With unemployment close to 10 percent, the mantra in Washington is jobs, jobs, jobs! Unfortunately many policymakers overlook the key role information technology has played, and will likely play, in job creation.
My husband is a network admin. You're right that people with such skills are always needed on site. But companies still try to save money by hiring lower level help desk people for phone support. The problem may escalate to desk side support person, but it will first go to someone who is paid somewhere around minimum wage or $10 an hour. The financial industry, eliminated a huge number of those jobs as it took a major hit from the economy. That left many of these people unemployed and allowed for salaries to plummet, according to the principle of supply and demand. Another trend has been to make these positions temporary ones. Almost all recruiter calls my husband gets are for contract positions, and some are offering ridiculously low hourly rates of $10-$15 an hour -- for someone with a degree and over a decade of solid experience.
It seems like certain aspects of the IT job market (Programming, over the phone tech support, etc) are being shipped overseas. While others jobs, like you mention, network admins, on-site tech people, can never be outsource. My brother is a network admin at a large data and software company and tells about how they are always hiring and it's not only in the IT field. They need more accounts, HR, and finance people to help keep up with the added paperwork and whatnot. So it makes sense that the IT sector is helping to lift the job market out of this recession like they did back in the 1990s. But, the question is will IT hiring have a strong enough of an impact on the economy as it did back in the mid 1990s when everyone was rushing to get online?
Imagine being able to use your mobile phone to pay taxi and mass transit fare; use vending machines; make retail purchases; and check in at hotels. Every day, millions of citizens in Japan, S. Korea, and soon Singapore do so simply by waving their mobile phones in front of point-of-sale terminals using near-field communication or related technology. But, while the technology is readily available in the US, it will be some time before Americans can use their cellphones as mobile wallets.
The US loses about $20 billion a year on pirated software, movies, and music. But public policy can help stem the tide of digital theft. For example, France has recently passed a 'three strikes and youíre out' law, whereby if after two warning letters an individual continues to download pirated software then his Internet access will be cut off. US policy makers should consider adopting similar policies.
A new poll shows that a majority of Americans donít like behavioral targeting on the Internet, even when itís done anonymously. But the poll is seriously flawed in that it did not ask Americans about the tradeoffs involved. If we are to make good public policy with regard to the Internet and privacy, itís important to have a debate that explores all aspects of the issue. This poll failed to do that.
Confused about long forms and short forms? Well, this year, face-to-face help may be only a few clicks away. The IRS, as well as tax preparation agencies like TurboTax, have introduced new video conferencing services, designed to make it easier for individuals to get the help they need.
The new Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) initiative of operators is being run out of Europe's ETSI and not here in the United States, even though the issues have been here for five years. The US needs to step up; otherwise, it's surrendering leadership.
The FBI recently issued a warning to smartphone users, highlighting two mobile malware applications: Loozfan, which steals personal information, and FinFisher, which is spyware that takes over a smartphone's functions.
Linux Journal recently released its 2013 Readersí Choice Awards. As an Ubuntu convert in recent years, I was glad to see Ubuntu took the top spot for "Best Linux Distribution" (at 16 percent, edging out Debian, which took 14.1 percent).
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