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IT Careers: Making A Change

Not long ago, Michael O'Brien, a man with 10 years of service as a Java programmer and software design expert for a major investment bank, started to reconsider his future. Departmental reorganizations, the pressures of working in financial services, and the specter of outsourcing all convinced O'Brien to seek a new position in a different industry.


Changing IT Careers


•  Introduction

•  Where The Jobs Are

•  Making A Switch

"I grew tired of constantly having to reapply for my job," says O'Brien. "Most of the coding work was getting sent to Houston, and later most of that work was going to India. I got stuck with project planning and started to feel like my programming skills were getting rusty." Within four weeks' time, O'Brien, who began his search in February, interviewed with several companies in industries spanning dot-coms, publishing, and technology. "There's a lot of hiring going on. It's a good time for IT job hunters in New York," he says.

In fact, companies across the country have expanded their hiring efforts. Dice Inc., an IT jobs Web site, saw a 2.1 percent increase in IT job postings last month to 85,381 positions, 10,496 of which were in the New York Metro area. Overall, job postings have increased 26 percent year over year, and over the last two years, they've more than doubled, according to Dice President and CEO Scott Melland.

Other markets including Washington, D.C. and Silicon Valley are also experiencing hiring increases. "A year or so ago, I heard from a lot of companies that they weren't hiring due to hiring freezes or outsourcing, but now the market is shaping up to be close to what it used to be," says Randi Blake, a senior recruiting manager for Next Search Group in New York. "It's getting back to the time when it's hard to find good talent," she says.

Unemployment among the IT segment averaged 2.9 percent for the four quarters ended December 31, 2005, based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And according to InformationWeek's National IT Salary Study 2006, which surveyed 10,425 full-time IT professionals, job security is on the rise, with only 12 percent of staff and 9 percent of managers feeling insecure about their jobs this year, compared to 15 percent and 11 percent last year.

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