Talent Wars: The Race for Tech Brains

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News Posted: Wed, Jun 29 2011 3:52 PM
In Silicon Valley, one of the favorite tools of recruiters is the staff list at other tech companies. No wonder when the number of job openings in the tech sector continue to climb, but the number of graduates with the proper skills does not.

Poaching talent has become an art form and it's expected to become even more aggressive in the coming years, according to data pulled together in an infographic on Udemy.com. The online course builder worked with Column 5 to pull together an in-depth look at the so-called "Arms Race" in tech.

The most interesting tidbits, to me, were that the number of computer and information science degrees awarded in the U.S. over the past eight years or so has been on the decline, while the demand for workers with those skills has been on the rise. IT job postings online, according to the data, have increased 47 percent over the past year.

So, recruiters expect poaching to increase, even as some say they might be loathe to hire an employee who's previously been poached - most likely because that means that person might be more willing to jump ship if presented with a lucrative contract.

The big losers: Digg, Yahoo and Google. It should be noted, however, that Digg's loss came primarily through layoffs, even though the employees who lost their jobs were eagerly gobbled up by other tech companies.

Here's the infographic, with lots of other juicy tidbits of info:

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-Here's the infographic, with lots of other juicy tidbits of info:


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One of my biggest regrets is getting a degree that was not in a technology related field. I'm still young enough to go back and get another bachelor's degree in a tech field... but i'm already pretty laden with debt... and seriously don't want more debt. =/

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acarzt replied on Wed, Jun 29 2011 9:24 PM

I work in the IT field and i literally get at least 1 call a day from recruiters. The problem is, most the the jobs are either low level positions that pay way too little or no where bear where i live or don't even have to do with the kind of IT work i want to do. On top of that the jobs that do sound sweet.... They try to low ball you. They want you to do high level work for about $20,000 less than the position is worth. PLUS the recruiters don't know a thing about what the are trying to recruit you for. They will do a phone interview and ask you a tech question... I asked for clarification and the lady said "i'm just reading this from a piece of paper, i only know what is written here". :-|

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jonation replied on Wed, Jun 29 2011 9:46 PM

:] and there is a reason why i'm not becoming a jazz performance major...

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I feel we're in the middle of another tech boom. At the turn of the century the number of computer science and IT degrees spiked, and then started declining a few years after the dotcom crash happened. The 3-4 year delay is expected since college students usually declare their majors as a freshman or sophomore.

So now as the demand for comp sci and IT degrees is on the rise again (along with the rise of twitter, facebook, netflix, pandora, etc), we're seeing more students flock toward the degrees. The graph above is deceiving because it only tracks the number of computer/information science degrees AWARDED. Since it takes 4-5 years to get a engineering degree + Meng, we need to look at the number of computer sci enrolling. According to the following article, that number is on the rise:


"The total number of undergraduate majors in computer science increased 5.5% in 2008-2009, the second consecutive year that the number of computer science majors has increased, according to the annual Taulbee Survey by the Computing Research Association. Over a two-year period, the number of such students increased to 14%. The survey looks only at a subset of computer science enrollments -- those students attending Ph.D.-granting institutions -- but it's typically the first data to identify enrollment trends in advance of government data. The figures represent a total of 32,706 computer science majors enrolled at these institutions, the survey said."

I think the supply will reach demand once again and overshoot it as it did a decade ago. Information science degrees seem to operate on a boom-bust cycle like our economy.


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I wouldn't let the debt stop you. You can get deferments when you go back to school. I switched majors in undergrad and I had a lot of people telling me not to, but I'm very happy that I did.

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AKwyn replied on Thu, Jun 30 2011 12:48 AM

What type of degree did you get omegadoom13?


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AKwyn replied on Thu, Jun 30 2011 12:54 AM

Pretty interesting to see how they're managing to keep their employment while managing to keep their profits in check. I have to say, this is a pretty interesting tech race going on where there is a primary focus is to deploy innovative technology while keeping profit margins in check and keeping employees from defecting.

I must say, the employees at every company seem to be very talented, and most are looking for the best possible job with the best possible pay. It's hard to keep the employees, the talented employees that make up your company where they are. Sure you offer them perks and stuff but they still may defect to facebook and some stuff, and those employees are essential for maintaining profits and for pioneering the latest in technology.

If anything, this tech race is just about to heat up... With multiple markets and with a variety of people with a variety of skillsets; who knows what'll come of this.


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HHGrrl replied on Thu, Jun 30 2011 4:36 PM

I'm surprised Microsoft wasn't on the infographic.

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