In a recent MS PressPass posting entitled “Message to Students and IT Pros: Prepare Today for ‘Careers of the Future‘” Microsoft appears to be taking an interesting and contrarian slant on IT jobs as it attempts to stimulate interest and investment in Microsoft Learning offerings. MS interprets the results of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics July Household Survey to indicate that “computer systems design and services” jobs have increased vis-a-vis those for 2008. They also cite a July Fortune story “Where the tech jobs are now” to indicate that “unemployment among tech workers [is]…less than half the overall U.S. jobless rate” with further mention of that story’s subtitle — “At least 400,000 jobs are going begging, even in this economy.” Then comes the kicker: this situation reflects “the ever-changing nature of the tech industry,” where “even during lean times companies have a hard time finding the right candidates to fill certain technical positions.”
And of course, MS wants to help with this. They’re launching a new campaign called “Chart YOUR Career” where you can pick among a list of job roles to see what kinds of training and career development information is available for each one:
Not only does Microsoft want to get you involved in related training and certifications, it is also offering exam discounts of up to 25% ($37.50 on a $150 exam in the US), and touting free software with classroom training (this has been Microsoft’s practice for those who take authorized classroom training for as long as I can remember, at least as far back as 1995). For each role, you’ll find a job description, skill sets, and various learning plans to help pursue that path into demonstrations of competence. Careful reading of the recitations from the various Microsoft executives involved in the press release indicate this information is aimed primarily at students at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
This makes sense because those already in the workforce usually have to keep earning a paycheck and can only pursue new job roles part-time. Students looking for career choices could conceivably use this information to target specific job roles — and related certifications — as they work through their degree plans. Though Microsoft points readres to its programs for job seekers, as well as for IT pros and developers, this information is likely to have the biggest impact on those in the process of figuring out what to do with their professional lives. It should be interesting to see what kind of fruit it bears, and to see whether or not the roles that the company targets here translate into real opportunities for those who seek to fill such shoes.