Proactive career management

Job seekers, and hiring managers, must be knowledgeable about the who, what, and where of the employment market.


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Maybe the financial deities have frowned on your current employer, causing a layoff. Although spared, you are certain you could be next--so it's time to find another job. Luckily, being in a booming market with hot skills, getting another position will take less time than saying, "I'm outta here!"

Or perhaps you need to staff up and hire Web developers. Placing ads blindly is as good as wasting money. Instead, try looking at the places such talent seems to congregate and scoop up the people you need.

Whether you want a job or must hire technical personnel, knowing who's hot and where things are happening will make your life easier. Some positions, such as Web development or specialization in finance and accounting, have burned up the online ad boards, racking up huge growth. Meanwhile, regions such as New York and Boston have an insatiable appetite for technical talent of all sorts. In other areas, like San Diego, things may be bleak for even a Web specialist, but an employer is likely to be in dire need of a business analyst or database administrator, suggesting that transitioning employees might be the efficient way to go.

IT jobs on DICE
The number of IT jobs posted at dice.com shows the U.S. employment outlook for IT is rosy. The overall number of dice.com listings grew by 36.8%, and the expansion has been continuous--not the result of a particularly good month. Source: Dice.com, Feb. 7, 2000

It's all valuable information. And that is what you will get from the team of Datamation and dice.com, a Des Moines, Iowa-based EarthWeb company and leading job-listing site for information technology experts. Instead of guessing the state of the current market, we're taking the pain out of the information-gathering process with an analysis of nearly 500,000 job postings from July to December 1999.

As with anything, there are some caveats. Because the data comes only from the dice.com site, it runs the risk of representing only a small portion of the companies actually hiring. Also, as the Security and Exchange Commission reminds investors, previous activity is no guarantee of future performance. Historic information doesn't necessarily predict the future, which is ultimately what you want to know.

Doom and gloom aside, there is plenty to learn from these numbers, as they represent tens of thousands of job postings a month from thousands of companies across the country.

Who's hot--and what's not

From one view, almost everyone in high tech has numerous options on where to call home. The IT-related job market grew by almost 37% from July to December 1999 (see table, "Growing opportunities"). And the national job-growth trend was largely reflected by the major IT markets in the United States (see table, "Key U.S. job markets"). But there are clear leaders in the pack. Web developers and Webmasters saw the most remarkable growth (see table, Hot skills: trendy vs. available on page 4").

Given the rapid growth rate of the new "e-conomy," this shouldn't be surprising. Companies of all types have found themselves plunging into e-commerce, so the demand for experienced people has been strong. And in most cases, employers haven't had the time to build a sufficiently broad base of specialists.

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