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Amid the economic gloom of 2008, the IT job market is holding steady, with perhaps some modest contraction.
Take a look, for instance, at the number of tech jobs offered at Dice, the IT job site. “We’ve been relatively flat,” Tom Silver, a Dicesenior VP, tells me. “If you go back about nine months, we were a little bit higher than we are now.” To be sure, any shrinkage has so far been minimal. “We’ve been in the range of 90-95,000 jobs for quite some time,” he says.
But one IT sector seems unaffected by this flat trend: virtualization. Job openings calling for virtualization skills are increasing dramatically as companies begin deploying this emerging technology. Impressively, it’s the fastest growing area of IT job growth.
“As companies become more familiar with VMware, and as Microsoft gets into the game, and some of the others jump in, the category’s going to grow and the need for that skill is going to be that much broader,” Silver says.
He notes that there are currently about 1,500 virtualization-related jobs on Dice – still a small amount of the total 90,000 – yet this figure is a whopping 40 percent higher than six months ago. Most of these jobs call for VMware experience, yet as Microsoft launches its virtualization tool Hyper-V later this year, and Citrix’s virtualization offering gains market share, it’s likely that job demand will grow.
Dice recently ran a poll of employers on its front page, asking the following question:
Virtualization has become a hot topic in the tech industry. Has your organization adopted virtualization?
8%Yes. Everything is virtual today, including desktops.
38%Yes. We've virtualized a significant number of servers and services.
15%Yes. But we've limited it to test environments.
10%Relatively soon. Probably within the next 12 months.
29%No. We have no current plans for virtualizing anything.
Industry trend watchers agree that virtualization is on the rise. Research firm IDC forecaststhat the virtualization market, in total, will grow to a brawny 11.7 billion in 2011, a figure that includes everything from hardware to consulting to training. It’s a given that a market that’s growing this robustly will create a full complement of jobs.
Drinking its own Kool-aid
An interesting side note: Dice not only hosts virtualization-related job offers, the company itself has begun using virtualization.
“Dice drinks their own Kool-aid when it comes to virtualization,” Silver says. Internally, the company has removed or displaced 40 servers from its data center. “We have virtualized a hundred or more servers for projects that would have required hardware purchases.”
The company has saved $1 million with its virtualization efforts, he says. Dice uses VMware, which cost the company about $200,000 in hardware and licensing costs, Silver says.
Moral of the story: if you’re an IT staffer in any capacity, it’s time to get on board the virtualization trend – it’s happening now and in the future.
Other High Demand Tech Skills
Apart from virtualization, the job openings at Dice call for many of the traditional IT skills. As of May 2008, the numbers were as follows:
1. Windows – 16,578 jobs.
2. Unix – 13,871 jobs. (And you thought that Unix was being replaced. Think again!)
1. Oracle – 19,488 jobs (The big dog Oracle rules, but this punditclaims that SAP has an Oracle killer on the way.)
2. SQL – 14,605 jobs
1. C, C++, C# – 17,257 jobs
2. J2EE/Java – 16,806 jobs (A noted professor from NYU said that students shouldn’t be focusing on Java, yet clearly there's no lack of employers requesting it.)
A look at the Dice list of what areas currently offer the most tech jobs reveals all the usual suspects:
• New York/New Jersey: 9,585
• Washington D.C./Baltimore: 7389
• Silicon Valley: 5,802
• Los Angeles: 4,490
• Chicago: 4,020
• Boston: 3,834
• Dallas: 3,238
• Philadelphia: 2,824
• Atlanta: 2,710
• Seattle: 2,523