IT Employment Reaches Pre-Crash Levels…
In November 2008, IT employment reached 4 million for the first time. Then the economy tanked, and 200,000 jobs disappeared within nine months. Now, says the TechServe Alliance — an industry group that analyzes Bureau of Labor Statistics data — IT employment has returned, surpassing the November 2008 high point. The number of IT jobs now stands at 4,009,900, and has increased for 16 straight months. The streak may come to an end, however, when large companies like HP and Cisco begin activating cost-cutting plans.
…And Silicon Valley Prospers
Each week seems to bring a new set of encouraging employment statistics from the tech trenches of Silicon Valley. In April, the area’s unemployment level dropped to its lowest point in more than two years, according to the State of California. Santa Clara County’s unemployment rate reached 9.9 percent, the first time it’s been below double digits since February 2009. In the San Jose metro area, the information sector — which includes Internet search and Web portals — has added 5,600 jobs in the past 12 months, a 13 percent gain.
Midsize Companies Plan Heavy Investing in Analytics and the Cloud
According to IBM, the top priorities of mid-market company CIOs are:
- Analytics. Over the next three to five years, some 83 percent of mid-market businesses will invest more in gleaning usable information from company data.
- The cloud. Mid-market CIOs are 50 percent more likely to spend money on cloud computing than they were two years ago.
- Mobile computing. Since they can’t get around the spread of mobile devices, more CIOs are looking for better ways to use mobile apps that can drive sales, collaboration and workforce mobility. Seventy two percent plan to spend on mobile technology, up 11 percent from a similar study in 2009.
Premium Pay for IT Certifications Slides Again
Additional pay awarded to professionals with IT certifications declined again during the first three months of 2011, reaching its lowest point since 1999. However, the average premium for critical non-certified skills rose, reaching its highest level since September 2001. The pay for 252 non-certified skills tracked by consulting firm Foote Partners increased by an average of 1.4 percent.
Intel Touts a New PC Form Factor
Intel is promoting a new class of mobile consumer computers called Ultrabooks and hopes that that 40 percent of consumer laptops will be based on Ultrabook chip designs by the end of 2012. Most of the company’s mainstream desktop chips target power consumption of about 40 watts. That allows for very fast performance, though such chips generate enough heat to have no chance of making it into a tablet or smartphone. Now Intel plans to target mainstream chips that consume about 15 watts. Ultrabooks will be thin and light laptops, akin to a Macbook Air, that will have high performance, all-day battery life, good security, and tablet-like features. Asus will be first out of the gate with an Ultrabook model.