New IT Job Hot Spots

IT workers are migrating for employment in increasing numbers&#151to surprising destinations. Find out where. How We Selected the Job Hot Spots

In once-thriving IT job centers such as Silicon Valley and Seattle, the economic downturn has dragged on so long that the question rising from the lips of unemployed IT professionals has become a persistent mantra: When will employers start hiring again?

The surprising answer is that they already have. Just not in any of the traditional IT epicenters. Instead, as industries such as biotechnology, health care and defense show recession-defying growth, new IT job meccas are springing up in some surprising places better known for things such as country music than coding.

And, perhaps not surprisingly, given the length and depth of the current downturn, increasing numbers of IT professionals are joining other employment-seeking workers in beginning to migrate to these new job centers. In fact, out of 3,000 jobless managers and executives recently surveyed by Chicago-based outplacement company Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., 16 percent opted for relocation in the third quarter—a 33 percent increase over the numbers doing so in the second quarter.

So, for those IT workers open to uprooting and relocating in order to reboot their stalled careers, the million-dollar question is: Where are the jobs? To answer that, we pored over data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics and tech job board listings. We then researched which industries are doing the best in this economy. Finally, we spoke to hiring managers in the regions that seemed promising. (For more details on how we chose regions to feature, see related story.)

We did it all in an effort to point migrating IT workers in the right direction. The result is the following package of portraits of three regions—New Yorks Capital Region, northern Virginia and Southern California—that are holding their heads above water better than much of the country when it comes to IT job creation.

One hesitates to call any area a "hot spot" in this economy, but at the very least, these are warm spots. And, considering the current, chilly job market, theres a lot to be said for that.

We hope that these portraits, if they dont persuade out-of-work and dissatisfied IT workers to pack up and move, will at least provide useful guidelines of what to look for when considering relocating. (See related story for more pre-U-Haul tips.)