Despite a downturn in the economy research by Robert Half International shows some bright spots in the IT industry. With shortages of qualified candidates to fill critical positions, IT professionals with the right training and credentials will still be in demand in 2009.
“Companies highly value employees who can identify cost efficiencies, develop long-range business strategies and maximize the use of technology,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. “Adding to the competition for those with specialized skills is a growing reluctance on the part of many professionals to leave secure employment situations in an unpredictable economy. This has made it a challenge for hiring managers to attract these workers.”
The report points out that while other sectors are seeing increases in unemployment, the IT sector has a relatively low unemployment rate. New technologies and Web 2.0 initiatives and helping drive the demand for certain IT skill sets.
IT salaries are expected to increase by 3.7 percent next year. As previously reported by Global One research, ITIL qualifications can increase an IT professionals salary by as much as 40 percent.
The Robert Half International report shows the following positions to be most in demand in 2009.
- Web developers – The rise of social media and the expansion of companies’ online presence, Web 2.0 initiatives and interactive web functionality have fueled further growth in Internet technologies, creating a strong demand for web developers. These professionals can expect to see starting salaries in the range of $60,000 to $89,750 in the coming year.
- Programmer analysts – IT professionals with skills such as .NET, SharePoint, Java and PHP are at a premium across companies in all industries, including healthcare, finance and manufacturing. These workers are needed to write code, test and debug software applications, and analyze business application requirements for functional areas across the organization. The salary range for a programmer analyst is expected to be $60,000 to $100,750.
- Help desk professionals – Companies are implementing a wider range of technologies, migrating from older operating systems and upgrading desktop systems. This is contributing to the demand for professionals who can troubleshoot software and hardware problems. Base compensation for Tier 2 help desk professionals, for example, is projected to range from $36,750 to $48,250.
When Times Get Tough, The Tough Improve
By nature Information Technology positions are constantly evolving to keep pace with new technologies. If you find yourself on the short end of the economic downturn, there are things you can do to improve your chances to keep your present job or prepare yourself to move on to something better.
This is the perfect time to improve your skills sets to better position yourself to take advantage of sought after jobs. As much as you may detest the idea of hitting the books again, returning to school to further your education is a smart move.
You can add to your technical skills by taking a few courses or getting a certification. Many IT departments have adopted the ITIL framework and are looking for qualified candidates with ITIL training.
Not only should you build your technical skills, but you should build your soft skills as well. Soft skills In areas such as problem solving, customer service, communications and teamwork are highly sought after in today’s IT departments.
In good times and bad times adding skills to your career toolbox will improve your position with your current employer as well as position yourself to take advantage of outside opportunities should they arise.