Weekly Word on the Street: Washington, D.C. Needs IT Pros

by Jim Staats | Sep 21, 2012

Takeaway of the week is a nice and tidy set of fun-filled nuggets that just about everyone in and around the IT job market will find interesting. Tech hiring hotspots are examined West Coast to East Coast with some surprising results; big-picture career decisions are broken down in ways that every candidate should be doing them if they haven't already; and sometimes career advancement begins outside of working hours.

Tech Hotspots with a Shocker Up Top

So long Silicon Valley?

Nice knowin' ya, New York City?

Ok, so that's not exactly the case when analyzing a new report on the best U.S. cities for finding software employment, but it's quite a surprise to see what city earned the title of top city for developers to find jobs.

The head of the U.S. government, Washington, D.C., has the highest demand for computer science professionals, according to data compiled by job search site, Indeed.com and reported in an item on VentureBeat.

Of course, the aforementioned locales remain high on the list of developer-friendly cities, with San Jose and San Francisco sandwiching New York City for the top four spots in Indeed's findings.

Officials with Indeed cite the bevy of defense contracts as a big reason for the tech demand in the nation's capital.

Cities rounding out the top ten are: Boston, Seattle, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Dallas.

The report also provides data on the top employers for targeted professionals and invariably most tend to have satellite offices in regions including Silicon Valley, Seattle and Washington.

Indeed data notes the most in-demand technical job titles tend to be software-related, such as sysadmin and network engineer. Top language-specific engineering positions were for Java developers.

Average salary for the in-demand roles for those equipped with computer science majors is more than $88,000, according to Indeed.

Considerations for the In-Demand Developer

We all know the technical job market is frothing at its veritable mouth for any skilled programmer these days.

But, beyond that, do the aforementioned coders really know what they need to know to make good career decisions?

From "big-picture" considerations to resume reboots, a recent article in InfoWorld offers up a handful of IT-centric career issues to consider before jumping at the bevy of jobs out there.

Here are a few:

  1. Certification: When it comes to developers, the big question is what the true demand is for specific certifications. While the latest technologies are unlikely to be the subject of testable standards, the biggest certification base is often the fundamentals that some companies target.
  2. Programming language specialization: Though quality programmers can code in any language, which one to specialize in is a toughie. New languages may be tempting, but one can't really go wrong with Java, C++, PHP and JavaScript.
  3. Location, location, location: The importance of where a company resides usually differs according to age and level of life responsibilities of a candidate. Because of this, residing in tech hotbeds like Silicon Valley becomes attractive not just for the young coder jumping from startup to startup, but also for the rooted professional who can also shift employers without packing up the homestead.

After-Hours Effort

Career advancement is often more than just an eight-hour workday.

Whether looking to make life easier in your current role or eyeing future advancement, it's often the little things that are done outside of working hours that can add a nice complement to your persona.
A recent piece on CBSnews.com offered a few help suggestions on after-work actions that can help one's career. Here are a few:

  1. Share a hobby with co-worker: "Doing activities together outside of the office can be a great stress reducer and can help you solidify your working relationship with the other person," said author Amanda Haddaway. Suggested activities include sporting events, group TV viewing parties and company volunteer projects.
  2. Happy hour: After-hour gatherings with or without the adult beverages can often help reduce tense work environments. Remember to keep alcohol consumption to a minimum.
  3. Networking: Take the time for networking opportunities sponsored by industry-related trade associations that will help increase your visibility and credibility.

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