America’s Tech Talent Crunch


In his Times Square office in midtown Manhattan, Joe Omansky mulls over a word that’s been much on his mind lately.

Talent.

Omansky works as the Head of Community for Trusted Insight, Inc., a billion-dollar “online investment marketplace” that connects member investors with deals worldwide. For Omansky, the tech-skilled talent who keep his social network for business opportunities humming is every bit as vital as the venture capitalists and fund managers he calls clients.

“There’s a definite lack of supply of high-level talent to meet the demand. It’s very difficult to find high-quality programmers,” says Omansky. He chuckles at someone shouting from across the office. “My programmer, who’s sitting here, says he just he got another offer – and they’re offering to pay him more.” The pair shares a laugh, but as with so many jokes, there’s an element of truth to the kidding.

“We were at MIT recently and I audited a class” to help with recruiting, Omansky explains. “An intern we’re hiring told me that he gets four jobs presented to him every day.”

In an office 2,300 miles away, on the campus of Arizona State University’s Polytechnic College, Dr. Tim Lindquist, a professor of computer science and engineering, considers the word “talent” from a different angle.

Lindquist has been educating would-be computer science and information majors and mentoring master’s and doctoral students for more than 30 years. He estimates more than 3,000 students have passed through his classroom.

“I can’t tell you the last time I had a student, even some of our poorer students, tell me they had trouble finding a job,” says Lindquist. “None of our graduates have trouble getting jobs, and we have weekly requests, very consistent, looking for people.”

Nor does Lindquist expect these graduates to go wanting for jobs any time in the near future. His rationale? The sheer number of computing devices in homes all over America and the globe.

“(Technology) just continues to progress,” says the professor. “Think about the progress that’s been made. It used to take a whole room with special air conditioning to run what you can buy in a memory stick now. It’s just incredible.”

Incredible also describes well the challenge facing American businesses in need of tech skilled new hires in 2011. From coast to coast and metro to metro, companies in need of tech help say they’re struggling mightily to match open positions with qualified people and state-of-the-marketplace skill sets.

The result? This Dice special report, “America’s Tech Talent Crunch,” which contrasts and drills down into the number of tech jobs available on Dice for a given day and the number of computer science and computer information graduates recently entering the work force. The data these pages contain, coupled with input from companies and academics nationwide, dramatize an emerging talent gap that isn’t likely to shrink this year, next or any time soon.