Where are all the IT jobs? Here: Fastest-growing skills in the fastest-growing cities

With help from Dice.com, we break down where and for what skills demand is highest

The problem with employment statistics is that they never seem to refer to the job you, individually, are looking for (or trying not to lose).

Estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on how many jobs have been created during a given month and what the unemployment rate is are basically useless as a way to gauge your own job prospects.

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Estimates from Janco, Yoh, Robert Half Technology, Challenger, Gray & Christmas and other employment (or un-employment in the case of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which does a lot of outplacement) narrow things down to IT jobs in particular, and often to particular specialties.

It's too much to ask that they hit all the potential variables.

Dice.com, because it runs job ads, and can search them based on skill, industry and location, is able to narrow things down by making queries more specific.

Not that job ads are always accurate; there's always some play between what a company says in the ad and what it says when you apply for or start in a job.

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Still, it's a concrete way to measure changes in the market for actual jobs companies are willing to pay Dice.com to have posted.

"It's interesting; you can trace trends in technology, like seeing demand for mobile apps go up, more emphasis on handhelds, cloud, virtualization," according to Alice Hill, managing director at Dice.com.

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"Salaries have been flat for the last few years but we're starting to see them go up slightly. There's not a big jump in salaries, but a lot of companies are getting the green light to hire that were frozen before, so we're starting to see an actual increase in jobs," she said.

The overall increase in jobs advertised is 19% compared to last year, and 60% compared to two years ago. Those numbers vary so much within specific industries, locations and job skills that number is misleading.

Jobs for people with skills programming for Android are up 302% between Q1 2010 and Q1 2011; for iPhone it's 220%; cloud computing is 221%; JavaScript is 88%; Peoplesoft is 83%.

Those five are growing the fastest, but those in greatest demand right now are less sexy.

One quarter of the jobs posted on Dice.com call for Oracle skills; 21% ask for J2EE or Java; 16% for C, C++ or C#; 14% ask for project management.

Even more changeable than skill sets is geography.

The number of IT jobs in Pennsylvania grew 46% between May 2010 and May 2011. In Michigan it skyrocketed -- 141% .

"We could see the recovery starting in Silicon Valley and New York, but now it's spreading more over the rest of the country as well," Hill said. "You can see it popping up city by city."

Click here to search Dice for jobs by city and specific skill set.

Dice runs reports every month, and has ongoing counts on its site. The counts below are from queries Dice.com staffers ran at my request.

I hope they're helpful; the Dice crew certainly was.

Fastest-growing geographic markets for IT jobs*

  • Kansas City 109%
  • Cleveland 95%
  • Cincinnati 81%
  • Detroit 79%
  • Richmond 59%
  • Jacksonville, FL 51%
  • Providence 50%
  • Columbus 49%
  • Minneapolis 45%
  • Dallas 41%

*As of June 1, 2011, compared to June 1, 2010.

And, because it's often better to know how many jobs there are, not just how fast they're growing:

Most in-demand IT skills in specific metro areas:

Metro Area: Kansas City, Mo.

Skill

Job Count

Project Management

231

Oracle

195

SAP

154

J2EE/Java

115

Software Developer

112

Peoplesoft

109

C, C++, C#

108

Windows (all versions)

102

SQL

100

Metro Area: Cleveland, Oh

Skill

Job Count

Project Management

270

Oracle

225

SAP

189

C, C++, C#

124

Windows (all versions)

120

J2EE/Java

120

Software Developer

118

SQL

118

Project Engineer

112

Peoplesoft

110

Metro Area: Cincinnati, Oh.

Skill

Job Count

Project Management

270

Oracle

241

Software Developer

175

C, C++, C#

164

J2EE/Java

160

SAP

155

SQL

148

.NET

147

SQL Server

138

Metro Area: Detroit, Mich.

Skill

Job Count

Project Management

377

Oracle

312

SAP

224

SQL

171

J2EE/Java

158

C, C++, C#

148

Software Developer

145

Windows (all versions)

142

Unix

132

Metro Area: Richmond, Va.

Skill

Job Count

Project Management

181

Oracle

143

SQL Server

109

SQL

108

C, C++, C#

101

XML

96

Windows (all versions)

89

.NET

88

Unix

87

Metro Area: Jacksonville, Fla.

Skill

Job Count

SQL

137

Project Management

106

J2EE/Java

103

SQL Server

81

XML

77

Unix

76

JavaScript

75

C, C++, C#

75

Windows (all versions)

73

Metro Area: Providence, R.I.

Skill

Job Count

Project Management

94

Windows (all versions)

86

Software Developer

72

Oracle

70

C, C++, C#

69

SQL

68

J2EE/Java

62

SQL Server

49

Linux

46

Metro Area: Columbus, Oh.

Skill

Job Count

Project Management

295

Oracle

258

SQL

240

Windows (all versions)

193

J2EE/Java

182

Unix

162

Software Developer

137

.NET

128

C, C++, C#

128

Metro Area: Minneapolis, Minn.

Skill

Job Count

Project Management

554

Oracle

423

SQL

355

J2EE/Java

346

Software Developer

340

C, C++, C#

262

SQL Server

245

.NET

230

Windows (all versions)

229

Metro Area: Dallas, Tex.

Skill

Job Count

Oracle

775

Project Management

681

SQL

594

J2EE/Java

571

C, C++, C#

535

Windows (all versions)

503

SQL Server

478

JavaScript

467

Software Developer

452

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