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Canada on Verge of It Student Shortage

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Information and Communications Technology Council President Paul Swinwood

Information and Communications Technology Council President Paul Swinwood

New Brunswick Business Journal

Declining enrollment in computer science programs, along with an increased demand for computer science workers, could lead to a critical workforce shortage in Canada, says Information and Communications Technology Council president Paul Swinwood. "The shortage of new grads and the continued growth in the industry means there will be in trouble if action isn't taken," Swinwood says. He is promoting an information and communications technology (ICT) program for high school students that aims to create stronger links between the ICT industry and the Canadian Ministry of Education and to encourage students to pursue ICT-related programs at a college or university.

In the early 1990s, about 150,000 people in Canada worked in the ICT field, and now nearly 650,000 work in the field, but demand is expected to continue to outpace the production of ICT graduates. "Even with the worst economic scenario, we will need 120,000 more people in the sector over the next seven years," Swinwood says. "And if the economy recovers the way we expect it to, that will jump to 150,000 or more."

The number of incoming undergraduate students majoring in computer science in the United States fell nearly 70 percent between 2000 and 2005, according to the Computing Research Association. Swinwood says enrollments have fallen in Canada as well, and the skills gap could get worse if college and university computer science enrollments do not improve. There is a demand for at least 18,000 new information technology professionals every year in Canada, but universities produce only 7,000 ICT graduates per year.

From New Brunswick Business Journal 
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