2011 looks like a good year to work in IT

More job growth, better raises than almost any other job

Leading technology job-ad site Dice.com has good news if you're a Java programmer, Oracle DBA or network security guru -- in Silicon Valley. Average salaries for people with your skills are higher than anywhere else in the country and rising more quickly.

If you're anywhere else, or work in different specialties, you're probably not going to be as excited by the company's annual IT salary survey.

Average salaries for all IT specialties rose an average of 3 percent in Silicon Valley compared to less than 1 percent nationally, the report showed.

(There are more detailed numbers in the PDF of the full report, which you can download here. )

The most anomalous finding – which is actually pretty common in IT – is that hiring managers consistently report they can't find good candidates with the right skills to fill their open positions. Fifty-two percent told Dice the amount of time it takes to fill an average position is lengthening.

Among the skills in highest demand and lowest supply are cloud computing – advertisements for which increased 294 percent during 2010 – information security (109 percent more postings) and JavaScript (98 percent increase).

Those skill sets are narrow enough that the number of ads doesn't overwhelm those for skills in technologies that are more widespread. Last year ended with only 1,300 cloud-computing jobs posted up on an average day, out of 70,000 to 80,000 total.

Still, with 10 consecutive months of (relatively anemic) job growth in the private sector, half of all companies and recruiters expect to hire more IT people during the next six months than they did during the past six, the survey showed.

Among hiring managers at both large and small companies, half expect to increase hiring by 10 percent; 31 percent will increase hiring between 11 percent and 20 percent.

Other surveys back up the IT hiring trend, though at far different growth curves. A survey from recruiter Robert Half Technology shows 11 percent expect to add staff during this quarter; CareerBuilder expects 26 percent of companies to add IT jobs.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the hiring growth to continue through 2018 – increasing the number of jobs for computer support specialists by 14 percent, for network, system and database administrators by 30 percent and computer scientists by 24 percent.

Companies are also having to take better care of their existing staffs. Forty-nine percent of IT people got a raise during 2010 compared to 36 percent in 2009; 50 percent of employees reported being somewhat or very satisfied with their jobs, compared to 46 percent the year before.

One good sign for people hoping to move to a better job: Hiring managers expect more mobility, which will open existing jobs in addition to new positions:

Almost half of hiring managers (47 percent) expect the number of employees quitting to go to better jobs will increase during the next six months; 29 percent expect salaries to continue to go up, as competition for the best candidates intensifies.

Polish up that resume.

Kevin Fogarty writes about enterprise IT for ITworld. Follow him on Twitter @KevinFogarty.

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