No matter which political camp in which you choose to pitch your tent, it's hard to deny that technology is at the heart of President-Elect Barack Obama new plans for the United States. As we learn more about what ideas he has in mind to strengthen the economy and gird the country's existing infrastructure, it's plain to see that new jobs in the tech sector will be created along the way.
In a discussion of his economic agenda over the weekend, Obama pledged to put computers in classrooms, make broadband access more readily available, and also make electronic medical records a reality. Obama's plan will need skilled tech workers in order to make those promises a reality, so it's time for people with an IT background to start polishing those resumes.
Here are at least three ways to plug yourself in to the new economic plan:
During the address, Obama said, "We will repair broken schools, make them energy-efficient, and put new computers in our classrooms. Because to help our children compete in a 21st century economy, we need to send them to 21st century schools.”
While there' aren't details yet on how he plans to march out computers in classrooms, it's safe to assume that schools will need qualified people to manage new systems. It's anybody's guess at this point whether classrooms computer setups would take the form of vouchers for commercial hardware, incentives for using open source software, or a combination of both. Smart tech workers will get up to speed on what works best in educational settings and get ready to offer their insight at the district level at the first available opportunity.
Obama says he has big plans for broadband. "Here, in the country that invented the Internet, every child should have the chance to get online, and they’ll get that chance when I’m president – because that’s how we’ll strengthen America’s competitiveness in the world.” Broadband access in neighborhoods doesn't happen overnight, and it takes lots of hands on deck to make it happen. From workers laying cable or fiber-optic line, to the tech support customers will inevitably need, widespread broadband access is likely to also mean lots of jobs.
Under Obama's plan, the healthcare industry will need more tech workers, too. "...we must also ensure that our hospitals are connected to each other through the Internet. That is why the economic recovery plan I’m proposing will help modernize our health care system -- and that won’t just save jobs, it will save lives. We will make sure that every doctor’s office and hospital in this country is using cutting edge technology and electronic medical records..."
Putting the medical records of millions of Americans online is a scary notion, and you can bet it won't happen without plenty of stopgaps and safety precautions along the way. As the process gets underway, there will be a huge need for programmers and engineers to develop secure ways to store and transmit sensitive data. The result? Plenty of jobs for people to create and implement ways to make electronic medical record access a reality.
So, there you have it. I've come up with three ways that President-Elect Obama's plans for America will help lead to new jobs in the tech sector, but I'm sure you can think of lots more. Share your thoughts in the comments.