Weekly Word on the Street: Leap Forward to 2012

by Jim Staats | Dec 30, 2011

Takeaway of the week is it’s best to pack up 2011 in a box and leap forward into the coming year with your best job-hunting gameplan as employers shake off the holiday slowdown and start to put all those forecasts and predictions to the test. Final remnants of an almost-year-past include a virtual map of techies across the U.S., good or bad news out of China and boffo boasts for data wranglers and tech freelancers.


Considering an IT Job? See Where the Techies are Now

The highest percentage of technical workers per employed Americans can be found in the state of Maryland, with Mississippi on the opposite end of that scale.

So says data from this fall’s annual American Community Survey, according to a recent Computerworld report.

The survey shows workers in a computer, engineering or science job make up 8.6 percent of Maryland’s overall adult civilian workforce, followed by Virginia (8.0), Washington state (7.5), Massachusetts (7.3) and Colorado (7.0). Washington, D.C., has 9.6 percent. The average in the country is 5.2 percent.

A concentration of federal agencies such as CIA and NSA headquarters likely accounts for the high number of tech workers in those Eastern regions.

The annual survey was conducted separately from the nationwide census taken every 10 years. Responses were gathered from an estimated two million households in the U.S.

To see more state-by-state details in a map and sortable chart, visit: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9222934/Where_the_tech_workers_are_map_


Big Data Center Boom in China

With a growing build-out of data centers in China taking place, can it become a hub for computing infrastructure worldwide?

That is the query being weighed by head honchoes of industry titans including Hewlett-Packard and IBM as the country aims to build hundreds of large data centers to support its escalating online population. An audience of close to 500 million - and the accompanying needs of telecom, e-commerce, online banking and e-government - offer tempting opportunities for overseas firms, notes a recent article in Network World.

The Chinese government is behind the data center expansion, having made a stronger national computing infrastructure part of its most recent five-year plan.

The problem is that the boom might not provide enough enticement for international firms wary of the strict political and regulatory environment.

Just a few areas of concern brought up by officials involved in developing projects include stolen data by local employees, traffic interference and equipment issues related to “inspections” by Chinese police.

Additional challenges are centered around the ability to provide adequate bandwidth and power. Any firm and associated workforce that chooses to wade into this opportunity must keep pace with a population five times the U.S. that is adopting PCs, smart phones and tablets at breakneck speed.


Project Boom, Wary Firms a Good Match for IT Contractors

Companies needing to keep up on the technology front, but unsure what the future holds could keep IT contractors plenty busy in the coming year, according to findings of a recruiting consultancy firm.

Officials with Reed Technology note that while businesses in all industries can’t do without the critical role IT plays nowadays, they also aren’t ready just yet to jump in with added permanent staff, a report in Computerworld UK notes.

“In the short term, I expect contract numbers to increase because some clients may be nervous about starting projects with permanent” workers, said Andrew Gardner, senior divisional director at Reed Technology. He said 2012 is likely to be played out as a year of “cautious recovery,” in part because of the critical role of IT in business.

The caution, Gardner said, has trickled to an extended recruitment process requiring applicants to jump through more hoops during the interview process. However, that’s a step up from previous downturns in which roles got axed or halted.


Big Data Goes Bigger in 2012

Big Data and the ability to properly wrangle it is poised its biggest year yet in 2012, insiders predict. That seems to be the tact just about every software vendor is proclaiming, but when it comes to the data analytics market, it’s likely true, according to a recent Network World article.

Recession be damned, it seems companies can’t get enough of any mechanism that helps provide insight into their business and consumer. Those that can pull useful information out of the mounds of information found in business transactions, social networking mediums and miscellaneous data are hotter-than-hot commodities in the coming year.

With big data being the big buzz, vendors big - SAP, HP and Oracle - and small - Qlikview and Tableau - are trying to get in on the opportunity.

The increasing shift to mobile devices, as well, can only mean new opportunities for analytics as tablets with larger screens like the iPad provide the space needed to properly display data anywhere, anytime. The entrepreneur, workforce or technology that successfully demonstrates the ability to deconstruct big data can expect big things in 2012.

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