C++ Skills Hot; Tech Support Not

Survey finds technical support workers apparently won't be among those IT workers enjoying a rebound in hiring demand.

ARLINGTON, Va.--Technical support workers apparently wont be among those IT workers enjoying a rebound in hiring demand, according to IT hiring managers surveyed for the Information Technology Association of Americas 2002 IT work force study, "Bouncing Back". Although the report forecast that companies will fill 281,406 new tech support positions in 2002--the largest number for any single job category--that number has shriveled compared with the tech bubble heyday just two years ago when companies plugged 616,055 new tech support people into their work forces.

And theres more bad news for technical support people: According to the ITAA report, those jobs are easy come, easy go. Technical support workers were the most likely to be let go within the past year, the ITAA reported. The 10.4 million IT work force measured by the ITAA last year fell to 9.9 million workers by the end of the year—a 5 percent reduction (for more on the ITAAs report findings, see story "IT Work Force Contracts"). Tech support was the largest category of workers let go: A total of 911,937 workers in these positions lost their jobs last year.

What skills are IT hiring managers looking to pick up in the coming year? C++ was at the top of the list of what hiring companies are mentioning in IT job board Dice Inc. listings for April. Dice data has been incorporated into the ITAA report for the first time and will be used to update the ITAA report on a quarterly basis.

C++ was mentioned in 5,690 company listings. Following C++ were: Oracle (mentioned in 4,201 listings), SQL (mentioned in 4,108 listings), Windows NT (mentioned in 3,432 listings), Java (mentioned in 3,285 listings), Windows 2000 (mentioned in 2,552 listings), Access (mentioned in 2,265 listings), routers (mentioned in 1,644 listings), SAP (mentioned in 1,457 listings), XML (mentioned in 1,452 listings), PC platforms in general (mentioned in 1,434 listings), Perl (mentioned in 1,417 listings), HTML (mentioned in 1,393 listings), SQL Server (mentioned in 1,290 listings), Excel (mentioned in approximately 1,250 listings), TCP/IP (mentioned in 1,144 listings), DB2 (mentioned in 1,132 listings), mainframes (mentioned in 1,130 listings), Visual Basic (mentioned in 1,128 listings) and Assembler (mentioned in 1,064 listings).

The ITAA and Dice.com also noted an uptick in the number of business analysts being hired. That, said experts, may be interpreted as a harbinger of companies increasing their IT project activity. "You bring them in early when youre planning projects," said Dice President Scot Melland.