Weekly Word on the Street: Software Developers Still in Demand

by Jim Staats | Oct 12, 2012

Takeaway of the week is it's time to take stock of numbers: Numbers of job postings, numbers of big-time targeted skill sets, numbers of job seekers yet to connect with hiring managers and, lastly, both the good and bad of monthly unemployment numbers.

Thrilled for Skills

The IT job market continues to bubble with activity mostly around software development and ancillary skills, according to recent recruiting statistics.

A perusal of October's Dice report from Dice.com, the tech industry job site, reinforces the notion that having skill sets within the software development lifecycle amounts to a golden ticket in job opportunities.

Job postings on the site for these technology skills are nearing or surpassing all-time highs with year-long trends continuing to move in a positive direction.

Requests for open source programming languages such as Python and Ruby continue to be strong throughout 2012. Firms are ramping up the need for virtualization knowledge based on the increasing amount of job postings found on Dice.

Other trending technology sectors include Android development for mobile technology, JBoss and information security know-how.

Online Not Always On Target

The tendency of companies big and small to put the bulk of their recruitment efforts in the virtual hands of resume-screening software isn't doing any favors for job-seekers.

That's the basis of a recent article on CBS MoneyWatch, which notes that the trend of relying on technology to seek out a candidate that is perfect for a certain role often leaves both the company and qualified candidates high and dry.

With today's economy crowding the streets with job seekers and technological advances making online job search so simple and available, it's easy to understand how most companies come to rely on this route, but, as the article notes, employers are also in the current habit of setting recruiting expectations so high that talented individuals are being passed over during the process.

Suzanne Lucas, a human resources veteran who authored the article, said in a bad economy, online keyword searches aren't the best way to find the best match between employer and employee. As she notes, such terms "only represent how you (the employer) think the job should be done — it doesn't allow for the possibility of finding a better way to do a job, or exploring other options."

As another recruiting expert notes, such technology will weed out "out of the box creative thinking" in favor of those who just stick to the rules.

Often, roles that need to be filled require individuals who do things differently than the last person who held the job, while job descriptions tend to be based on what the last person did.

Employers are encouraged to actively network with job seekers. Yes, that's right, human hiring managers talking to human job candidates. Now, there's something.

IT Dip in Jobs Report

Amid all the recent hubbub over the nice, new dip in the U.S. unemployment rate, recent numbers for the IT industry weren't all that rosy.

That the Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers for the month of September included an unemployment rate below 8 percent for the first time in nearly a year rightfully took center stage, but the month wasn't a great one for the technology sector of the market.

Digging below the surface of the monthly report, released last week, a new article in The Register signals some alarming figures that might not get political parties riled up, but should have some people in the IT industry at least a little concerned.

While some 114,000 new jobs were added across the country in September with positive movement in teaching, construction, healthcare and transportation, jobs were being cut in several business associated with technology.

Computer and peripheral equipment makers cut 3,800 jobs last month, while semiconductor and electronic component makers slashed 2,000 jobs.

An area that has been a boost to the economy overall, computer system design and related services, had to chop 6,300 workers in September. Another 5,300 jobs were lost by workers in management and technical consulting services.

Granted, this is just one report and one month as the focus, but it's a sobering reminder that while the software development market remains hot, not every sector is home to a lively job market.

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