis Documents
How to Grow the Technology the Sector
Infographic Workforce Initiative (PDF)
TBTF MultiCounty Workforce Initiative Report February 8 (PDF)
Full Report (PDF)
IT Workforce Event Presentation (PPTX)
TECHNA and TBTF 2nd Annual Survey