'Indians could grab best U.S. tech jobs'

By agencies   |   Tuesday, 24 May 2005, 07:00 Hrs
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SILICON VALLEY: The rapidly shrinking number of U.S. undergraduates signing up for computer degrees has prompted concern among high-tech companies that soon there won't be enough skilled workers to meet the demand.

New enrolment in North American computer science and engineering programs has dropped for four straight years, falling 10 percent during the 2003-04 school year, according to the Computing Research Association, a trade group for computer professors.

High-technology employers largely attribute the trend to the dotcom bust and widespread worries about the accelerating pace of off shoring.

The Washington based group said the percentage of incoming undergraduates indicating that they would major in computer science declined by over 60 percent between the fall of 2000 and 2004, and is now 70 percent lower than its peak in the early 1980s.

Many feel that this phenomenon could lead to more off shoring. Many low-level programming jobs have already been sent to India and China. But high-level jobs combining technical and business skills are still in the U.S.

However, "that could change if there is not enough workers to fill them," USA Today said.

"If we don't do anything, there are hundreds of thousands, nay, millions of Chinese, Indians, Slovaks, etc, that would love to have these jobs," said Massachusetts Institute of Technology computer professor Jack Rockart.

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