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If you look at the unemployment figures for the USA you will see that things appear to be going quite well. Nationally, unemployment is at its lowest since April 2000 at 3.8%. Whatever the reasoning is behind this, these figures are positive. However, the chasmic skills gap in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and ICT (Information and Communications Technology) sectors cannot be ignored. The emergence of a massive gender gap in the tech industry is worrying too.

US economists tell us that part of the reasoning behind these excellent unemployment figures is that employees from one of the biggest baby-boom periods are now at retirement age. This means that numerous jobs are opening up. For the most part, these are not roles that require much tech knowledge – albeit, tech know-how is quickly becoming an essential part of every role. This will add to the skills gap in STEM sectors.

Skills gap in STEM sectors is making salaries even more attractive

The fact that baby boomer roles are being filled before technology roles is causing a higher demand for tech workers. This, in turn, is resulting in higher wages for these much sought-after employees. At the time of writing, according to PayScale.com, the average salary for a computer programmer in Phoenix Arizona for example, with one year’s experience is $68,999. They also indicate that a programmer with 5 year’s experience could earn as much as $106,000. In comparison with the national salary in the USA of $48,642, that’s a massive difference. The skills gap in STEM sectors is making salaries even more attractive.

Women with STEM jobs earned 35% more

The growing gender gap within the industry also needs attention. According to the United States Department of Commerce, women hold only 24% of STEM jobs in the USA. The same research, carried out by the Economics & Statistics Administration, states that; “Women with STEM jobs earned 35 per cent more than comparable women in non-STEM jobs — even higher than the 30 per cent STEM premium for men. As a result, the gender wage gap is smaller in STEM jobs than in non-STEM jobs. Women with STEM jobs also earned 40 per cent more than men with non-STEM jobs.”

Perfect time for potential career changers

Now is the perfect time for potential career changers in the USA to leap to the most exciting industry in existence. In April 2017, USA Today claimed that there were 7.3 million people working in the tech industry. The Smithsonian Science Education Center projected that 2.4 million STEM jobs would go unfilled by the end of this year. They also predict that job growth in STEM fields will increase from 10-23% by 2020.

ICT skills are no longer just a requirement just for the tech industry. They are important for pretty much every business that has a website, app, or online presence. While many years ago barber shops would never have had a need for computer programmers, it is now essential for them to have a good online presence that will keep them popular against their competition.

Likewise, the agricultural industry relies heavily on new technologies. On the other end of the spectrum, people with tech know-how are hugely important to future technologies in the world of Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Autonomous Driving and more.

Industry Advisory Council

The aim of Code Institute is to close the global technology skills gap. The internationally recognized and accredited Certificate in Software Development course on offer is designed with industry in mind. On average, 88% of graduates are hired within 6 months of completion. The industry focus of the online course has been designed with help and insights from the Industry Advisory Council (IAC). The IAC is a representative body, comprising of industry employers, recruiters, academics, enterprise organisations and startups. Because of their provision of expert, peer reviews and recommendations on a regular basis, the IAC ensures that Code Institute graduates have the skills necessary to gain employment and subsequently grow and prosper in their new job.

If you want to sample a software developer course, try Code Institute’s 5 Day Coding Challenge now. This five day course will teach you some basic in HTML, CSS, Javascript and more. Importantly, it might also let you know if you’d be a fit for the USA IT industry.