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JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT VOLUME 7 NO 2, DECEMBER, 2009

MARKET OPTIONS FOR TECHNICAL PROFESSIONALS

Mba Onyinye  David
Department of Mathematics, Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri
E-mail: mbaonyinye54@yahoo.com

 

Abstract
This research attempts to investigate the various skills currently expected of the graduates  of Nigeria, if they are to be of relevance to the labour market,  despite  their various areas  of specialisation.  The study also attempts to focus on the information technology skills that are in demand by industries locally and internationally, as a requirement for obtaining jobs paying competitive salaries. The work uses correlational techniques to ascertain the extent each of the identified variables is related to the market options for technical professionals. Finally, steps were taken to list graduates recently  employed by some establishment  whether  they  possess  these skills  required,  under study.


Keywords: Professionals; market; computer; options

Introduction
With new information technology comes the fear that unless you invest in technology, you will be left behind. In today’s society, it is important to understand the component of information technology  (IT).  If a person does not acquire some knowledge of information technology, he will likely miss out on available opportunities.
It is not enough for a graduate  just  to understand  his areas of specialisation but it is important  for that individual to be able  to demonstrate  a through knowledge  of technology. This study details the relationship between a person’s skills and his employability. Obtaining certification in a specific  area  of information technology will  differentiate  one professional  from another.  Individuals  with only  a four-year degree and little  or  no technical  experience  have  difficulty  finding employment  in the labour market of Nigeria these  days.  However, qualified information technology professionals have the privilege of demanding higher  salaries.

Information technology skill

Laura (2009) in his work stated that  whether one is just starting one’s technical career or looking to make a career change, it helps to know what career skills hot in the job market.  He maintained that most establishments are looking for people with the following skills: “practical knowledge of the operating system, programming languages, database management, Microsoft, web designer”.

Computer Hope (2009) on what types of jobs are available in the computer industry listed different types of computer related jobs in the industry.  This list was created for users who enjoy computers but are uncertain about what field to enter.  He maintained that the market options currently expected of technicians include: computer services skills, data base engineer, hardware developer, quality assurance, system analyst, tester, technical writing, security expert, web master/web designer, good communication skills and a general understanding of the company and its products.

Maureen (2009) said that interest should be considered when choosing a job. She advised “let your job point you to an interest”. According to her, most establishments are interested in specialists in most jobs. Research carried out by Marcel (1999) discussed the importance of information technology.  She discovered that technology has always been viewed in economic terms.  Information  technology,  according  to her, has been  a reliable  form  of the  new technology  emerging over the  past  years. Not only are individuals increasing   their personal use of information technology, more agencies   and businesses are becoming more reliant on it. With the arrival of new information technology comes the awareness that

unless one invests  in technology,  he  or she will be lift  behind.  Marcel (1999) maintained that  individuals  who posses knowledge  of the internet, spreadsheets,  word  processing,  programming  languages,  and  other software have tools  that may  give  them  competitive  advantages over  those  individuals  who have  no knowledge  of these programs. Osigwelem (2005) discussed the various ways in which information technology can be applied in the teaching and learning of science.  He  explained  how the emerging technology  of internet  and internet  resources  like e-mail,  chart rooms,  video  conferencing  and tele presence  can be effectively  applied in teaching  and learning  of science.

Nwachukwu (2005) describes information technology as providing limitless possibilities for the effective teaching and learning of Biology.  The introduction of information technology in the educational system, according to him, will provide education with more productive learning systems. Egb and Egbo (2005) have discussed some developments in data analysis, which have resulted from the availability of computer facilities.  They  recommend the  use of computer as  tool   for carrying  out repetitive  calculations, as a means  of illustrating  statistical  methods  and concepts,  for motivating  students  to think  about  statistical  analysis  and  also  as a research  tool.

Employment

Marsan  (2007) in his  research  discovered that companies  love finding  employees  who can  make sure that  technology  is being  used  to deliver business value. Technical  skills  according to him  are important,  but  companies  need  people  who know  how to apply  them.  He recommends that network professionals develop broad technical skills rather than becoming experts  in one area Other researcher examines skills required for individuals pursuing careers in information technology.  To  obtain  a precise  match  between  workers  skills  and job  skills  required  for the job  has always  been  difficult.  In some cases, employers’ intense hiring requirements led individuals to gain   more education than required.  Consequently, that created an over supply of well-educated workers (Jackson, 2003).  According  to Braverman (1974),  skill content  of most jobs

was  declining  even as  individuals’ educational  attainment  continued  to rise - an excess  number  of  highly  educated  workers  relative  to the number  of jobs  that could make  full use of their skills. Noticing  this drastic  imbalance,   Jackson (2003) concluded  that there  was a need  for  new programs  to  set the  national  occupational  skill standards  and improve  the transition  from college  to workforce.
           
The skills mismatch hypothesis  relies  on the notion  that technology  has driven  an  increase  in educational   requirement for today’s jobs.  However,   the education requirements have not increased. Corporations  seek  graduates  who are  able to apply  skills  learned  from their  respective  institutions in operating  sophisticated  technological  tools.

Salary
Having  qualified information  technology  skills  puts  a professional  in  a position where he  or she  can demand higher  salaries,  Jackson  maintains.  However, within  most  job  markets,  shifts  in requirements  and  skills  are often  used as means  for measuring  salary  options  for individuals. Competitive salaries  are offered to individuals  with higher  skills.  Economists  studying  large  growth in wage inequality  concluded  that the  rising  payoff  to education reflected  an imbalance  in the supply  and demand  for skilled  labour  due to  technological advances.  Therefore, it is imperative   that individuals maintain  technical  competence in order  to remain competitive for promotion (Zmud et al, 1986). 

Purpose of  the study
The objectives of this study are to investigate the various skills currently expected of the technical professionals. The study also attempts to focus on the information technology jobs that are in demand by industries locally and globally.

Research hypotheses
1.         Information technology skill is not significantly valuable as a job requirement
2.         Individuals skilled in information technology have no significantly better chances of obtaining employment than those individuals who have no knowledge of information technology.

            Qualified information technology professionals have no significant privilege to demand competitive salaries.

Methodology
Design
This work is a correlational study involving the use of correlational techniques to ascertain the extent each of the identified variables is related to the market options for technical professionals.

 

 

 

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Figure 1: A graphical representation of the research variables in this study

 

Population
The management and staff of Hydro Resources Industries Ltd, Obowo, and 4 newly established banks in Ahiazu Mbaise Local Government Area, all in Imo State of Nigeria, constituted the population of the study. In all there were about 200 staff.

Sample and sampling technique
The sampling technique used was random sampling. The researcher wrote the names of all the 6 newly established banks in Ahiazu Mbaise L.G.A. in a piece of paper, folded them properly and put them into a bag. He shook the bag well to mix-up the folded pieces of papers and then began to pick them one after the order without replacement. This is how the four banks were chosen. The Hydro Resources Industries ltd was selected purposively. From each of the four selected banks (which is a little more than 60% of the 6 newly established banks in Ahiazu Mbaise L.G.A), 10 newly employed staff were randomly selected from each establishment under study. In all, the sample was made of 50 staff (a little greater than ten percent of the staff population).


Instrument for data collection
The instrument used in this study was a Likert-type questionnaire that has five points for each item. These are Definitely not, Probably not, May be, Probably, Definitely. There are three sections in the questionnaire with 22 item questions. Each section deals on a hypothesis.
1.         Information Technology skills had 10 items
2.         Obtaining employment had 7 items
3.         Competitive salary had 5 items.

Administration of instrument
The researcher personally visited each of the 4 banks, randomly drew the 10 staff and administered the copies of the instrument to them. The researcher waited on the respondents to fill out the instrument and collected the
responses there after. 

Method of data analysis
The various responses to the instrument were scored. The respondents’ scores from the various  sections of the instrument were used to obtain the chi-square. The hypothesis concerning the significance or otherwise of the coefficient of correlation were tested by comparing the calculated values with the tabulated values at the relevant degree of freedom.  The hypotheses were tested employing the chi square statistics.

TABLE  1
Table 1:Information technology skills  (IT)


Variable

lT1

lT2

lT3

lT4

lT5

lT6

lT7

lT8

lT9

lT10

Total

Definitely Not

6    E11=0.10

0     E12=5.72

0   E13=5.49

1   E14=0.07

26   E15=81.54

5   E16=0.04

4   E17=0.40

6 E18=0.03

5 E19=0.0044

0    E110=5.72

53

Probably Not

3    E21=0.04

0     E22=2.92

1   E23=1.16

0     E24=2.74

7  E25=6.96

5  E26=1.73

0    E27=2.80

7E28=5.99

4   E29=0.73

0    E210=2.92

27

May be

4   E31=0.78

0     E32=6.05

4  E33=0.56

3    E34=1.26

10  E35=21.34

10  E36=3.02

0   E37=5.81

6 E38=0.0083

9   E39=2.33

2    E 39=2.33

56

Probably 

18  E41=3.37

4     E42=6.00

19 E43=3.75

12  E44=0.00033

3   E45=6.49

19  E46=3.75

12  E4=0.0043

14 E48=0.18

15   E49=1.09

6    E10=3.57

118

Definitely

15  E 51=1.60

46   E 52=24.32

24   E54=25

26   E54=1.07

0    E55=20.76

9   E56=7.41

32   E57=92

16 E58=1.69

9   E9=6.30

32  E510=3.94

209

Total

46

50

48

47

46

48

48

49

45

50

463

χ2 Calculated  =  Σ (O-E)2
                                          E        =   271.43
 
χ2 Table = χ2  (36,0.05)  =  55.76
χ2  Calculated  >  χ2 table

The null hypothesis is then rejected.  Information technology skills are significantly valuable (at P < 0.05).
 
TABLE  2
Table 2: Obtaining employment  (OE)
 


Variables

OE1

OE2

OE3

OE4

OE5

OE6

OE7

Total

Definitely not

O   E11=9.85

1    E12=8.15

6     E13=1.63

19   E14=8.50

30   E15=41.22

5   E16=2.23

10  E17=0.01

70

Probably not

1   E21=3.59

2   E22=2.24

1    E23=3.70

9    E24=2.38

6     E25=0.06

9   E26=2.58

11 E27=6.13

39

May be

5    E31=80

7    E32=1.23

11  E33=0.014

19   E34=7.11

7    E35=1.11

13  E36=0.77

13   E37=77

75

Probably

12   E41=0.16

14   E42=0.88

15   E43=1.54

10   E44=0.043

3   E45=5.52

15  E46=1.97

8   E47=0.58

77

Definitely

30   E51=28.85

25   E52=14.42

16   E53=1.41

1   E54=9.75

2   E55=8.00

5   E56=3.60

5  E57=3.60

84

Total

48

49

49

48

48

47

47

346

 
χ2  Calculated = Σ(0- E)2 =186.40
                              E

χ2 Table  =  χ2 (24.0.05) = 36.42
 
χ2 Calculated > χ2 table

The null hypothesis then rejected.  Individual using information technology have significantly better chances of obtaining employment  than those who have no knowledge of information  technology. 
TA
Table 3:Completive salary (cs)
 


Options

Cs1

Cs2

Cs3

Cs4

Cs5

TOTAL

Definitely not

6          E11=2.94

0        E12=3.02

1          E13=1.35

7      E14=6.09

1      E15=1.41

 15

Probably not

4          E21=0.18

2       E22=0.47

1          E23=1.54

7      E24=5.20

6      E25=0.38

16

May be

9          E31=0.11

5        E32=1.18

11       E33=1.06

11    E34=1.55

4      E35=2.17

40

Probably

15   E41=0.00043

18      E42=0.86

14         E43=0.06

10    E44=1.14

17    E45=0.21

74

Definitely

15        E51=1.15

24       E52=0.91

22       E52=o.25

11    E54=3.07

26    E55=1.69

98

Total

49

49

49

46

50

243

 

χ2 Calculated  =  Σ(0-E)2   =   37.98
                                 E
 
χ2 table = X2 (16,0.05) = 26.30
 
χ2 calculated  > χ2 table
 
Therefore the null hypothesis is rejected. Qualified information  technology professionals have privilege to demand  for competitive salaries.




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Implications
The findings of this study have far reaching implications for graduates especially the technical ones. The findings indicate that computer is valuable for most establishments. It shows also that technology is leading to the replacement of workers. The results indicate that individuals possessing information technology biased skills have a better chance of obtaining employment than those individuals who have no knowledge of these programs.

Conclusion
The results of the analysis naturally lead to the conclusion that information technology skills are
valuable at all levels of economic development.         Individuals using information technology have better
chance of obtaining employment than those without the knowledge of information technology.
Qualified information technology professionals have privilege of making more incomes, since it gives
room for self employment. 

Recommendations
It is evident that graduates, especially the technical ones, should acquire information technology skills
in order to remain relevant. Computer education should be introduced at all levels of the educational
system to facilitate the process of transition from school to work.

References
Braveman, H. (2004): Labour and monopoly capital:  the degradation of work in the twenty first century.  New York and London:  Monthly Review of work in the UK press, P. P. xiv + 465.

Carolyn, D.D. (2007) IT Job Skills that matter now http://www.itworld.comp/print/1667.

Computer Hope (tm), (2009) What types of jobs are available in the computer industry? Article posted on the internet. http://www.computerhopes.com/issues/choo0764.htm

Egbo I. and  Egbo M. (2005) Impact of computer on statistical, training  and data analysis,  Alvana Journal of Science Vol. 2, No. 2
Jackson, T. J., (2003) IT skills: employment and salary option for the technical professional. A centennial publication vol. 1 Fall 2003.

Laura, S. (2009) Top 10 technical career skills information  and resources http://jobsearchtech.aboutcom/od/techcareerskills/tp/Techskills.htm.10th Oct 2009

Marcel, D. J. (1999): The impact of technology on U. S. higher education- a philosophical technology approach: Journal of Information Input 1, (2) 63 – 72.

Maureen,  C. H. (2009): Consider the non project sector to expand your employment options. Article posted on the internet. http://www/quintcareers.com/non/profitemploymenthtm.10th Oct. 2009.
Nwachukwu, C. U. (2005)  Enhancing  the teaching and learning of Biology using the computer and the internet.  Alvana Journal of Science Vol 2, No 2,

Osigwelem, (2005) Information technology in teaching and learning of science.  Alvana Journal of Science  Vol. 2, No. 2,

Zmud, R. W., Boynton, A. C. and Jacobs, G. C. (1986).  The information economy: a new perspective for effective information system  management.  Databse 16, (1), 17 – 23.