Answering the Skills Questions

By Mark Roberti

Is there an RFID skills shortage? Will there be one? Are universities and training companies meeting the needs of the marketplace? Help us find the answers to these and other important questions.

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It’s the start of a new year, and an important one for the radio frequency identification industry. This is the year that RFID—more specifically Electronic Product Code—technologies will begin to be deployed in open supply chains. One big question is whether there are enough, or will be enough, trained technicians with the skills needed to deploy UHF systems.

Right now, there is no critical shortage, though there is competition for people with RFID experience and skills. As deployments ramp up, my guess is that there will be a pinch toward the end of this year and that it will get worse next year. Are universities stepping up to train people? Are private training companies doing the job?

This week, RFID Journal is launching two online surveys to assess the state of the job market and determine whether enough is being done to train people to deploy and maintain RFID systems in the coming year. The first survey is the Confidential RFID Salary Survey, which will be a quarterly survey. We’ll provide updated information on salary trends every three months. This information and the questionnaire will be accessible through a new Career Center, which we will launch next week as part of a complete upgrade of our Web site.

The second survey is our Confidential Education and Skills Survey, which asks employers about their hiring plans and requirements, and asks academics and students about the courses offered at their schools.

Each survey takes less than five minutes to complete. I hope you will take the time to fill them out, because it will help us provide you with high-quality information both on the state of the job market and on whether schools are preparing students to fill those jobs.

To thank you for participating, for each survey we are giving away three free one-year subscriptions to RFID Journal and one free admission to an RFID Journal executive conference—either RFID Journal LIVE! 2005 in Chicago, April 10-12, or an event scheduled for Europe later this year. Winners will be chosen at random by March 30. If you fill out both surveys, you double your chances to win.

The results of the surveys will be published in RFID Journal and presented at RFID Journal LIVE! 2005. I believe this information will be invaluable to employers, educators and job seekers and will help support the growth of the RFID industry.

Thank you for filling out the surveys, and I wish you luck in the random drawings.

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below.