The views from two countries

While Information Technology (IT) jobs are exploding all over the world, many developing countries are graduating too few technical workers in this high demand field, which can play an important role in improving their economy. Last summer when teaching in Asia, I asked several professors about the need to develop more IT workers but they all said that their universities do not have enough space and teachers to address the demand from the job market.

A state university administrator explained: “To meet this demand we need additional budget to build more classrooms and hiring more teachers. How do we get the additional money and where do we find qualified teachers? When government funds state school, the funding has to be distributed equally to many departments and programs so even we know that IT is important but we cannot give it more money than other programs.”

I argued: “But there is high demand for IT graduates and there are more job openings in this field. At the same time, there are many unemployed graduates from other programs. Why don't you focus more on IT and invest in programs that provide better future for students and help improve your economy?”

He shook his head: “Then how do I explain that to other programs? I cannot take money from one program and invest in others. It is impossible because it does not work here as every program has the same importance. Where do I get more money to train or hire more teachers? That is not my job.”

“It is not my job” is a common theme here as people only focus on what they do but not look at the bigger picture or have vision about the future.

When I was teaching in India, there was a completely different attitude. Many state universities invested significant of their funding to information technology fields and double their graduates every year. A school administrator told me: “We want our students to have the latest skills so they can get the best jobs possible. We have invested most of the government funding into Computer and Engineering department so we can increase our graduates from 1,500 to 2,900 per year. By increasing our capacity and training more teachers in IT fields, we can offer more courses to students and expand technology instruction to more people. We are ready preparing our students for careers in technology and engineering to meet the demand from global market. Currently about 20 percent of our IT graduates are working oversea in the U.S. or Europe and 70% of our graduates are working locally in IT industry. But we need to work harder as our students deserve more to fast-growing and well-paying jobs.”

Today India is the destination of most IT outsourcing, a 100 billion dollars per year business with over 1.5 million new jobs created for their economy. Due to the advancement in IT training programs, their graduates in technology and engineering fields are fully employed with excellent salary. A professor told me: “We are fortunate to move quickly into information technology industry. We set a vision several years ago and that proved to be correct to seize this wonderful opportunity. Today nobody look at India as a backward agriculture full of poverty anymore. Our image has changed into a fast growing knowledge society with highly skilled professionals. Of course, we still have many social problems to solve but all of us are looking toward a better future. All of that is due to the right vision and good investment in technology education.

Sources

  • Blogs of Prof. John Vu, Carnegie Mellon University

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