Growth in the technology field is not expected to slow down anytime soon. The Bureau of Labor (BLS) predicts that between 2004 and 2014, 1 million new IT jobs will be created. Also according to the BLS’ list of the 30 fastest growing jobs through 2008, ten of the jobs listed fall in the IT category. According to the 2008 Salary Guide, by James McGuire, another reason for the scarcity of skilled IT professionals is due to the decline in the amount of college students preparing for an IT career. One theory on why this decline has taken place is that college students may fear for outsourcing if they get a job in IT. However, with Baby Boomers reaching retirement age, along with a shortage of qualified IT professionals, pursuing the IT field continues to be a solid career move.
With a high need for IT professionals, and many job openings in the technology field, comes lucrative salaries. According to the BLS, IT jobs topped the list of fastest-growing salaries. While the average pay across all professions rose around 2.8 percent from 2007 to 2008, the IT field growth is in a scale all of its own. Company higher-ups looking to hire skilled, educated IT professionals “will pay, on average, 5.3 percent more in 2008” than they did in 2007, according to Robert Half Technology’s 2008 IT Salary Guide. According to this IT Salary Guide, the largest of these salary increases will go to individuals who manage software development teams. Their base salary is expected to rise 7.6% on average, annually. Web developers, network managers, and database administrators also will see pay increases of 7 percent or higher.
While there is definitely a high demand for IT professionals, and the salary typically pays well, many companies are getting choosier about which IT individuals they hire. They want to avoid hiring too many employees if they can hire fewer to get the job done. They also want employees who plan to stay at that company for a length of time since the cost of training is high. One major piece of information companies look for when hiring IT professionals is have they earned an IT degree. For those individuals who do have, at least a bachelor’s degree, the thought is that training will be minimal since they already have the basic skills necessary.