Monday, May 11, 2009
Boston Market | May 2009
Is the job market half empty or half full?
If you want to look for negatives, there are plenty to chose from. Here are just three . . .
- The unemployment rate in the United States has risen to 8.9%, the highest rate in a quarter century as reported by the New York Times.
- Less than 3 percent of CEOs anticipate an increase in employment levels in their industry, while 86 percent anticipate a decrease over the next six months according to The Conference Board Measure of CEO Confidence.
- The IT Employee Confidence Index decreased to its lowest since tracking began in the fourth quarter of 2005, according to a recent survey commissioned by technology placement firm Technisource.
If you want to focus on the positive, you can find reasons for optimism also. Here are just two . . .
- According to The Dice Report for May there are more than 1,900 technology opportunities posted on their job board for the Boston metro area. If you live in the Washington, DC metro area, you have more than three times as many opportunities to chose from.
- Compensation for 46 IT skills rose during the first three months of this year, according to the IT Skills and Certification Pay Index, a quarterly index tracked by Foote Partners.
Looking at The Glass Through a Different Lens
So, how does a Web technology professional turn a half empty glass into a half full one in the current economy? Perhaps, by focusing less on the skills we currently have to sell into the marketplace and more on the skills that organizations are currently willing to purchase.
The list of Top 20 Web Technologies in Boston has been updated for May and appears in the right-hand column. The list shows more up arrows than down indicating a stability, if not slight improvement, in the technology job market since early April.
As usual, demand for programming and database skills trump demand for design skills. While Photoshop and Flash (Adobe Creative Suite programs) appear in the Top 20, four of the top five spots on the list are dominated by data-related skills:
- SQL [ 504 ]
- Oracle [ 466 ]
- Java [ 312 ]
- SQL Server [ 216 ]
- XML [ 216 ]
This quest for data is underscored by a New York Times article that highlights the personal story of Douglas Bowman, a former top visual designer at Google. While this story is anecdotal the data from job postings reveals that the market is placing more emphasis on data-driven development and less on design.
Ten Ways to Fill Your Glass
So, regardless of whether you view the current job market as half empty or half full, there IS a job market and that market is moving forward. We have little choice but to move forward with it.
To help focus our attention on the future here is a brief summary of a blog post at TechRepublic, which constructs a blueprint to the future. Here are three skill sets to focus on today . . .
- Develop expertise in one of The Big Three (.NET, Java, PHP)
- Become an RIA (Rich Internet Application) pro
To help fill your glass with opportunity, access 10 Skills Developers Will Need in the Next Five Years. Then, get to work developing and implementing a personal game plan that will prepare you for future opportunities.
[ NOTE: You can now search more than 250 articles in the Beantown Web database by using the Google search box in the right-hand column. ] >>>