Viik: More IT People Needed ({{commentsTotal}})

Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

IT expert Linnar Viik says the sector has been on thin ice in Estonia for the last 10 years because of staff shortages, despite high productivity and value added.

He and other panelists on an IT-themed edition of ETV's "Vabariigi kodanikud" said there could be twice as many IT personnel as there are now.

"This means that right now there are half as many people behind the public sector and private sector applications, keeping them alive, developing and innovating every day. That means the existing people and ideas have been many times more successful - or that we are working on the verge of burnout and have not valued IT implementation the way other countries have done it," he said.

Taavi Kotka, undersecretary for IT at the Economic Affairs Ministry, said the IT sector wasn't burning out, but the main problem was that money in the form of foreign orders was not being put to use.

Kotka said IT personnel make up 3 percent of all employed people but account for 9 percent of the economy.

Viik said both private and public sector has done well to cooperate in the IT field.

"It's been a very unique model that has been kept tied together by restraint from politicians, who have not promised too much, and actual things have been done in proportion with the words. And we haven't outreached our grasp; we haven't had an IT boom or bubble or have one pop. I think the public and private sector have acted very well, cooperating on important solutions."

He added that Estonia had "no examples" of everyday information-society services that were done by solely the state or private sector working on its own.