IT gets its groove back

Salaries are rising, and bonuses are back. Though workload worries remain, optimism among IT employees is running high. Here's why.

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High output highly valued

The pressure to operate at highly productive levels isn't likely to let up anytime soon, according to Ripaldi, as employers continue to seek IT professionals with multiple skill sets to squeeze as much as they can out of their investments in labor. "Sometimes that's a challenge for workers because it's really two positions in one," he says. "The hiring manager might only have one position available but is trying to fill two voids, so he's looking for a senior-level person who can wear multiple hats."

Shaver agrees that the opportunities today are geared toward "anyone who isn't trying to be a one-trick pony." IT professionals, he says, "need to expand their portfolio of skills to survive. There's more and more coming at us."

The uptick in hiring won't result in IT professionals working fewer hours, says Ripaldi. Instead, it will lead to more people generating higher levels of output than a year ago. "There is a lot of productivity out there, and that isn't going to change," he says.

Those higher levels of output may be one reason why IT professionals like Satyanathan see growing appreciation for the value of IT. After years of outsourcing and depleting its internal technical talent, his former employer has begun hiring back more on-site IT staffers, he says. "There is also an emphasis on streamlining the hiring process for people in technical roles and giving more options for these types of tracks to grow up the ladder within the organization," he says.

The Plateau Group's Shaver also sees change on the horizon. "Our company has had to spend to grow, and unfortunately, little of that has been in salary increases," he says. "But I'm hopeful that as things settle down with the growth phase that salaries will begin to match the growth of the business."

Even without a salary increase, Jenkins, of Miami Dade Aviation, has his own reasons for staying where he is, not the least of which is his belief in the future of IT, both in general and in aviation in particular. "There's a new mission every day, whether it's security, financials or new airlines coming on board needing new technology," he says. "Airports are an economic engine that needs to be fed, fine-tuned and maintained."

Beyond that, Jenkins sees the IT profession as central to the infusion of technology that's touching every aspect of life, in the home and in the workplace. IT, he says, "is a great place to be right now."

Next: Tech careers: 3 ways to catch the wave

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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