And it's a dramatic change from the job market of just two years ago, according to Scott Melland, president and CEO of New York-based Dice Inc., an online recruiting service for IT professionals.
''Two years or three years ago, there were a lot more technical professionals looking for something different or they were unemployed and looking for work,'' Melland told Datamation. ''Today, that is not the case. Many companies are being forced to pull talented people from other companies... They're luring them in with better salaries and the age-old attraction for tech professionals -- the opportunity to work on the latest technologies or high-impact projects.''
Getting back into a strong job market where workers have the luxury of being courted by other companies is a far cry from the long unemployment lines where many IT professionals found themselves after the dot-com bubble burst and the technology sector went into a steep slide. Two or three years ago, companies found themselves flooded with resumes for any kind of IT job opening.
Now the tables are starting to turn again. And IT professionals may find themselves in the driver's seat, according to Melland.
Dice's analysts report that job postings on their site increased 3.6 percent over the past month, to 79,358. They also note that requests for technology professionals with J2EE/Java experience showed the greatest gain this past month, with postings rising 10.8 percent, to 10,357.
Dice also announced the quarterly update of its salary survey. As of Oct. 10, the survey found the average salary for a technology professional was $69,700, an increase of 2.8 percent since December 2004. The average salary of a contract worker was $87,107, while the average salary for permanent employees increased to $65,479 from $64,300 at the end of 2004.
''I think this is all part of a much larger movement out there, which is increased technical spending by U.S. corporations and the Department of Defense and the government,'' says Melland. ''That technical spending really is the result of a lot of companies and agencies upgrading their technologies. We're still in the midst of a tech upgrade cycle that many companies are going through. They need more technical professionals to make those upgrades and then manage the new systems they're putting in place.
''In general, it has to do with catching up on projects and infrastructure that they did not upgrade in the early part of 2001 to 2003. In corporate America, there was Sarbanes-Oxley on top of this. In the financial services firms, there's a lot of technology being applied on the customer side of the fence.''
Melland says these are the most sough-after positions:
''In terms of overall demand, in those five key areas, there are plenty of jobs available,'' says Melland. ''There is a large demand for network people who have experience setting up secure networks.
''I think this is a great time to be a technology professional in the United States if you have some of these technical skills.''