U.S. officials on Thursday said that offshoring will hurt the growth of U.S. programming jobs in this decade, though expansion of healthcare IT and mobile networks will in turn increase demand for software developers, support technicians and systems analysts.
By 2020, employment in all computer occupations is expected to increase by 22%, but some IT fields will fare better than others, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) biennial update of employment projections.
Demand for software developers will be the strongest in this period, with increases ranging from 28% to 32%, depending on the type of software development.
The BLS update imagines what IT employment will look like through 2020.
The agency’s forecasts, particularly for technology-related jobs, are often controversial because they can’t account for rapid market changes and tech disruptions. But its estimates are often cited in various policy debates on issues ranging from education to immigration.
The IT employment growth rate projected by the BLS was characterized as “anemic” by Victor Janulaitis, CEO of Janco Associates, a research firm that analyzes IT wage and employment trends.
“When you consider the overall demand for systems and applications in high-growth markets like China and India, [the BLS projections] mean the U.S. will be doing a diminishing portion of the development and implementation work,” said Janulaitis. “If that’s the case, the U.S. will no longer be the leader in IT.