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5 reasons why your IT job search is getting harder

Patrick Thibodeau | Jan. 22, 2014
H-1Bs, DIY-ers, multiple skill sets, are all in the mix

For computer science majors, a category which includes a broad selection of IT degrees, starting salaries were down 0.2%. For those students with a specific computer science degree, starting salaries were up 0.5%.

The starting salaries for humanities and social science graduates averaged $38,045, compared with computer science graduates, whose starting salaries were still significantly higher at $59,084. For computer science degree holders specifically, the starting salary was $64,700.

4. Job ads that bury candidates with requirements
Employers want workers who understand the business and technology. This trend is increasing the mix of requirements to get an IT job. Gartner estimates that by 2017, 50% of the IT roles will require business knowledge.

Consider, for example, the job description for a senior developer analyst from the New York State Funeral Directors Association. Aside from specific technical requirements, which include a computer science or software engineering degree, the job description calls for strong financial knowledge -- someone who has a minor in "business, or accounting" although an "MBA is preferred."

David Foote, who heads Foote Partners, said employers are also seeking a unique combination of skill sets, for instance, " cloud administrators who are adept at automating the configuration and operations in a cloud environment by combining a variety of different skill sets around systems administration, virtualization, and storage and network administration."

5. More battles over H-1Bs
After the U.S. Senate passed its immigration bill last spring allowing the H-1B cap to rise as high as 180,000 (from the current 85,000 ceiling), the bill stalled in the House. But this bill may be having an impact on technology hiring.

Most of the job growth in IT last year was in consulting areas represented heavily by H-1B visa holders using IT outsourcing firms, both onshore and offshore. Outside of those areas, there's no evidence of galloping growth in IT employment.

The largest IT employment labor category, software developers, gained 19,000 jobs in 2013, bringing the total to about 1.1 million.

The Senate bill would impose new rules on large H-1B users. One key change is that if a company employs more than 50 workers, no more than half of its workers can be H-1B or L-1 workers.

Jimit Arora, a vice president at Everest Group, a consulting and research firm, said the threat of this restriction is prompting Indian IT companies to hire more domestic IT workers.

For instance, in a recent speech in Texas, the president of Cognizant, a U.S.-based offshore services provider, said the company will add 10,000 U.S. workers over the next three years, Bloomberg reported.

It's hard to tell how many of those U.S. workers will be added in response to the fear of H-1B restrictions because not all of these companies report the size of their U.S. workforce. Whether the House will endorse the Senate's visa restrictions in the immigration bill remains to be seen.

 

 

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