The tech jobs hiring boom is real -- for these skills

After some tough years for IT and tech pros, high demand for tech workers is here in some areas -- and is expected to continue

It's not a myth. The technology industry is in the midst of a hiring surge stronger than any we've seen since the days of the dot-com boom. InfoWorld's interviews with economists, technology executives, job seekers, and hiring board managers indicate that employment in the tech sector is up a solid 10 percent this year -- by some bullish estimates, closer to 20 percent. And despite the tendency of the media to fixate on California's Silicon Valley, the hottest job markets are in places like New York and Washington, D.C., where firms in financial services and the federal government hire droves of IT hands.

But don't make the mistake of thinking that jobs are going begging. They are not. Landing a position as a programmer, developer, database analyst, or support desk jockey still takes the right experience, the right education, and a willingness to chart a new career path when necessary.

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If anyone exemplifies that last point, it's Cyril Fluck, a 33-year-old software engineer now employed by Vertical Response, which does email marketing surveys.

The French-born Fluck came to the United States in 2008, armed with a master's degree in computer science and more than seven years' experience coding in C++. He quickly found out that a job seeker in 2008 was facing one of the worst markets in years, and his prospects were even dimmer because employers wanted people conversant in newer programming languages.

Fluck applied his analytical skills to the problem and realized he had to upgrade his repertoire and bide his time until the tech outlook improved improved. His survey of the job market convinced him that he should learn Ruby on Rails, the hottest language in the industry. (InfoWorld's Peter Wayner has surveyed Ruby and the other six ascendant programming languages. He's also surveyed which scripting languages are worth investing in.) Rather than returning to school, he founded his own company and developed a website called Footbalistic crammed with soccer statistics for the rabid fan. It was hardly a coincidence that its architecture is based on Ruby.

Footbalistic failed, but not before Fluck had mastered Ruby on Rails and gained more than two years of demonstrable experiencing using it. By last spring, he was ready to attack the job market again. He posted his résumé on a Monday evening and by 7:30 a.m. the next morning had gotten at least 20 calls, some from recruiters with leads to multiple positions. "If I hadn't taken down my résumé, I would have had to hire a secretary," he jokes. Before long, he had a trio of actual offers, then a new job.

How strong is the tech jobs boom?
Right now, the market for men and women in high-tech looks very strong. "It feels a lot like the late '90s," says Axel Kratell, who had little trouble landing a job as a product manager at Kaazing, a company developing applications of the HTML5 WebSocket protocol, after a stint with Cisco Systems.

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