Contractors Prosper as Tech Job Market Thrives

A new report finds the tech job market going strong, based on increases in tech job postings, demand for contract workers and job opportunities in secondary markets.

Tech job postings have risen 26.3 percent in the last year, according to a monthly report released by, a technology jobs and skills board.

The survey also found that while demand for all technology positions continues to grow, demand for contract positions outpace that for permanent positions, 30.3 to 22.9 percent.

Technology professionals in contract positions make on average $18,000 more per year than their counterparts in full-time positions, or $82,700 versus $64,300. Average technology salaries on the whole are $67,900.

"This is something thats been fairly consistent," Scot Melland president and CEO of told eWEEK.

"There are a couple of reasons. First, contractors get paid more but they dont get all the benefits. The second reason is that contract positions are often for new and hard to find skills."

Dices topic poll found that 33 percent of technology professionals see Web development as the tech field offering the most potential for those just starting out, followed by databases (23 percent), security (20 percent) and Windows (15 percent).

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Only 9 percent felt that Linux is the place to be.

"If you look at where the jobs are today, they are really in core technology areas such as programming," Melland said.

"A lot of that is Web development, and working on the applications that drive Web sites, such as Java, .Net framework, HTML, XML. Its a very broad term, but development, project management, database administration, programming and specifically Web development are where it is at," he said.

The report also ranked the top tech metropolitan areas based on the number of jobs posted in each. New York and New Jersey took the top slot, with 10,809, following by Washington D.C. (8,686), Silicon Valley (8,194), and Los Angeles (5,422), along with their surrounding areas.

"What is interesting is that the secondary markets have really taken off. Postings from Philadelphia, Boston, Dallas and Atlanta have grown more than 50 percent in the last year," Melland explained.

Skills found to be the most in demand were in operating systems, with a lean toward Windows over Unix and in databases with more jobs related to Oracle than SQL.

Programming languages most requested were led by C and C++, followed by J2EE/Java and ASP, which slipped behind J2EE/Java only in the beginning of the year.

The report also includes requested positions on their partner site,, for technology professionals with U.S. government security clearances.

Of these, software developers, Unix systems administrators and Arabic, Farsi, or Pashto Linguists were the most sought after.

The total number of technology jobs listed as of the end of March 2006 was up to 86,331, one of the highest numbers in Dices 15-year existence.

"Part of the growth can be attributed to the success of Dice, and part to the success of the market," said Melland.

"The number of companies that use our services has gone up substantially in the last couple years, and its very hard to divide the two out. But, youve still got to have a healthy market to have that kind of growth. Directionally, the market looks good."

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