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2010 tech career outlook

The good news is that not everyone’s predictions are as dire as Hackett’s, and there
are several pockets of demand for skilled IT workers, even if many jobs such as
those in support and systems administration remain under threat.

One recent indication: a Goldman Sachs study predicting a 4% rise in IT spending,
which indicates some positive momentum among large companies at least. That follows
similar surveys by IDC and Gartner, both also predicting slight upticks in IT spending
in 2010.

For example, demand for cloud-oriented tech experts is way up, as my colleague David
Linthicum has reported. And tech placement firm Robert Half Associates has projected
it sees strong demand for network administrators, security managers, and systems
engineers.

Other hot areas are software architects, Java and .Net/C++ developers, quality assurance
pros and project managers, agile-capable developers, and SAP consultants. Mobile
app development has also gotten a lot of buzz, though whether this is a profitable
area or long-term need remains to be seen.

What is clear is that journeyman positions — help desk support, software coding,
Web production, code testing, software and server administration, and even software
development — is increasingly being moved overseas or to automated systems.

That poses near-term risks to people with such jobs, as well as long-term ones for
the United States, Canada, and Europe, as fewer people enter engineering and tech
fields for fear that there will be no jobs, exacerbating the shortage that already
exists in these regions for qualified engineers.

Of course, not all these jobs will be outsourced — collaborating over 12 time zones
and 12,000 miles is difficult, and many outsourcing efforts have failed due to the
time, distance, language, and cultural challenges.

But many will, and as nations such as India, China, and the Philippines reap the
rewards of their intensive engineering education efforts, they’ll want to move up
and begin taking work for project management, architecture, software design, and
other more advanced skills typically handled in the United States, Canada, and Europe
today.

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