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Software Employment Rises 45% in 10 Years, as Angst in Engineering Grows

By Computerworld

July 24, 2013

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Software development employment has increased over the past 10 years, but not all IT areas are faring as well, according to an IEEE-USA analysis of U.S. labor data. Over the past decade, IT employment has gone up and down, but the only tech occupation that appears to have recovered to full employment is software developer, according to Economic Policy Institute analyst Daniel Costa. Researchers generally agree that the growth in software developers reflects an economy that has become more software oriented.

The Brookings Institution's Neil Ruiz says the rise of software and professional services corresponds to a more software-focused economy, while the decline in manufacturing represents overseas and near-shore shifts in manufacturing. "It does not have to do with decline of R&D/innovation in the U.S.," Ruiz says.

In fact, George Mason University professor Zoltan Acs argues that software development is innovation. Acs, citing the app development work, says, "Are these not innovations? I would be more upset if both trends [software development and electrical engineering] were down."

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