The start of the year is a traditional time for all kinds of players to prognosticate about what the new year may bring. CompTIA jumped onto this bandwagon on January 21 with the release of its IT Industry Outlook 2014. Their forecast falls into a sadly familiar vein that I've often characterized in my discussions of the monthly employment figures from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in recent years as "slow growth mode." The short version of their forecast is "We're growing in IT, but slowly, and a little more slowly in the USA than across the globe writ large."
According to the press release covering the report, "CompTIA's consensus forecast projects a 2014 growth rate of 3.4 percent for the global IT industry, with upside potential of 5.9 percent. The U.S. forecast is slightly lower: 3 percent, with upside potential of 5.4 percent." According to the same press release, a recent UN forecast for projected global economic growth was somewhat lower (but also focused on the entire economy, not just on IT) at 3 percent globally, and 2.5 percent in the United States.
The hot sectors elicited from the report start with cloud computing, big data, and mobile apps -- a very familiar set of topics, as reported in numerous other surveys -- with rising business confidence offset in part by margin pressures on IT vendors in many key product categories. According to this CompTIA survey, "IT services and software show the most growth potential," with hardware growing more slowly, again because of intense pressures on profit margins squeezing vendors.
The report summarizes results from a pool of 525 IT industry companies conducted in late December 2013, and is available free to CompTIA member organizations. And while it's not exactly cause for wild celebration, there's something to be said for a forecast on the positive side of things, even if the growth and improvement expected isn't terribly exciting. At least, things are moving upward and onward, rather than downward and inward!