IT Consulting, Contracting Jobs Will Continue to Grow in 2010

eWEEK talks to industry trade group TechServe Alliance to get a sense for how 2009 ended up for technology jobs, and where tech jobs are headed in 2010. There is demand for business analysts, business intelligence experts, ERP experts and .NET developers.

The second half of 2009 saw stronger stabilization of technology jobs compared with the first half, according to industry group TechServe Alliance in a report released Jan. 8. IT employment increased by 6,400 jobs in December for a total of 3,821,000-an improvement of 0.2 percent, according to TechServe. TechServe Alliance, formerly known as the National Association of Computer Consultant Businesses, is a 500-member trade organization based in Alexandria, Va.
While layoffs were the largest trend in technology and nearly every industry, 2009 was a decent year for technology consultants, contractors and professional services organizations, which saw some of the only gains in employment.
"The most robust job segment, Management and Technical Consulting Services, has gained a net 13,600 jobs in the first 11 months of 2009, with net job gains in four of the last five months," said technology analyst company Foote Partners in a December report. (PDF)
TechServe bases its information on statistics drawn from the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics and looks at staffing patterns in a "dozen IT and computer-related occupations in 16 industries and industry sectors," the report said. eWEEK interviewed TechServe Alliance President Steven Norris, who works for EdgeTech Consulting, to discuss hiring patterns and job trends in 2009 and 2010. The following is a quick question-and-answer session with Norris:
Was there a hiring trend for 2009?
We are seeing more and more clients asking for temporary IT resources as they begin to seek the talent to complete their IT initiatives that have been on hold for perhaps a year or more. We also are seeing that whereas a couple of years ago they would only interview two or three of their top candidates in their labor pool, now with so many strong candidates still available in certain skill sets, they are asking to see more resumes and are requesting more interviews in hopes of grabbing the absolute best talent for their dollar.
What areas of IT are being hired?
Clients are asking for many of the IT [professionals] that understand the business side of IT and can begin to help them execute their strategies for 2010 and beyond. [People with] these skills include business analysts, business intelligence experts, functional ERP experts, project managers, etc. As they begin these initiatives, we are also seeing an uptick in requests for developers, specifically in the [area] of .NET.
Where is growth in IT jobs expected in 2010?
I feel there will be a continuing trend toward the hiring of IT professionals that perhaps have a technical background, but also have some business training or expertise. That said, I also feel there will be a growing demand for strong, experienced .NET developers as companies begin to update and upgrade their existing technologies. And as we have seen in past downturns, as companies' sales increase and they hire more employees and add new clients, there is always increased demand for support and help desk resources.