The economic picture that Gartner's head of research, Peter Sondergaard, painted at his firm's recent Symposium/ITxpo conference in Orlando was upbeat in a surprising way.
While Gartner isn't significantly raising its global IT growth forecast -- which it revised downward earlier in the year -- its relatively flat forecast doesn't apply to at least one sector of IT: the big data labor market.
Big data, which refers to the vast amounts of information collected from every imaginable source, is becoming an engine of job creation as businesses strive to harness and analyze that data in order to glean revenue-generating insights from it, according to Gartner.
Between now and 2015, the firm expects big data to create some 4.4 million IT jobs globally; of those, 1.9 million will be in the U.S. Applying an economic multiplier to that estimate, Gartner expects each new big-data-related IT job to create work for three more people outside the tech industry, for a total of almost 6 million more U.S. jobs.
But Sondergaard's estimate included this caveat: There's a serious shortage of IT professionals with big-data skills, and only one-third of those new jobs will be filled.
"There's not enough talent in the industry," he said, adding that education "is failing us."
Griff Law, CTO of Northeast Georgia Health System, agreed that it's difficult to fill data analytics positions -- and IT jobs in general. He said his company has had 15 open IT positions for six months.
About six of those openings are either for business analysts with business intelligence and analytics skills or clinical analysts with both IT and data skills. The company's other IT job openings include positions for network engineers.
Overall, Gartner expects IT spending to rise to $3.7 trillion worldwide next year, a 3.8% increase over this year.
This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on Computerworld.com.