IT Job Environment Improves, with Open Source Opportunities

by Ostatic Staff - Jan. 26, 2011

The environment for jobs in information technology is rapidly improving, according to a new report from researchers at Challenger, Gray and Christmas, and there are also strong signs that IT workers with open source skills are increasingly in demand. According to the Challenger report, employers announced plans to eliminate 46,825 IT jobs as 2010 finished--a full 73 percent fewer than the 174,629 technology job cuts in 2009. Many sources also cite Linux skills, in particular, as being in demand in the IT environment.

Employers in the IT sector, which includes computer, electronics, and telecommunications firms, announced 35,375 job cuts between January and the end of June 2010. But from July through the end of the year, job cuts totaled 11,450; a 68 percent drop. The most significant drop in technology-sector job cuts was experienced by firms in the electronics industry, which saw job cuts plunge 92 percent from 65,300 in 2009 to 5,072 last year. Job cuts by computer firms dropped 66 percent, while telecommunications companies saw job cuts decrease by 55 percent.

“Many industries are still struggling, even as the economy recovers.
The technology sector does not appear to be in this camp, however. These firms are definitely on the leading edge of the recovery, as companies across the country and around the globe begin to upgrade and reinvest in their technology. The surge in smart phones and tablets alone is helping to drive growth in electronics, telecom and computers,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Meanwhile, PC World notes that Dice and other employment services are reporting increases in demand for IT workers with Linux skills, as The Linux Foundation has also reported:

 "What's particularly exciting for those with an interest in Linux, however, is that skills in the open source operating system are in particular demand, according to Dice. Not only are job postings on the IT and engineering site up 40 percent generally compared with last year, but postings seeking Linux knowledge have increased a full 47 percent over last year, the Linux Foundation reports."

 We've reported before on how open source skills can be powerful differentiators for workers in IT, especially as the economy continues to struggle. oDesk and Dice have consistently reported increases in opportunities for open source-focused positions. With open source operating systems such as Android playing an increased role in the lives of enterprise users, there are new avenues emerging for IT workers with open source smarts. Look for the trend to continue throughout this year.