Sunday, April 06, 2008
Boston Market -- 2008, Second Quarter
Despite gloomy economic numbers the job market for information technology (IT) professionals remains strong.
In fact, the job market for IT professionals grew more than nine percent from February 2007 to February 2008, according to the National Association of Computer Consultant Businesses (NACCB). A report entitled NACCB March 2008 IT Employment Index (pdf) states that IT employment in the United States stands at an all-time high of nearly 3.9 million workers.
Beantown Web's monthly Boston Market analysis confirms these findings. A comparison of job postings from early January to early April reveals that there are more job postings now than three months ago for 17 of the top 20 Web-related skills in the greater Boston area.
The Top 20 Web Technologies in Boston have been updated for April and appear in the right-hand column.
The Biggest Losers
The only three technologies to post losses during the first quarter include the following LAMP stack technologies:
- #17 MySQL (down 3 postings)
- #19 Apache (down 11 postings)
- #21 PHP (down 35 postings)
This may reflect Microsoft's relentless marketing efforts to position .NET as the Web technology of choice, especially in enterprise-scale operations. The three-month trends for comparable Microsoft-centric skills are as follows:
- #4 SQL Server (up 114 postings)
- #6 C# (up 86 postings)
- #10 ASP.NET (up 56 postings)
- #16 VB.NET (up 26 postings)
- #20 IIS (up 25 postings)
- #23 Visual Studio (up 60 postings)
Job postings for skills traditionally associated with Graphic & Web Design are also up over a three-month period. However, these skills offer a lower demand profile in the marketplace. A few of these designer skills include the following:
- #11 Photoshop (up 48 postings)
- #13 Flash (up 65 postings)
- #18 Illustrator (up 41 postings)
- #28 Dreamweaver (up 10 postings)
- #29 InDesign (up 7 postings)
Skills that bridge the gap between Web developer and Web designer include the following:
- #15 Ajax (up 44 postings)
It is worth mentioning that caution is advised when investing time and energy in learning emerging technologies. The following technologies may rate high on the "Web 2.0" buzz meter, but currently rank relatively low on the marketplace demand scale:
- #34 Search Engine Optimization (SEO) (65 postings)
- #40 Ruby (45 postings)
- #42 Fireworks (33 postings)
- #46 Rails (23 postings)
- #50 Adobe Flex (8 postings)
- #51 Silverlight (8 postings)
- #53 WordPress (5 postings)
- #54 Drupal (4 postings)
The Second Quarter
Web technology professionals can not afford to let their skills atrophy. Should the economy continue to display weakness, job losses in the IT sector could emerge. Now, more than ever, it is important to upgrade technology skills to keep pace with market demand.
Evaluate your current skill set against The Top 20 Web Technologies in Boston. If you find your knowledge lacking in Top Ten skills, upgrade now starting with Structured Query Language (SQL). This universal language of databases is not likely to vacate the #1 spot any time soon. Like the Boston Celtics, SQL now has home court advantage throughout the playoffs.
The ability to capture information and display it in a Web page using SQL is a fundamental skill of Web development, regardless of whether that database is one of the following:
- Oracle (#2)
- SQL Server (#4)
- MySQL (#17)
Set a goal to develop one new skill during the second quarter and post a demonstration project that displays that skill. The Web will continue to evolve, and the Web professional who maintains skills that the marketplace demands will live in a technology world of abundance.