The term 'information technology' means computers, ancillary equipment, software and firmware (Hardware) and similar procedures, services (including support services) and related resources. This means that information is an important resource that may be generated, shared, and utilized in decision-making. An IT professional makes sure that this information is available to users as and when needed.
IT professionals perform a variety of duties that range from installing applications to designing complex computer networks and information databases. A few of the duties that IT professionals perform may include data management, networking, engineering computer hardware, database and software design, as well as the management and administration of entire systems.
Several industries are associated with information technology, such as computer hardware, software, electronics , semiconductors , internet ,telecom equipment , e-commerce and computer services. It can be safely said that IT plays a central role in all industries.
IT is changing every aspect of human life, including communications, trade, manufacturing, services, culture, entertainment, education, research, national defense and global security.
Therefore having professionals adept in IT skills is imperative for the growth of any sector and the economy as a whole.
According to International Data Corporation (IDC) research, Information technology will be an employment machine, generating 5.8 million new jobs in the coming four years.
IDC predicts that the IT industry will be an engine powering economies out of economic doldrums, creating more that 75,000 new businesses in the next four years and adding jobs at a rate of 3 percent annually.
The Gartner Worldwide IT Spending Forecast is the leading indicator of major technology , Worldwide devices spending (which includes PCs, tablets, mobile phones and printers) is forecast to reach $718 billion in 2013, up 7.9 percent from 2012 (see Table 1). Despite flat spending on PCs and a modest decline in spending on printers, a short-term boost to spending on premium mobile phones has driven an upward revision in the devices sector growth for 2013 from Gartner's previous forecast of 6.3 percent.
Analysts project that Nigeria's software market has the potential to be worth USD6Bn whereas currently it is netting around USD 2 Bn(USD0.47 Bn in Q1 2012). Same is the case with overall IT market which has been estimated to be over USD 150Bn, with projected growth of 10% over the global average.
In relation to the rest of Africa, Nigeria has the second largest number of Internet users (10,000,000) following Egypt (Internet World Statistics, 2008) and represents 18.5% of Internet users in Africa. So Nigeria is poised to play a very crucial role in the growth of African continent and professionals with the right IT skills would be in great demand with this scope of high growth.
The development in the industry over a decade has seen the employment of over 2 million Nigerians in the core ICT industry with more employment opportunities created in other sectors of the national economy.
Around 95% of the software used in Nigeria is imported. Of the USD 1 Bn strong sector, Nigeria is not able to benefit and this opportunity is slipping away due to lack of trained and skilled manpower in the local market. With just 35% of the national ICT awareness, we need to strongly focus on improving this for a sustained growth.