Career Watch: The IT jobs outlook
By Jamie Eckle
November 7, 2011 06:00 AM ET
Q&A: Todd Thibodeaux
The president and CEO of CompTIA discusses the IT job situation.
Are there a lot of IT job openings right now? IT workers have experienced their share of layoffs during the recession and the slow-moving recovery. And it's a fact that some domestic IT jobs that were sent overseas will never return, because workers in other countries with similar abilities can do those jobs at a significantly lower cost.
But it's also a fact that IT jobs are readily available today in the U.S. and will be available in even greater numbers in 2012 and beyond. The jobs site Indeed.com recorded more than 450,000 IT industry job postings in August. That's 25% higher than August 2010. Similar results occurred at CareerBuilder, Dice, Monster and other job search engines.
Of course, all job markets are not created equal. New York, San Antonio, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Seattle, Baltimore, Greensboro and St. Louis are among the current strongest markets for high-tech jobs.
But aren't there also a lot of unemployed IT professionals? Why aren't they matching up with the jobs? The biggest factor is that the skills of unemployed IT workers often don't match what employers are looking for. An IT career requires a lifelong commitment to continuing education and training. Individuals who have failed to keep pace with changes in technology -- cloud computing, mobile computing, security, unified communications, social media -- are most often the ones who struggle to stay employed.
If the credentials and experience of the job seeker do not satisfy the desired qualifications of the jobs offered, the openings will remain unfilled. The ever-accelerating technology adoption curve places increasing importance on the need to continually update skills of the high-tech workforce.
But keeping technical and business skills current and relevant is something that employers must address as well. It's easy for companies to sign off on training when business is good and profits are high. It's a much tougher call when the focus is on every dollar on the bottom line. But ongoing training and education of IT staff is not a luxury; it's a necessity.
Todd Thibodeaux's Advice for Unemployed Techies
Workers must regularly take inventory of their skill sets and evaluate what it is they bring to the table. A diverse set of technology credentials rather than super depth in one area is attractive to employers, because most IT pros invariably have to interoperate with a variety of products, networks and applications. Demonstrable skills that are verified with professional credentials and certifications are an even bigger plus in the hiring game. There are many resources for job hunters, but here are six steps to get you started with your search:
1. Join LinkedIn. Your network of contacts and their contacts is the best place to start looking for a job.
2. Do your homework. Spend some time researching where you want to focus your job search efforts. The CompTIA IT Pro Community is a great stop for career resources and other information to help you with your search.
3. Be sure your résumé is in top shape.CareerBuilder.com offers résumé review and résumé writing services for a fee.
4. Start searching.
- The CompTIA IT Job Board offers targeted employment connections within the IT industry for IT professionals and employers.
- CareerBuilder.com, the largest employment website in the U.S., displays open positions in multiple industries listed in newspapers and online portals.
- CareerOneStop.org, a U.S. government-sponsored employment resource, offers online tools to connect job seekers and prospective employers in a variety of industries.
- Dice.com is the leading career website for technology and engineering professionals in the U.S.
- Job Target.com operates job boards in multiple industries across the globe as part of its career search services.
- Monster.com is an international job bank that includes multiple industries.
- Thingamajob.com is a free resource, owned and operated by Allegis Group, the world's largest staffing firm. It offers online employment tools to connect technical and administrative professionals with prospective employers.
5. Prepare for the interview. Get help on how to prepare, what to wear and how to follow up on interviews from Monster.com.
6. Specify your desired compensation package. Salary and benefits are an important part of the job search. For average salaries, cost-of-living adjustments and benefit comparisons, visit Salary.com. Basic reports are free, but there is a charge for more details.
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