The IT job market softened slightly in February, as the impact of layoffs from some of the world's biggest tech companies began to impact the larger market, according to analysis from CompTIA.
The organization's review of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found the number of individuals employed by tech companies across all job categories decreased by 11,184 positions.
The unemployment rate for IT professionals rose slightly to 2.2%, still lower than the nationwide unemployment rate of 3.6%.
CompTIA's Tech Jobs Report noted that as a percentage of the tech sector's total base of employment, the losses represent a mere fraction of 1% (0.2%), while the tech manufacturing subsector added a net of 2,800 new jobs.
Meanwhile, total job listings for tech pros fell by roughly 40,000 positions to just under 230,000 in February, with most metropolitan areas impacted by a reduction in IT jobs posted.
Cities that bucked the trend include "below the radar" markets such as Salem, Oregon, and Little Rock, Arkansas, while IT jobs hub Seattle posted the most impressive gains with a nearly 10% jump in listed IT jobs.
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"It's still a good time for entry-level and experienced IT workers to be looking for a job," said James Stanger, chief technology evangelist at CompTIA.
CompTIA's report seems to suggest that manufacturers have overcome some of the technical supply chain issues they've been experiencing, he said, and now need to address the next supply chain issue: workers.
"The professional and technical services, finance, and government sectors are also hiring more aggressively," Stanger added. "Notice the growth in Washington, D.C., for example. But growth is not just in the government sector. Both Seattle and Washington remain quite hot when it comes to the need for technical workers."
While there is a "slight regression" to a mean in various localities and sectors, it's hardly evidence of a collapse, according to Stanger.
"That mean still indicates that we don't have enough workers in every sector," he said. "The numbers still show that we need qualified tech workers in every sector."
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With tech manufacturing posting the fifth consecutive month of positive gains, Stanger said many sectors, including those in manufacturing and finance, have largely been reluctant to embrace technology over the years.
"This is especially the case in fields such as manufacturing, insurance, and even real estate," he said. "Now that they need to embrace different IT and security practices, and new forms of automation including machine learning and cloud-based business solutions, we need workers in these areas."
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The PC and semiconductor industries have also recognized the need for security professionals, according to Sanger.
"Cybersecurity has been tough for many organizations to embrace over the years," he said. "We need workers to help secure processes, trade secrets, and personally identifiable information [PII]. We're seeing a marked increase in privacy and security directives and regulations."
This trend affects everyone, including the managed service provider (MSP) community, said Sanger, who noted that all sectors of industry, including the PC, semiconductor, and manufacturing sectors, are hiring to manage this reality.
IT skill areas experiencing growth include specific areas of cybersecurity, data analytics, cloud, and automation, as pioneering organizations are combining automation technologies such as Ansible with machine learning, Sanger said.
"Other organizations are focusing on automated and orchestrated business solutions using a cloud-first, hybrid technology approach," he said. "The ability to visualize and contextualize business and technical transactions and processes is especially prized these days."
There's also a trend toward finding ever-more clever ways to gather data from myriad devices and user interactions to improve customer and partner experience.
"This means we need workers and developers in these areas," Stanger said. "We now live in a cloud-first, hybrid world."
That means folks will likely go to cloud services first for business solutions, then bring in data center-based computing and traditional on-premises computing as necessary.
"This has become the technology trifecta, which will be valid for the next decade, if not longer," Stanger said. "So, job seekers will be wise to consider skills relevant to this reality."
About the authorNathan Eddy is a freelance writer for ITPro Today. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin.