In a Cool Economy, Where Are the Tech Hot Spots?

Recruiters report that there are still IT jobs out there – but you need to demonstrate the right qualifications in the right locations and industries.

stock_techThis economy is no picnic for tech talent – but recruiters told Ladders there are still seats at the table for candidates with the right skills who are in the right location and the right industries.

For best results, be or become a qualified network architect, manager or administrator, telecommunications or database specialist – all of which are in demand, especially in companies working on VoIP and Web enhancement projects, said Dave Willmer, executive director of RH Technology, the Menlo Park, Calif.-based IT division of recruitment giant Robert Half International. Virtualization, project management and data-center skills are also hot, especially for candidates who can realize cost savings from data-center consolidation projects.

Look in industries that are moving comparatively quickly on the IT front: healthcare, professional services, business services. Be willing to relocate to take a job or look in areas where IT jobs are particularly common right now, according to Willmer.

Raleigh-Durham, N.C., is unusually hot right now, and is underappreciated as a technology center, Willmer said. Texas (especially the Dallas/Ft. Worth area) and some parts of New England (mainly Boston) are also stronger than most.
Get up to speed not just on social networking but the technology behind it. Knowing how to build and maintain a good community site and support social-networking marketing efforts and Web 2.0 projects can land you a job, said Lindsay Olson, partner and recruiter at Paradigm Staffing, a New York company that specializes in technology and marketing/sales/PR.

Be careful to verify whether companies are approaching you for full-time positions or contract gigs, Willmer said. Many companies are relying on contract hires during these lean times.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing; a lot of people are getting through a period of unemployment with a string of temporary contract jobs. By working with former employers, current colleagues or recruiters, skilled IT professionals can find contract work that could last anywhere from a few days to several months, Willmer said.