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

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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.

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