Virtually any discussion of the “new information economy” includes an assertion that those without college degrees (or with degrees outside the STEM fields) will be the big losers. A new study of the technology workforce in New York City disputes that assertion, with potentially huge implications for workforce development systems nationwide:
The fast-growing technology industry in New York is often cited as a magnet for graduates of the nation’s top universities. But a new report to be discussed in a speech by a deputy mayor on Wednesday found that almost half of the technology jobs in the city are filled by people without college degrees.
The report was commissioned to show just how important the tech sector has become, estimating that it accounts for nearly 300,000 jobs in the city, more than half of them at companies in nontechnology businesses, such as finance and advertising. . . . .
. . . .Many of the most lucrative opportunities are in programming, a field where demand for talent outstrips the current supply, said Avi Flombaum, the dean of the Flatiron School, which trains people in software coding.
Mr. Flombaum, who dropped out of college several years ago to create programming for a hedge fund, said all but two of the 126 graduates of his 12-week course have found work. Their average starting pay, he said, was $82,000.
Some of the students at the Flatiron School did not attend or finish college and others are older adults looking to switch careers, Mr. Flombaum said. “There are more programming jobs than there are programmers right now,” he said.
This gives added credence to concept that, in some fields, the “credentialing” role for workforce may be shifting away from higher education toward programs that offer certificates or digital badges. The New York Times has the story here.