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 demandfor application developers, who have taken it on the chin in recent yearsbecause of a bad economy and offshoring.

The economy is strengthening, offshoring is feeling some backlash andmany companies aren't spending as much of their IT budgets on complianceprojects, according to David Foote, president and chief research officerof Foote Partners, LLC., a New Canaan, Conn.-based industry researchfirm. And these three aspects of the industry and the economy are pushinghiring forward in the IT arena.

''Hiring is absolutely up,'' says Foote. ''Part of the reason is thatcompanies got a little gun shy about offshoring. It was big a few yearsago and it was depressing pay in our country... We track about 195 skillsand 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 ITskills and jobs for 2006, based on an IT workforce survey of 50,000 ITprofessionals. According to the Foote survey, jobs that will be in demandinclude: application development, data modelers, system auditors, storageadministrators and integrators.

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

''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 stillgoing into security training. The SANS Institute classes are still prettyfull. 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 developersthat their time had come and gone. Programming jobs were being shippingoverseas at an alarming rate because Indian and Chinese programmers woulddo the job much cheaper.

Application development was widely considered to be an entry-level jobthat 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 needfor updated and new home-grown software. And some offshoring attemptsdidn't work out so well, bringing those jobs back to the U.S.

Foote says when you're talking about non-certified applicationdevelopment skills, companies are increasingly looking for C++, Java andOracle developers. On the certified side, demand is up for Sun Javacertifications and IBM's Advanced Developer certification.

Cautious

But while companies are looking to add new IT employees, they're alsobeing very cautious about, according to Foote.

''They're expecting 2006 to be another good year,'' he says. ''They'reexpecting a lot of orders from the U.S. and markets around the world. Andthey're expecting to be spending. But there's still caution aroundhiring, which has something to do with health care costs. They're beingvery selective about hiring.''

In an effort to take things slowly, some companies are picking uptemp-to-permanent workers, rather than outright hire someone full-timeright off the bat. ''There's a 27 percent increase in people who saythey're doing temp-to-permanent hires,'' says Foote. ''They're going totry you out for nine months. If they like you, they'll hire you. It'svery much about avoiding risk.''

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