Demand for Networking Skills Grows in Latin America

A new Networking Skills Gap study commissioned by Cisco has revealed a future gap of nearly 27 percent between supply and demand of Internetworking experts by 2010. The shortage equates to nearly 90,000 qualified professionals who would need to be trained before then to meet the expected demand.

According to the study, which was undertaken by IDC Latin America, the skills shortage gap is particularly acute in areas such as IP telephony, network security and wireless solutions, as well as network management/administration. The gap in these specific technologies alone will be nearly 35 percent by 2010.

The study also revealed compelling reasons to invest in Internetworking training, as nearly 98 percent of those surveyed reported that their networks will become more important as a platform to develop businesses and boost the regional economy.

"Given that networks are now that ever more important to people and organizations, these numbers show an opportunity for employment generation and growth in the technological sector that may clearly help the economic development of the region," said Jaime Vallés, president of Cisco Latin America. "Therefore, we need to work with the governments in the region and act now in order to produce qualified human resources that have the skills required to manage these vital information technology and communications networks."

Network technologies represent a growth engine with a powerful influence over sectors such as education, transportation, production and commerce, tourism and financial services, which helps contribute to the increase of gross domestic product of those countries. This represents a challenge for government entities to strengthen the necessary skills through the educational institutions and to attract national investment.

"The fast implementation of network technology throughout Latin America will boost the demand for these skills and of more advanced skills in wireless networks, security and IP telephony. To be able to take advantage of this employment opportunity and growth of professionals in the region, governments, companies and education institutions must work together and act immediately to initiate programs directed to the development of these human resources," added Vallés.

IP networks form the essential infrastructure that deliver voice, video, data and mobility services for companies, educational institutions, governments and homes. Connectivity solutions help enable increase productivity and living standards by fundamentally transforming how humans connect, communicate and collaborate with each other.

Key findings specific to various countries include:

In Brazil and Mexico:

  • In Brazil, the skills deficit reached 29,200 professionals (around 27 percent) in 2007; it will increase to 44,400 (around 29 percent) by 2010.

  • In Mexico, the deficit reached 20,300 (around 21 percent) in 2007 and is expected to rise to 28,700 (around 24 percent) professionals by 2010.

In developing markets, namely Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica and Venezuela:

  • The deficit between supply and demand of professionals in networks in these countries reached close to 26,900 professionals by the end of 2007 and will increase to 37,900 by 2010. This represents a gap of 32 percent in 2007 and of 34 percent in 2010.

Other key findings include:

  • More than 35 percent of the respondents report that their networks are a key platform to share processes.

  • More than 70 percent of the surveyed expect one person to have multiple technological skills.

  • More than half of the surveyed say that IT certifications are "very important" for them and an additional 28 percent indicated that these were "relatively important".

  • Less than 20 percent of the Latin American companies that represent all the sectors and sizes have professionals in networks with some level of certification. Furthermore, the level of certification is still in its basic stages. The most common certifications in the region are the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) and the Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA).

Efforts to address the skills gap include vendor-led initiatives, such as Cisco Networking Academy program, which is an innovative global education initiative that helps students develop information and communication technology skills to encourage socioeconomic advancement in communities around the world. Cisco Networking Academy presence in Latin America accounts for approximately 16 percent of the total student population in the world. More than 230,000 people have graduated in the region.

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