As IT job opportunities in the United States and Europe start to contract -- a trend that predates the current financial meltdown but may accelerate because of it -- perhaps it's time to look abroad, where there may, in fact, be more growth and better opportunities to advance your career.
For example, the International Monetary Fund now predicts that the U.S. economy will barely grow -- at a 0.1 percent rate -- in 2009, while European economic growth will range from a slight contraction (-0.2 percent) in Italy to slight growth (0.2 percent) in France. Canada will be the superstar of the major developed economies, predicted to grow 1.2 percent.
By comparison, the IMF expects China to grow at about 8 percent, with India at about 7 percent, and Russia about 6 percent -- despite the financial crisis. The world at large should grow about 3 percent.
Tech jobs overseas are no longer just the scut work of heads-down programming. As foreign, U.S., and global firms have set up shop throughout the world, they've increased the demand for a wide range of tech talent in those locations. Foreign companies are particularly looking for IT professionals with business fluency, and such experience is more common in the United States than in most places. The combination of industry-specific skills and knowledge of American markets is an invaluable asset that outsource providers from countries like China, India, and Russia lack and will pay a premium for.
And the experience you'll gain from working overseas will make you even more valuable. According to Rob McGovern, CEO of JobFox, an international employment agency for IT, in today's global economy, people who truly understand how to do business globally are a minority. "IT is going global. The IT profession is going global. Developing product for markets all over the world is something you have to learn how to do. Overseas work is a huge enhancer for IT professionals," he says.
So where should you move to accelerate your tech career? InfoWorld interviewed outsource suppliers and industry analysts from around the world and found 12 hot cities and six promising regions, as well as what it takes to make the move. Many are in the Far East of Asia and in Eastern Europe, but Latin America, the Middle East, and -- closer to home -- Canada are all strong possibilities as well, for at least some tech skills.
The most popular types of tech jobs outside the United States vary considerably, and emerging IT centers are themselves trying to diversify their own areas of expertise. But as a gross generalization, product support and business process development positions are more likely to be in India than in Indianapolis; embedded software development positions are more likely to be in China than Cincinnati.
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