Increased Demand for Tech Professionals

Sunday, October 17, 2010; 9:00 AM

A glance at opportunities in the D.C. area

In an increasingly sophisticated world, the demand for technology and engineering professionals is high and forecasts are that it will get even higher.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor's predictions for the fastest-growing careers, technology--in any number of forms--is almost a sure bet.

Computer-related jobs are especially high on the DOL's list, particularly in the area of information security to help companies stay in front of hackers and protect data.

Among the IT positions most in demand are computer software engineers; computer support specialists; network and computer systems administrators; data communications analysts; desktop publishers; database administrators; computer systems analysts; medical record and health information technicians; computer and information systems managers; and computer and information scientists and researchers, according to the DOL.

According to research conducted by CDW, a provider of technology solutions that also tracks hiring in the IT marketplace as well as the direction and momentum of the overall industry, the following statistics reveal an encouraging outlook:

  • Fifteen percent of IT decision makers in the government sector anticipate hiring additional IT staff in the next six months.
  • Twenty-two percent of IT decision makers in the corporate segment expect to hire additional IT staff in the next six months.
  • Almost half (48 percent) of IT decision makers in the public and private sectors anticipate increased IT budgets over the next six months.

Ayinde M. Stewart, president and CEO of Clear Resolution Consulting, which offers strategic management and technology-related solutions and is located in the UMBC Technology Park, sees a high demand for technology professionals in this region as well as in his own company, and is currently recruiting for open and soon-to-be-open positions.

"From technology software and systems engineers to cyber analysts, there is great demand," Stewart said.

From a career outlook perspective, engineering also looks to have a rosy future, with much growth in systems engineering, especially in the government contracting world, which looks for candidates with the ability to understand how systems operate and how they work together.

Another aspect of engineering--biomedical engineering, which develops the instruments and devices that advance the practice of medicine--is predicted by the DOL to grow at a rate of 72 percent between now and 2018.

If you want to land a technology job but are worried you do not have what it takes, you are not alone. "Many people are hesitant to explore the cyber world because they think they don't have the necessary skills," Anne Arundel Community College's Carrie Leary said. Leary added that you can receive an IT skills certification in anywhere from one to 15 weeks. Popular certification programs include Certified Information Systems Security Professional, Certified Wireless Network Administrator, Certified Ethical Hacker and Cisco Certified Network Associate.

Also in demand are Microsoft certifications such as Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator, Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist and Microsoft Office Specialist.

Whether you are just starting your work life or want to switch careers, "there is explosive growth in the technology field and not just for traditionally 'tech-y' people," Leary said. "It's time to think about technology as a career choice."

This special advertising section was written by Carol Sorgen, a freelance writer, in conjunction with The Washington Post Special Sections Department. The production of this supplement did not involve The Washington Post news or editorial staff.

© 2010 The Washington Post Company