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Career Experts Predict 2009 Should Be Good For Tech Pros

Posted By: Technology Staff Editor In: Information Technology
written by Marianne Kolbasuk McGee, courtesy of Informationweek

The new year almost always ushers in feelings of high hopes. While the rotten economy is putting a damper on some of that customary New Year wishfulness this time, career experts say IT pros should feel optimistic about jobs in 2009.

"IT has become a core, embedded function at every company. There's much less volatility to it than there used to be, certainly much less than in the last recession," said John Challenger, CEO of outplacement and job recruitment firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Tech workers will continue to weather the current economic turmoil better than many other professions, Challenger predicted.

Many employers want to hold on to and even bolster their teams of tech people who keep the business running but also the "knowledge experts" to help their organizations "take greater advantage of technology," he said. While fewer companies right now are committing to ambitious, brand-new tech developments, they're trying to squeeze additional value from existing systems, he said.

What this translates to is a demand for systems engineers, application developers, and database pros who can help make that happen while also being ready to jump in when the cloud of economic uncertainty lifts and more innovative projects move from the drawing board to the diving board, he said.

"There'll be some areas of growth, there's a lot of emphasis on mobile technology, and [electronic] medical records," especially with the latter being a key focus of the incoming Obama administration, he says.

While Challenger observes that most companies are keen to keep experienced tech talent, there also are promising opportunities for newbies, said Laurence Shatkin, a career expert and author of several books, including the recently released 200 Best Jobs For College Graduates, fourth edition, published by JIST, a division of EMC/Paradigm Publishing.

Among top jobs for new grads in the short and long term are network systems and data communications analysts, who have average beginning pay of $40,100 and annual job openings of about 35,086, said Shatkin.

Another "best job" for college grads between the ages of 20 to 24 is computer support specialist, with an average beginning wage of $25,950 and annual job openings of 97,334, according Shatkin, who says his book's stats are culled from Department of Labor data.

Those "best jobs" aren't cherry-picked for 2009, but are "based on long-term trending," he says. So even if the economy continues to drag in June and a new grad does find it tough to land a systems analyst job right away, "don't give up," advises Shatkin.

 
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