Last week, IBM announced that it was teaming up with UCLA and NC State to deliver a Web 2.0 curriculum to a new generation of workers (read: college students). So I thought it would be interesting to find out about the motivation behind the initiative; I sent some questions to Kevin Faughnan, director of the IBM Academic Initiative.
Is there a deficit in the market right now of talented workers who truly understand Web 2.0 technologies?
Faughnan: There is a large and growing need in the market for talent and skills around Web 2.0 right now. According to Skillproof, a Connecticut-based IT Labor research group, the number of job openings for IT professionals nationwide has increased by 45.2% from 2004 to 2007, and the top growth areas from 2004 to 2007 were SOA (grew 1316%), Virtualization (609%) and PHO (295%). At the same time, the number of computer science majors in the United States declined 32% from the fall of 2000 to the fall of 2004.
What are the biggest areas for which there is demand right now in this area?
Faughnan: In a survey of employers, Skillproof found the top skill sets desired, more than any other software development skills, are around Web 2.0. SOA, Linux and Ajax -- the building blocks of the Internet's commercial growth. Gartner Group predicts that by 2008, the majority of Global 1,000 companies will quickly adopt several technology-related aspects of Web 2.0 to advance their businesses.
What would be some advice for an existing IT professional looking to expand skills in this area?
Faughnan: There are a few things IT professionals can do to expand their Web 2.0 skills. First, experiment: The easiest way to learn is by doing. Use tools available through programs like Project Zero to gain experience with Web 2.0. technologies and techniques like AJAX, REST-based services, and Dojo. IT professionals should also look to join organizations such as Eclipse and Project Zero, which bring together IT professionals from multiple companies to exchange ideas and best practices, which can help professionals gain the widest range of experience and skills.
Later this year, IT professionals can also leverage Lotus Mashups to build and assemble Web 2.0 widgets into new applications. Lotus Mashups will include an easy-to-use tool that helps individuals with no IT skills create and share any type of situational application on the fly, so that business users can quickly assemble components from across the Web and within the enterprise. Lotus Mashups will be available commercially as well as for free to the academic community.
If this all sounds interesting to you, be sure to sign up for ebizQ's Web 2.0 in the Enterprise Virtual Conference. The conference will include a keynote from Gartner's David Mitchell Smith on innovating in the enterprise with Web 2.0.