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IT Hiring: App Dev Looking Up, but Security Flat

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Hiring in the IT market continues to pick up, with an increased demand

for application developers, who have taken it on the chin in recent years

because of a bad economy and offshoring.

The economy is strengthening, offshoring is feeling some backlash and

many companies aren’t spending as much of their IT budgets on compliance

projects, according to David Foote, president and chief research officer

of Foote Partners, LLC., a New Canaan, Conn.-based industry research

firm. And these three aspects of the industry and the economy are pushing

hiring forward in the IT arena.

”Hiring is absolutely up,” says Foote. ”Part of the reason is that

companies got a little gun shy about offshoring. It was big a few years

ago and it was depressing pay in our country… We track about 195 skills

and the biggest gain in the last year was in application development.

Tools and language skills were up 17 percent in the last 12 months.

That’s monster.”

Analysts at Foote Partners just released predictions for the top IT

skills and jobs for 2006, based on an IT workforce survey of 50,000 IT

professionals. According to the Foote survey, jobs that will be in demand

include: application development, data modelers, system auditors, storage

administrators and integrators.

What may surprise some is that Foote says hiring in the security space is


”There’s been a temporary excess in the [security] market,” says Foote.

”Hiring has been flat. It’s very selective. A lot of money is still

going into security training. The SANS Institute classes are still pretty

full. Long range it still looks good, but for right now, it’s flat.”

The big story in the IT job market is application development, he notes.

For the past few years, some analysts were warning application developers

that their time had come and gone. Programming jobs were being shipping

overseas at an alarming rate because Indian and Chinese programmers would

do the job much cheaper.

Application development was widely considered to be an entry-level job

that could be offshored without much notice.

But that doesn’t appear to be the case today.

Increasingly, application development is being seen as an upper-level job

— one that is critical to a company moving and growing and in the need

for updated and new home-grown software. And some offshoring attempts

didn’t work out so well, bringing those jobs back to the U.S.

Foote says when you’re talking about non-certified application

development skills, companies are increasingly looking for C++, Java and

Oracle developers. On the certified side, demand is up for Sun Java

certifications and IBM’s Advanced Developer certification.


But while companies are looking to add new IT employees, they’re also

being very cautious about, according to Foote.

”They’re expecting 2006 to be another good year,” he says. ”They’re

expecting a lot of orders from the U.S. and markets around the world. And

they’re expecting to be spending. But there’s still caution around

hiring, which has something to do with health care costs. They’re being

very selective about hiring.”

In an effort to take things slowly, some companies are picking up

temp-to-permanent workers, rather than outright hire someone full-time

right off the bat. ”There’s a 27 percent increase in people who say

they’re doing temp-to-permanent hires,” says Foote. ”They’re going to

try you out for nine months. If they like you, they’ll hire you. It’s

very much about avoiding risk.”

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