Are you interested in learning about IT employment trends and getting tips for standing out in the information technology job market? Thomas M. Silver, Dice.com's Senior Vice President for North America, shares his expertise with LoveToKnow Jobs readers in this exclusive expert interview.
About IT Employment Trends
LoveToKnow (LTK): What do you see as the information technology (IT) occupations with the highest growth potential?
Thomas Silver (T.S.): The fastest growth is coming from emerging categories like Cloud Computing and Mobile (iPhone, Android), but there are still relatively few jobs in these areas as compared to positions that require skills like Java, Project Management and Security. I think it's really safe to say that security will always be strong and the mobile trends are sustainable for the foreseeable future.
(LTK): What are the top skill sets that are in-demand for IT professionals?
(T.S.): The demand is very strong across the board as we continue to recover from the depths of the recession in mid 2009. On any given day, there are more than 70,000 jobs posted on Dice - up 38percent versus last year. The top three skills in demand in terms of numbers of jobs are Java, the C programming languages and Oracle. Each of these skills sets is growing just north of 50 percent year over year.
Preparing for Success in the IT Job Market
(LTK): What are the best ways for IT professionals to give themselves a competitive advantage in the job market?
(T.S.): The biggest trend we see is the convergence of business skills with technology skills; the top paying skills require a combination of business know-how and technological prowess. Technology professionals who can use technology to give a company more insight into cost structure, customer behavior or emerging trends can really stand out in the marketplace. This is a long-term trend that will continue to pay off for technology professionals if they do the work to understand requirements-gathering, estimating, relationship building, personnel management, and financial analysis.
(LTK): How important are professional certifications to success in the information technology profession?
(T.S.): Certifications will never trump real-world skills and experience for hiring managers. It's best to have a combination of both certifications and experience. The one area where certifications do help a technology professionals stand out is for positions in smaller consulting firms. The top three certifications requested on Dice are PMP, MCSE and CISSP.
IT Career Advancement
(LTK): What is the best way for IT entry level IT professionals to get their foot in the door?
(T.S.): Entry-level IT professionals should consider temp-to-perm positions because there is a payoff for both the potential employer and the IT professional. The IT professional can get experience (which trumps all schooling, certification etc.), as well as learn about the job and the company before committing to the organization. Likewise, the company gets a professional try-out and will know if that tech pro is the right fit for them within weeks.
(LTK): What do you see as keys to success for experienced IT professionals who want to move up?
(T.S.): The key to moving up is to continuously figure out new ways to help your company and to make sure that the company's technology leadership understands your goals and what you want to achieve. Too often, professionals toil away expecting the Chief Information Officer (CIO) to notice or read their minds. Likewise, organizations aren't always set up to really distinguish what works for an individual technology professional. So, you really have to be your best advocate and back that up with delivery and volunteering for projects where you have interests.
Seeking IT Employment Opportunities
(LTK): What is the best way to look for good paying IT jobs with top employers?
(T.S.): Dice can be tremendously helpful in finding a position, and you can literally target individual companies through our new Talent Network. For example, if you only want to work for VMware you can connect directly to one of that company's recruiters through the Dice Talent Network or any of the hundreds of top companies. Further, you should be involved in the technology community in your city through meet-ups or associations. Networking online and off-line is a tremendously important part of having longevity in your career. You have to do this regularly for success - not just when you are disgruntled with your current job and want to leave.
(LTK): How can IT professionals who are looking for opportunities make it easy for employers to find them?
(T.S.): I would recommend posting your resume on Dice.com. Most companies search the Dice resume database before posting a job online. It's a very easy way for employers to find you - even when you aren't looking. You can also target specific companies that are interesting to you, and connect with, or follow, those companies through the Dice Talent Network.
Be sure that your online profile is current and up-to-date. A lot of recruiters and hiring managers will look at forums for your skill-set. They may be watching discussion boards on tech sites to see who is making insightful comments and reaching out that way.
(LTK): What suggestions do you have for IT workers to make their resumes stand out to employers?
(T.S.): Start with a headline instead of a generic objective. A headline demonstrates what you have to offer the company, as opposed to what you want from the company.
In addition, use statistics wisely, demonstrating the outcome of the technology projects you worked on from a business standpoint. For instance, instead of saying "led programming of new website design on-budget and on-plan," it is better to report that the redesigned website "led to a 10percent higher conversion rate of customers to purchase after programming."
LoveToKnow Jobs would like to thank Thomas M. Silver with Dice.com for taking the time to share his expertise about IT Employment Trends with readers and wishes him continued success in his professional endeavors.