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Gates: As US IT grads slow, Russia fills the gap

Addressing a worldwide shortage of IT talent, Gates urges Russians to build skills and fill the gap.

The fact that the U.S. isn't producing Internet graduates from its universities to fuel the growing need for skilled workers in the high-tech market was on the mind of Bill Gates as he met with Russian leaders in Moscow yesterday, reports Reuters.

After the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russia, with its excellent university system, quickly filled the Internet technology gap and began exporting workers to the U.S.

"Worldwide, a lot of the developed countries are not graduating as many IT students as they were in the past, which is kind of ironic as it does mean it does increase the opportunities," Gates said.

Indeed, education standards are high in those countries but wages are still comparatively low for IT jobs.

"There is a shortage of IT skills on a worldwide basis. Anybody who can get those skills here now will have a lot of opportunity," Gates said.

Gates spoke at the 2006 Microsoft Business Forum in Moscow in a speech in which he emphasized the need to maintain the pace of research in the IT sector.

He said roll-up and stuff-in-your-pocket screens would be available in the next few years and students would study from portable computer tablets that act as interactive tutors.

"The curriculum will be redesigned in such a way around that device," he said.