Don’t forget about the philosophy majors.
One of the big trends in the IT talent shortage in this country — in addition to immigration and k-12 education — is the so-called degree mismatch, in which universities are conferring more degrees in industries without demand, like marketing and communications, than in STEM-related fields.
In Philadelphia for example, according to data collected by Campus Philly, some 64,000 new STEM and finance jobs were created last year, but the region’s colleges graduated just 6,000 students in that space. It’s a nation-wide problem.
Like elsewhere in the country, Philadelphia higher ed students do appear to be self-correcting, said Campus Philly President Deborah Diamond at last week’s Philly Tech Week Entrepreneurship/Investment event.
Download Diamond’s slides here [PDF].
In the two years from 2009 to 2011, among the seven fastest growing degrees, most were either in IT or another regional strength: tourism and hospitality, including the Food Network-inspired culinary services craze.
As seen in the chart below, using data from Select Greater Philadelphia, biomedical degrees jumped by nearly a fifth in those two years. IT support degrees grew by 15 percent.
That positive trend could relate to the decline in liberal arts degrees — the number of students in gender and ethnic studies is plummeting and other language and religion work too is on the decline.
Diamond argued that there is the possibility of over-correction. She notes that the teenage developer who sold his news reading app to Yahoo for $30 million and local student entrepreneur star Dan Shipper are both philosophy majors.
“We need our students to be able to think too,” she said.
In closing Diamond highlighted efforts to create mid-career re-education — like P’unk Ave’s apprentice program and GirlDevelopIt.
Knowledge is power!
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