Well, I don’t think we’re quite ready for what Alan Greenspan described as “irrational exuberance” back during the dotcom boom just yet, but things do seem to be looking up for the economy as a whole, and for IT employment in particular. According to the Wall Street Journal yesterday “Jobless Claims Hit Lowest level Since 2008” with an additional reduction of 13,000 first-time unemployment claims to a total of 348,000 last week. In fact, this is the first time since the financial meltdown of 2008 that claims have been lower than they were before the meltdown occurred (levels now match those from early March of that year, before the meltdown really got underway).
On the employment front, my local NPR affiliate ( KUT.org ) reported this morning that “It’s a Seller’s Market for Tech Workers in Austin.” The gist of this story is that demand for programming talent in my home area is so high that even with numerous local colleges and universities to provide graduates, recruiters and hiring managers are busily involved in a nationwide hunt for programming talent. UT Austin, St. Edwards, Concordia College, and Austin Community College, among others in Central Texas, all report record enrollment and graduation rates for coders for their two- and four-year degrees, and where applicable, in graduate programs as well. Even so, recruiters report that they can’t satisfy demand purely from local supply.
They’re finding high demand for programming staff all over the country, which is why I’m talking about a local news item to a national and international audience. To my astonishment, the story also cited starting salaries for recent grads as $70K per year or higher, with some salaries reaching into the low six figures. Now that’s what I call “economic improvement!” Let’s hope that this phenomenon bleeds over into other areas of IT, and that we’ll see a rising tide for the whole field as 2012 wears on.