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11 Hiring Trends for 2011

The staggering job losses at the tail end of the decade have resulted in the highest unemployment since the early 1980s. Recovery has been slow. But there's some evidence that Wall Street hiring trends are on the rise. Is 2011 the year we finally see some of the improvements that have been promised? More so than any other profession, IT professionals must keep up with the latest trends and technologies.

1. Big Gains in Technology
The Monster Employment Index has been around since 2003, providing a broad and comprehensive monthly analysis of U.S. online job demand. The index gives a snapshot of the hiring trends being seen on the web's largest job site. For 2011, the Monster Index sees big gains in technology hiring, with a 20% annual growth in the computer and mathematical occupational category.

2. Certifications Impact Pay
According to Dice Learning, one of the bigger factors affecting the salary of IT professionals is it certification. Having one or more certifications, anywhere from the basic A+ Certification to the advanced Cisco Certification has been shown time and time again to lead to higher salary than being in a similar job role without certification. Of course, the days of the "paper certification" are long gone. "When you combine in demand skill-sets and proven salary impact, specific certifications become valuable to individual technology professionals," says Evan Lesser, Director of Dice Learning. The bottom line is that employees need to possess and demonstrate skills on the job in addition to flashing the fancy certifications.

3. Some Certs are Better Than Others
There are many certifications on the market, but only a few carry clout in the industry. Evan Lesser, Director of Dice Learning puts it simply; "Not all certifications are created equal in terms of paycheck impact." Here's the Dice Learning list of top IT certifications as we head into 2011.
  • Project Management Professional
  • Microsoft’s Certified Systems Engineers
  • A+
  • CCNA Certification (Cisco Certified Network Associates)
  • MCITP (Microsoft Certified Professionals)
  • Network +
  • Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator
  • ITIL
  • Security +
4. Personal Branding and Soft Skills
Technology professionals get a bad rap for having poor people skills. Most IT pros are caring, professional individuals who treat their peers with respect. But still, that bad rap won't go away. Some certifications, including the CompTIA A+ have gone so far as to include soft skills as a requirement for certification. With cooperation and collaboration being such an integral part of the daily workflow, employers are taking special notice of one's soft skills in the interview and hiring process. According to Kelly Services, "70 percent of baby boomers cite verbal communication skills among the most important element in personal branding." Some other areas that are important include listening, respect and verbal communication.

5. MCITP on the Rise
The industry is finally starting to warm up to the Microsoft MCITP certification. At first, the adoption rate was slow as people found the route to the MCITP circuitous and confusing. (If that sounds like you, check out our free guide to the MCITP.) But now, the MCITP has grown out of the shadow of the MCSE into a premier certification of its own. Salaries are up for MCITP certified professionals by 13% since 2008, in an economic climate that isn't seeing a lot of increases. Microsoft's production is showing that the demand for the MCITP is growing, too.

  • MCITP Server Administrator
    Learn to profile and monitor servers; manage infrastructure and web and app servers, as well as the server OS, file and directory services. 2010 Average Salary $86,232 vs. 2008 $83,506
  • MCITP Enterprise Administrator
    Become the decision maker for networking, directory services, security, contingency and more. Be ready for the responsibility for infrastructure design and global configuration changes. 2010 Average Salary $97,105 vs 2008 Average Salary $86,825
6. Voice Certifications
Increased demand and adoption of VOIP technology has led new and improved voice certifications. Cisco has recently updated and rebranded their voice certifications with the new CCNP Voice (previously known as the CCVP. Also jumping on the voice certification bandwagon is CompTIA, with their newly branded CTP+ certification.

7. Department of Defense DOD
Department of Defense Directive 8570.1 has been very influential in the landscape for IT hiring, and that should continue in 2011. This directive requires that all Department of Defense technical staff, managers and contractors hold prescribed certifications in order to maintain the integrity of the military's important data. In this era of Wiki-leaks style security breaches and whistle blowing, expect the demand for highly skilled security professionals to increase.

8. Diverse Skills to Pay then Bills
According to Robert Half Technology, there is great diversity in the skills that are in demand by employers. Among the skills that should see growth in 2011 include:
  • Programming
  • Business Mindset
  • Technological Proficiency
  • Security
  • Infrastructure Support
  • Networking
  • Electronic Medical Records
Another interesting area to look out for is storage. As we accumulate more and more data, the importance of being able to store and safeguard that data escalates. CompTIA has partnered with SNIA to bring a new storage certification to scratch the itch that employers and professionals have for storage credentials. Look for the new Storage+ certification to increase in value in 2011 and lead to additional storage-based IT credentials.

9. Companies Going Lean and Mean
Hiring as a whole may be on the rise, but individual companies are relying on less. Many companies have gotten used to the skeleton crews and the reduced payrolls that result. So, while individual salaries may be up at the company you want to work for, total opportunities may be down. Be prepared to knock on a lot of doors in 2011.

10. New Innovation Leads to New Jobs
It's important not to hold onto conventional norms for too long. The hiring landscape changes frequently due to new innovations and new business needs. Areas of growth that seemed unlikely a few years ago, like healthcare and medical records, are now seen as hotbeds for new work. Don't turn a blind eye to new technologies. You can be certain that hiring organizations aren't.

11. Higher Salary Potential
IT Salaries are expected to rise in the U.S. by 3.4 percent. So, even if you are searching for a job, there's cause for good news. A rebounding economy can work in your favor many ways. Employee retention is of great importance to companies, especially as more jobs open up. According to a recent study, 43% of employers fear that they will lose employees when the economy picks up, leading to greater salary negotiating power in 2011. Areas of expertise that expect to see larger gains in salary include Information Systems Security Manager, Network Administrator, Web Developer, Desktop Support Analyst and Help Desk.

Be a Trend Setter in 2011
PrepLogic has been preparing IT professionals for the best jobs and the most sought after positions for over a dozen years. We provide the most convenient, user-friendly and advanced IT training in the industry. Our team of career counselors is always at hand to provide advice, direction and support to help you put together a world-class resume and portfolio so you can get the job. If you want to be the example IT professional that others follow, we can help. Call us today at 1-800-418-6789 today and get started.