Is there finally light at the end of the IT jobs tunnel? According to Janco Associates's latest IT job market report, the answer is a qualified yes.
Hand in hand with the news that 17,500 IT jobs were created in the last three months comes another piece of positive news: The overall job market participation rate is also up. Granted, it's only up 0.2 percent -- bringing the rate to 63.2 percent -- but it's still an improvement from the flat 63 percent of the beginning of the year, and a further improvement over the 62.75 percent that the economy scraped at the end of last year.
Last month's numbers alone for IT hires are encouraging: up to some 8,300 -- the third straight month that the number of jobs opening in the sector went up. If last month's gains are sustained for another month, that would bring the job participation rate back to its highest point across all of last year.
We're still far from out of the woods, though. Janco's predictions about future IT hiring, based on feedback from 103 CIOs across the last two weeks, indicate that budgets will remain tightly belted and hiring will continue to be slow until the monthly IT job creation rate tops 15,000 a month for several months in a row. This sounds like a bit of a chicken-egg problem, though: will IT hiring only increase if, well, IT hiring increases?
These bits of good news are reflected elsewhere in the economy as well: an uptick in consumer confidence now at its highest since January 2008.
Janco's stats about which fields are experiencing the best rates of hiring tilt strongly toward health care and finance/insurance, but they provide little data about which IT skills are hottest. Linux and cloud computing skills are consistently big draws, along with big data (such as Hadoop), mobile app programming, and HTML5.
Many of the most endangered IT skills revolve around technologies that don't scale to meet the needs of the new cloud-driven enterprise. Mike Weast, regional vice president of the IT practice at technology staffing company Addison Group, cited Sybase's PowerBuilder as one such technology, with many existing enterprise PowerBuilder apps now rewritten in C#/.Net or Java -- and along with that, a demand for qualified people to build and oversee such projects. "Program managers and business analysts are always in need," he added.
As virtualization takes over the data center, server administration is another job that is likely to be endangered, Weast believes. "If I'm on the infrastructure side of the house," he said, "I'm going to want to run up the ladder to be a network admin."
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