In the technology sector, forecasting can be dangerous business.
Just ask investors who poured their savings into dot-com stocks only to lose big as cold winds hit the market last year.
Today's job seekers are entering a labor scene that's undoubtedly different from the "name your price" days of early 2000 -- though it's not without opportunities for people who can demonstrate their worth to employers in a rapidly changing environment.
@Work polled local and national recruiters about the hottest technology positions for 2001. Here's what we learned:
One field likely to remain strong is the one made up of information-security professionals, the folks who help to protect privacy by warding off hackers.
"It's almost like 'an apple a day,' " says Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of RHI Consulting, a recruiting firm in Menlo Park, Calif. "A lot of companies are being proactive, making sure both their internal and external information is secure."
That goes for start-ups that provide security advice, as well as large companies and government agencies hiring their own personnel to manage information-technology risks. There are a number of specialized roles within the security area, from the techies who test corporate and government security firewalls, to people who analyze potential threats, to lawyers and lobbyists who make policy for individual companies and the industry as a whole.
Ben Venzke, 27, has followed the security field for more than a decade. He directs special intelligence projects at iDefense, a Fairfax company that designs security systems for clients and alerts them to potential breaches. Lately, Venzke has focused his attention on the exchange of electronic fire between Israelis and Palestinians.
To be successful in the security arena, Venzke says, candidates will have to work well under tight deadlines.
"The industry is very fast-paced, especially when you're flooded with information," he says. "You're really dealing with tremendous volumes of information."