Great news in 2011: the jobs are coming back–and fast. Businesses are currently hiring at their most rapid pace since 2006, according to an AP article by Jeannine Aversa published on May 6th:
The job growth was better than economists expected and perhaps the strongest sign yet that what they call a “virtuous cycle” has taken hold: When people spend more, corporate earnings rise, leading to more hiring and then more spending.
More great news: a good portion of the returning jobs are in information technology and software engineering. According to Ruth Mantell of the Wall Street Journal:
Information-technology also will be adding jobs as companies that have been sitting on cash will want to upgrade their technology to gain a competitive edge as the economy emerges from the recession, says John Challenger, chief executive of outplacement consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas in Chicago.
“A lot of companies over the last couple of years have cut down their spending on IT,” Mr. Challenger says. “But, as we know, technology takes quantum leaps every few years. So there is technology that companies are buying, and they will need people who can come in and implement it, customize it, teach people how to use it [and] provide technical support.”
Andrew Striber of the job-search board CareerCast even goes a step further, declaring Software Engineer to be the Best Job of 2011:
What helped Software Engineer capture the title of America’s Best Job? While many factors push a career to the top of the rankings, the strong performance of Software Engineer this year can be attributed to two emerging industries: web applications and cloud computing. A proliferation of companies making applications for smartphones and tablets, along with the push to develop “cloud” software hosted entirely online, has made the job market for Software Engineers broader and more diverse. And a diverse job market brings improvements in stress factors such as Growth Potential and Competitiveness, as workers become less beholden to employers or vulnerable to outsourcing. In fact, the stress ranking for Software Engineer improved 10 spots this year, jumping from 25th to 15th place overall.
Where the Jobs Are: Technologies
If you’re wondering where to start training to take advantage of the influx of IT jobs this year, take a look at this chart:
This graph shows which technologies are in demand for available IT jobs in 2011. The blue portion of each bar indicates how much training demand there is for that particular language, in other words, the popularity of the language. If the majority of a bar for a technology is green, it indicates a shortage of skilled workers in that area. Conversely, if the bar is mostly blue, this means that the market is pretty well saturated with skilled workers in that particular technology.
As you decide whether an investment in training is a good one for you, and which technology to learn, consider growth trends in the number of jobs in specific technologies.
Java, for instance, had diminished popularity a few years ago, but it has come back steadily and appears to be on a consistent upward path. It’s safe to say that large corporations will rely on Java for years to come.
And Python jobs are on the rise too, gaining ground faster than the training available to learn it. It’s a powerful language that will certainly take hold in larger corporations (like Google), and it will also be relied on heavily by startups and smaller corporations that don’t have to deal with large legacy code burdens.
You’ll definitely want to do your research on jobs in your area as well, to find out what technologies they’re looking for: for example, in Seattle, they’re looking for C# programmers, while San Francisco has lots of opportunities using PHP. Of course, the higher the demand is for programmers of a particular technology, the safer bet your investment in learning that technology becomes.
Once you decide that you want a shot at the next round of IT jobs out there, and which technology you want to learn, start preparing yourself right away. The jobs are coming, but you’ve got to have the right tools and be ready to pursue the right opportunity for you when you see it.