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76% of non-IT workers would like a career change in IT

The IT Industry always talks about the huge digital skills gap and the lack of workers. Turns out, there’s plenty of people who would be happy to oblige.

A survey by recruitment firm Mortimer Spinks and Computer Weekly shows that 76% of non-IT workers would consider a career in IT. This would mean problem solved, right?

Sadly, it’s not that simple. Working in IT certainly is appealing. It’s the industry where opportunities are everywhere and even the impossible is within reach. It’s also the industry which is pretty much guaranteed to shape the future of the planet. And it’s also the industry which should mean steady job opportunities for quite some time.

But while all of this is certainly true, it doesn’t mean that IT is for everyone. While you can teach pretty much any person to write code, it doesn’t mean he or she will be as good as someone who loves doing it for more than just the paycheck. Also, IT has its own specifics for getting the job done and often requires a lot of hours being stuck on a single line trying to figure out why it “breaks” the program. It also requires an unique approach to problem solving.

So, while many people do try out in IT and start taking coding lessons, some of them decide it’s “not for me” and move on. The problem, though, is not necessarily in the people. It may be the approach of the industry.

People want to give IT a chance

The survey shows that only about a third of non-tech workers think coding skills are a requirement for starting in IT. More so, only 26% think they need  a tech-related degree. 33% think they should be good at math to start a career in IT.

So, the majority of non-IT workers are not only open to the idea of working in IT, but know they have a real shot. But it seems the IT industry isn’t taking full advantage of this. It’s focused on developing highly skilled workers, which are the most immediate need, but it seems to be neglecting to motivate more and more people to jump careers.

“We make it too much of a corporate model. We have a very a narrow perspective of what we call IT and many times women don’t fit into that”, says Roselyn Cason-Marcus, a manager at McKinsey and Company. She adds that tech careers should be marketed as something that is fun and inclusive.

Continuous learning, apprenticeships, cross-skilling, upskilling, developing from the ground up are all methods that the IT employers should also employ in order to be able to attract new workers from the non-IT world. It’s their best shot at solving or at least closing the digital skills gap as much as possible.