2011 IT Employment Outlook – “Fortune Favors the Prepared”

As we leave the Great Recession in our rear-view mirror, one after-effect lingers: unemployment remains over 9% in most of the country.  Looking ahead to 2011, it’s apparent that more IT positions and contract jobs will be filled, but probably not at the same rate as we saw a few years ago.  Competition is going to be fierce, and inevitably the more methodical and focused job seeker is going to be successful.  Resumes that reflect relevant experience, credentials, and an air of professionalism will have the advantage.  As the saying goes, “Fortune favors the prepared.”

Dice.com reports that technical and product skills matter.  Cloud computing is driving interest in JavaScript and HTML, while VMWare, SAP, PeopleSoft, and telecommunications experience requirements abound.  The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) credential is requested in about a third of Information Security job postings, and ITIL is becoming far more common than it was two years ago.

Careerbuilders “2011 Trends” survey indicates that employers are making a permanent transition to a leaner work force; 35% of employers indicated their 2011 staffing is at lower than pre-recession levels, and 57% say they’re used to handling the workload with a smaller staff.  A full 39% of employers say they will not offer raises in 2011, and 13% say they will offer higher titles with no increase in pay.  A large number of employers are also changing their business models, or moving into new business areas that they anticipate will emerge as their core business areas.

According to Dona DeZube of Monster.com, IT hiring is expected to pick up as companies initiate or re-start projects they deferred during the recession.  That means many of those project managers and middle managers who were laid off are going to be re-hired.  It also means many more opportunities for new jobs for those already working in IT project management, including business analysts and software developers.  DeZube recommends highlighting PM and BA skills on your resume, earning the PMP credential, if you don’t already have it, and keeping your options open with contract jobs.

Dice’s annual salary survey will be released on January 19, and I’ll be sure to post a link to it.

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About Dave Gordon

Dave Gordon is a project manager with over twenty five years of experience in implementing human capital management and payroll systems, including SaaS solutions like Workday and premises-based ERP solutions like PeopleSoft and ADP Enterprise. He has an MS in IT with a concentration in project management, and a BS in Business. In addition to his articles and blog posts, he curates a weekly roundup of articles on project management, and he has authored or contributed to several books on project management.