IT Employment

Poll: Is the programmer job market really picking up?

Reports indicate that programmers are a hot commodity again. From what you are seeing, are the programming jobs back? If so, are those jobs worth having?

This is a guest post by Justin James, the host of TechRepublic's Programming and Development blog.

When I asked TechRepublic members in November 2009 how they felt about the programming job market, 48% responded that it's bad, but it's getting better. Even more interesting is that 21% said that it's good, and it's getting better.

Based on the reports I've been reading, the job market is getting better -- programmers are a hot commodity again. I have seen some anecdotal evidence to support this trend (i.e., friends going on interviews, job ads being sent to me by recruiters, and so on). But these numbers don't tell the entire story. For instance, maybe the jobs are low-value or weird niche jobs; or, maybe companies are hiring, but the salaries are stagnant or still a bit down. Earlier in the year, I saw a wave of jobs come and go, but the compensation packages were pretty unattractive, so I wasn't really impressed.

From what you are seeing, are the programming jobs back? If so, are those jobs worth having?

J.Ja

About

Mary Weilage is a Senior Editor for CBS Interactive. She has worked for TechRepublic since 1999.

10 comments
ps2goat
ps2goat

I never knew the demand decreased for programmers. I haven't updated my DICE resume in 6 years, and I'm still getting dozens of offers a month. (And no, I'm not looking for a job, I'm just too lazy to tell DICE and the recruiters to stop.)

MrsBryant8
MrsBryant8

I was just laid off day before Thanksgiving. It was 'thank you for helping streamline our processes so we need less people, you are newest so good bye & good luck!' I look at it as a way to jump back into database/applications work again. Unfortunately, my husband's having respiratory problems & needs to move to a drier climate - he is looking at Lubbock, TX, I see some job opportunities in Tuscon, AZ. You said you get dozens of offers a month. How do I get the word out there? I am on LinkedIn and just joined SAS Community Network. I published my resume on CareerBuilder. Any tips?

Englebert
Englebert

During my times (80's onwards), the Programmer was considered an elite position attracting brilliant intelligent techies who were well respected and considered the brain-trust of IT; hero's who were called in the middle-of-the-night to fix serious problems and discuss complex issues. Now, that they have been relegated to the off-shore industry, they have lost their aura, their worth, their dignity. The sad part is that these highly intelligent folks could do a much better job than some of the employed incompetents if only the industry would be willing to re-train and transition them to other IT positions.

MrsBryant8
MrsBryant8

Englebert - I have noticed the same thing. We 80's programmers would never have gotten away with some the sloppy programming I have had to deal with as a user this year alone. A couple of months ago I decided to update my skills, because my programming character is much better than some of the midrange programming company applications I have seen. I have learned a lot but I am not yet ready to jump back into programming. I am currently a certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor & Payroll Specialist. I used to be an accounting/payroll applications programmer. Melissa

santeewelding
santeewelding

Should we be saddened? Should we rejoice? What is it that you have determined, for to be, your place in life? Certainly not that.

Justin James
Justin James

"Unfortunately, because I have Windows XP HOME Edition, I was not able to compile my first PHP program. So I stopped that route." I don't see the connection here. PHP doesn't care what version of Windows you use. It also is an interpreted language, not a compiled one. If you think that you couldn't run PHP on XP Home because you couldn't tie it to IIS, that's a mistake... you can install a local copy of Apache and it will work great. J.Ja

MrsBryant8
MrsBryant8

Sadly, immediate finances vs future finances rule. I call my current line of work my "bread & butter" work. I like the challenge of payroll, but there is nothing more satisfying than designing a database app and building it from scratch. I even enjoy the training & tech support aspect. A few years ago, I learned web design. That was totally new to this 80's programmer (sending files over a modem or using PC Anywhere were our online tools). Unfortunately, because I have Windows XP HOME Edition, I was not able to compile my first PHP program. So I stopped that route. I have to justify all expenses in real time. Have any other 80's programmers been able to update their skills and become competitive?

four49
four49

Some parts of the world are seeing an improvement in IT hiring. Others, especially struggling rust-belt regions, are not. Its very location-specific. In general, major cities have more opportunities than small towns (of course this has always been true).

CTT42
CTT42

I've been reading job ads for the last 2 months. For a while, it was looking up, but the market seems to have really shut down with the holidays. If you spend time reading the ads, you realize that most of the ads are the same ones that have been running for months. I don't know if employers are just being extremely picky or if they're just collecting resumes. If the submission process requires you listing a salary, I can guarantee you that I wasted time crafting a cover letter--I will not be called no matter how exactly my resume matches the job description.

Justin James
Justin James

"For a while, it was looking up, but the market seems to have really shut down with the holidays." That's typical and expected, outside of the retail industry. People are on death marches to finish projects by the end of the year, and taking off for the holidays. J.Ja

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