IT jobs will grow 22% by 2020, BLS says

A recent government report predicts a mixed bag for the future growth of IT jobs in the U.S. 

The number of employees holding IT jobs is expected to increase 22% by 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent Occupation Outlook Handbook. Some observers have cited that figure as bad news, saying that rate of growth will mean there are fewer IT jobs than job seekers by that point.

Certain job seekers will be in more luck than others — some types of jobs will increase by higher rates, while others grow more slowly, the report says.

BLS officials predict that offshoring will hurt the growth of programmer jobs, but increased use of healthcare IT and the expansion of mobile networks will create new demand for software developers, tech support professionals and system analysts.

Here’s what the Outlook expects for some IT job areas:

  1. IT Managers (jobs expected to increase 18% by 2020) — Growth will be driven largely by healthcare organizations as they implement more health IT, although the increase in the use of cloud computing might lessen the need for IT leadership in some organizations.
  2. Database administrators (31% increase) — Thanks to rapid increases in the amounts of data organizations create and hold, BLS expects this to be the fastest-growing area in IT employment.
  3. Computer programmers (12% increase) — Hurt by increased offshoring, this is the lowest growth rate predicted by BLS.
  4. Help desk and technical support (18%) — Again, the use of more electronic systems in health care will boost the need for support professionals, though they’ll also be hurt by offshoring, BLS says.

BLS’s predictions aren’t without their critics — according to some analysts, the report doesn’t take into account the rate of technological change. It’s incredibly difficult to predict new IT trends, especially when trying to make a prediction for an entire decade. For example, it would have been tough to guess 10 years ago what impact cloud computing would have on the current IT job market.

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