Computer Tech jobs in New Orleans LA

Matt Wisdom can't hire people fast enough for TurboSquid, the web-based technology company he founded in New Orleans in 2000. TurboSquid hired 31 people last year and wants to hire more. But Wisdom said a shortage of engineers makes it difficult for TurboSquid and other technology companies to find qualified people.

24mycomputer_1024.jpg Eliot Kamenitz, The Times-PicayuneTurboSquid President Matt Wisdom says a good education in computer science is crucial for prospective employees.

"There are so many companies hiring here and there are challenges to find enough staff, " said Wisdom, whose company sells digital files and images from artists around the world to other companies.

Technology companies account for 5 percent to 10 percent of new jobs in the city, he said. Often local technology companies have to try to find the talent outside the state, he said. But getting people to uproot their lives and move is difficult, he said. It's harder to get recruits from out of state to relocate.

The shortage of local talent is due in part to the lack of strong university programs, Wisdom said. Schools are teaching knowledge, not a trade, he said. More needs to be taught to students so that they understand the field, he said. Universities have the ability to bridge the gap and train students to fill open spots companies have in the city.

"Getting the universities in sync to meet the engineering needs will help the whole city, " Wisdom said. "Let's make New Orleans an engineering mecca."

"If they can get a good education in computer science, we'll train them, we'll give them the experience, " Wisdom said. "There's an enormous amount of opportunities here."

Tulane University is taking note. The university recently started focusing on the development of a computer science program. After Hurricane Katrina, Tulane had to make some cuts to departments. The Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science was eliminated, while the School of Engineering and Science was created. The dean of the school, Nicholas Altiero, created a ten-year plan for the development of the new school. The readdition of computer science classes was part of his plan and courses were offered during the 2011-2012 academic year. Three faculty members were hired and professors who do computer work in other disciplines will also have appointments in the program.

"The University has been very supportive of this initiative to develop a new computer science program at Tulane, " Altiero said in an email. "Of course, this takes resources and that has been our biggest challenge."

At the moment there are no degree programs for computer science, but Altiero wants the university to offer an undergraduate and graduate degree in the field in the next three to five years. Since Tulane is a private school, revenues for the university come from tuition, research funding and gifts. The university will continue to seek financial support and investments for its computer science program.

"In addition to anticipated enrollment and research funding, we are seeking support for the program from corporations and individuals who are committed to building a strong computer science program at Tulane, " he said.

Altiero wants the advice from the industry and professionals to help develop the program and ensure that students are getting the proper education to train them in the field.

"We also envision an industry advisory board to provide continuous input, " he said. "Adjunct appointments will also be made as appropriate."

Altiero said there are many opportunities in computer science, especially in New Orleans. The city has seen huge growth in its technology sector, and the number of job opportunities is increasing rapidly, he said. "Computing and computation are at the core of virtually all technological advancement and there is a current and growing need for more computer science graduates, " Altiero said. "This is one of the motivating factors for our building a strong computer science department as quickly as feasible."

Other local companies are also seeking graduates with computer science knowledge. Federated Sample was founded two years ago and distributes surveys digitally. The business is headquartered in New Orleans and plans to hire this year if it can find the talent. Patrick Comer, the CEO of Federated Sample, said that it's important for students to learn computer science skills at an early age.

"It's a building block of how systems work, " Comer said. "Technology is key, it's a fundamental need. These are things you have to learn to be successful today."

Students need to learn how to code, how to utilize basic technological systems and how to use social media, he said. It's important for local universities to invest in computer science classes and education, Comer said.

"We can't support the growth of the industry without the talent, " he said. "It's a direct correlation. The more you know about technology, the more opportunities you'll have."

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