In the 2015 ECAR IT Workforce Survey, we asked respondents to share information about their past and current careers,
as well as about their future career plans (n = 1,188).
These data provide insight about the pipeline to key IT positions and the probable career trajectories for the current IT workforce.
In this second interactive report, we use data on respondents’ previous two jobs (e.g., executive leadership, information security,
academic computing, networks and systems, research computing, administrative IT, service delivery, desktop services,
application development, analytics, design) to identify the general paths they took to arrive at their present positions.
Additionally, we explore the general paths higher education IT professionals expect to take over the course of their next two positions.*
In terms of historical career paths, two main trends are apparent in our data:
The previous career choices of higher education IT employees tend toward specialization and domain-sector expertise.
That is, the best predictors of the current higher education IT sector in which one works are the previous positions held within the same higher education IT sector. For example, current jobs in desktop services are predicted by previous jobs in desktop services; current jobs in networks and systems are predicted by previous jobs in networks and systems; and so forth.
There are no clear and definitive paths to IT executive leadership.
Executive leaders have emerged from virtually all of the higher education IT sectors we tracked.
However, individuals whose previous positions were in the sectors of analytics, design, desktop services, and networks and systems
are less likely to be current executive leaders than their peers in other sectors.
The future career paths of higher education IT employees are more difficult to pin down:
The future career choices of higher education IT employees may reflect increasing specialization or inertia.
In general, one’s current higher education IT sector predicts well the sector in which one expects work for the next two positions.
Higher education IT employees across all sectors aspire to executive leadership in their next or subsequent positions.
With the exception of already being an IT executive leader, this means that there is also no clear or definite path
that current IT employees see to executive leadership positions in the future.
Many higher education IT professionals are planning to leave the field at the conclusion of their current or next positions.
About one-quarter of current higher education IT employees plan to do something else within IT
(e.g., consulting or a new position that does not yet exist), leave IT altogether, or retire;
that number almost doubles for two career positions from the current one.
Included in these numbers are those who are uncertain about their future and simply don’t know what their next career moves entail.
EDUCAUSE IT Workforce Research: Focusing on Our People and Professions
This interactive graphic is part of the
IT Workforce in Higher Education, 2016
research series, which includes interactive graphics on the career paths of higher education IT professionals and reports on IT leadership.
The research helps colleges and universities reinvest in the IT workforce by defining professional competencies
and laying the foundation for tools that can guide professional development and career planning.
* The smallest category—research computing—was collapsed into “Other or don’t know” for this graphic.
Also included in the “Other or don’t know” category are IT consultant and managed services positions, IT student workers, and non-IT positions.