BART Has Shortage of Computer Systems Engineers | NBC Bay Area

BART Has Shortage of Computer Systems Engineers

Transit agency says it has 62 openings it needs to fill by November

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    NEWSLETTERS

    As BART continues to upgrade its system with new trains and new technologies, it is poised to bolster its engineering workforce to help realize some of its innovative and challenging projects. Jodi Hernandez reports. (Published Wednesday, July 20, 2016)

    As BART continues to upgrade its system with new trains and new technologies, it is poised to bolster its engineering workforce to help realize some of its innovative and challenging projects.

    But the agency says it is having a tough time finding qualified candidates.

    About half of BART's current engineering staff are eligible to retire. The agency has 62 openings it needs to fill by November.

    "We're having a horrible time recruiting them," said Alicia Trost, BART spokeswoman. "Part of it is because we're living in the Bay Area and we're competing with tech giants that are willing to pay a lot more for computer systems skills."

    Current BART engineers say the job is highly rewarding. They say working on new technology that helps the Bay Area keep moving is exhilarating.

    "It's fun; it's always something new," said Weldon Chen, a computer systems engineer. "Always, new things come up that need to be fixed."

    Besides phasing in new train cars, the agency is working on several computer network and software upgrades, such as converting ticket vending machines to feature nine languages and other software-based projects.

    "I'm acutally doing prototypes, color lines for ETA messages, countdown times for how long the train will be at the station things like that," said engineer Evan Brown.

    Trost said the jobs most difficult to fill so far have been traction power, system integration and computer engineering. "It's a lot of different engineering jobs," she said.

    BART's board of directors recently approved enlisting a recruitment consultant to help with the hiring process. The salaries for the engineering jobs range from $90,000 to $160,000 a year.

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