Today’s Hottest Tech Skills

womanitIn today’s economic climate, finding a satisfying career path can be challenging – and finding one in a market or industry that is growing is even more challenging. As recent research and reports show, however, certain industries and niche specialties continue to grow. Nowhere is that more evident than the trends observed in the technology job market over the last twelve months.

An online slideshow, “13 of Today’s Hottest Tech Skills” published on on November 23, 2010 examined the number of times certain job postings appeared, year over year. While one might expect that tech jobs would be growing, their findings are very significant, especially as a student contemplating a computer science degree or specialty in technology. Consider the following:

  • Cloud – while few agree on what precisely defines the cloud, the posting appeared 258% more often, from 378 posts last year to 1,354 this year
  • SAP – this category of enterprise software experienced 94% year over year growth, from 3,259 to 6,314
  • E-commerce – the demand for these specialized online positions was up 77%, from 1,339 postings to 2,372
  • Information security – it is not surprising that this area continues to grow, with postings up 69%, from 764 to 1,290

As these examples and others in the slideshow illustrate, demand remains high for certain specialty or niche subsets of technology. Just as compelling as these very sector-specific numbers are the overall trends in technology. According to a report, based on numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics from January until June 2010, three of four tech industries experienced growth in new hires. The overall tech industry added more than 47,000 jobs this year according to Moody’s Analytics while most industries struggled mightily to avoid declining statistics.

These numbers beg the question, “Why is this growth trend in technology so prevalent?”

One of the prevailing answers is that Asia and Latin America still have skills gaps that translate to the U.S. having a competitive advantage in high-tech fields and more and more students in the U.S. are graduating with a computer technology degree or computer information systems degree.  Additionally, the government stimulus spending has spurred purchases by agencies and businesses, such as those building broadband networks. Not only does this spending directly impact telecommunications providers, but also it indirectly bolsters the tech industry in related fields such as information technology and systems networking.

Another factor cited in recent technology growth is the resurgence of Detroit automakers, due in no small part the government bailout. For example, last year Detroit experienced a 15% drop in high-tech jobs from a year earlier (the worst decline among the 60 cities studied), according to research from technology industry association TechAmerica Foundation. But given its recovery over the last year, carmaker Chrysler announced it will hire 1,000 more engineers and other high-tech workers by the end of the first quarter of 2011. In similar news, General Motors also intends on adding 1,000 high-tech workers over the upcoming months to support its development of electric cars.

Of local interest, according to Businesweek, the Denver metro area ranks 16th in the country for cities with tech jobs with 88,936 positions and a combined payroll of $8.2 billion – and a median salary of $92,156! Given this information and the trends examined earlier, the technology field is getting stronger despite the soft economic conditions. Those considering an online IT degree, or a computer networking degree, will certainly be well-served by their selection of specialties within technology.

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