Robotics and .NET skills needed

Bill Peppler, of the staffing firm Kavaliro, answers my questions about the ever-evolving IT skill sets employers are looking for.

During the hiring process, employers generally look for job seekers with good communication and technical skills, but now there's another skill many are searching for. In the IT, engineering, healthcare and repair industries, recruiters are hunting for candidates with robotics skills.

Over 6,000 online job ads listed robotics as part of the job description in May 2012 according to This number is up 29% since May 2011.

So what does this mean for jobseekers in these industries? I spoke to Bill Peppler, managing partner of national staffing firm Kavaliro, about the ever-evolving IT skill sets employers are seeking.

1. What are you seeing as the hottest jobs in IT? and, by "hottest," do you mean the jobs that are in most need of candidates, or jobs that are cool and that IT pros are competing for?

According to a CareerBuilder Talent Compensation Report provided to Kavaliro a survey of 1000 .NET Developers and employers across the country revealed an average annual salary of $85,863, with top salaries reaching well into the six-figure range. Yet despite the lofty compensationthat is on the table, employers continue to report of difficulties in hiringand retaining top .NET Developer talent in the midst of unprecedented demand for their services. Much of that demand is driven by the explosion of web-based services and applications, as more and more business is conducted via computer systems.

We all know that much has changed about the way we do business over the past decade. Increasingly, we find ourselves becoming more dependent on computer systems as a means of exchanging data, as older, morecumbersome technologies continue to be phased out. One area that has seen explosive growth in recent years is web-based services, generally defined as the collective technology for transmitting and accessing data over the Internet.

Enhancing existing systems or implementing new web-based services (both internal and external) can lead to greater efficiency, simplification of use, and ultimately, increased revenue. As companies rush to integrate these web services through new applications, the role of the .NETDeveloper has never been more important. As the builders of the Framework upon which a majority of these web services and applications are based, their services have never been in greater demand. This demand is reflected in theglut of open developer positions on job boards throughout the country, and the increasing wage rates for seasoned developers.

2. What are the best industries for the area of information technology?

The hottest areas continue to be areas related to software services. Any product that helps reduce costs or helps increase revenue and profit to a company's bottom line is in high demand.

3. You mention a rise in robotics skills? Why do you think that is? What can IT pros do to gain expertise in the area of robotics?

Although impermanent, the increase in robotics-related careers could be a result of the economy picking up. Previously, companies outsourced many of these jobs. Today, businesses are straying away from that route due to increased salaries overseas, and turning to US workers to fill the void.

The attraction to robots lies in their increase of product quality and productivity, while decreasing manufacturing costs. The demand is felt most in the pharmaceutical, medical, food, aerospace and electronics industries as a result of new applications. The most sought after skills include a firm grasp of electronic, mechanical and hydraulic systems, the aptitude to execute tasks with mechanical accuracy, as well as, the application of mathematical formulas to robotic systems and projects. In addition to normal job skills, i.e. theability to work well with related industry professionals and prime organizational skills.

You do, however, need a degree to work in the field, so for those seeking to start a new career, schooling/training is required.


Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.


The part of the globe I am in SAP and JAVA and even COBOL is much more in demand than .NET. But this is a morale boosting story for a .NET developer like me!


I was in the same boat as you, short term consulting jobs, generally in a Data Analyst position. My primary database skill set is Microsoft in SQL Server and Access however my last position was in an Oracle environment and with the analyst position, as long as you have a good grounding in SQL, it really doesn't matter since the data is usually extracted then analyzed in an external program. What I have done is focus on knowing the differences between the two systems especially with basic functions that I use a lot. I've also done some reading and experimenting with Business Intelligence and especially the Star Schema of BI database design since I was working with an Enterprise Data Warehouse that was done using the the Star Schema. I am fortunate to have obtained a position where I have been for the last two months and it is SQL Server based. It is a manufacturing company that creates automated conveyor / picking / and palletizing solutions which use robots as part of the system. My job is to work with the data from potential clients, ETL it to SQL Server for use in the proprietary software we use to create the pallets. I then analyze the data and provide my analysis to the engineers who build a proposed system in Autocad based on the data I give them. Our proprietary software is programmed in .NET. While not a primary programmer, I do use .NET to create / modify reports and also go in and modify the config files to connect to the data with which I am working. The company encourages cross training and I have been making friends with the guys who program the robots to work with the in-house. I plan to find out what additional training I need to do what they do.


I have over 22 years in IT Reporting Application Development and Data Analysis. I'm having issues as to which direction to focus my studies, i.e. Oracle-based or SQL so that I could get a job that is longer term instead of the short-term consulting jobs that I've been taking. I was curious if anyone had ideas on which path was the best, I've checked the demand and they are quite equal in the Chicago or should I try to find training in robotics? Thanks

Editor's Picks