Big data jobs

As we’ve reported many times, tech and IT jobs are booming, and it’s not just in Silicon Valley. There’s a real need for more workers who have engineering, math and science degrees, and that’s driving our immigration debate as well.

Here’s an article about booming “Big Data” jobs in Cleveland.

With innovative hospitals and strong universities, Cleveland had been seen as a likely player in the quest to make sense of the sea of data, much of it health care-related, generated by digital technology. But local entrepreneurs from different industries are showcasing the potential sooner than expected.

Spun out of the Cleveland Clinic three years ago, Explorys already employs 85 people searching and organizing health care data and the prospects are as bright as its hip new offices in University Circle. Suddenly, economic development specialists are eyeing Big Data, and its potential for Cleveland, with new intensity.

The articles gives plenty of details on this trend and how the new health care policy to push to digitize health records will drive this trend even more. Think about how this will affect how doctors might diagnose and treat diseases as we learn more through data mining. This could also be a great career for doctors and nurses who love analyzing data and statistics.

Salaries keep rising for tech jobs

The stories are getting interesting again about what technology companies are willing to do to find qualified tech workers. Engineers in particular are seeing salary offer rise considerably. In the late 1990s we saw the dot com boom drive the frothy growth in salaries. This time around, giants like Google and Facebook are the big drivers. There’s just so much competition for qualified workers, and this is particularly true in Silicon Valley.

The other driver is a new wave of innovation that’s being driven by cloud computing. You have all sorts of companies pushing the envelope on what is possible now that we have the tremendous resource of the cloud. You have companies like Amazon offering server space for incredible prices, and then you have Apple linking up all of their devices through the cloud. When you take a photo on your phone, it now shows up in iCloud and is then accessible from your Mac. But it’s not just the big companies getting in on the act. Startups are popping up every day to take advantage of these trends.

All of this results in an excellent job market if you’re an IT worker or an engineer. It’s another reason why you can never go wrong learning technical skills, and it’s a field that many should consider if they’re looking to be retrained after losing a job. If you have base math skills, this might be an area you should strongly consider.

In the 1990s, the dot com bubble burst and many tech workers found themselves looking for work. Of course the business cycle is still an issue, and the current frenzy will probably abate a bit, but now the foundation for technology workers is very strong, and the level of innovation seems to be accelerating. So long term job security in this area is probably a safe assumption. Salaries might level off, but the need for tech workers seems to be something we can all count on for the future.

Tough time for jobs in California

Forbes has several articles asking tough questions about the job market in California. The sad truth is that California is losing jobs to other states and other countries, as the high tax burden and cost of living makes it difficult for employers to commit to the state.

Now, you have to take into account the agenda at Forbes. While the business magazine is excellent, the ideological bent is very clear. The publication favors free markets and loathes taxes. While you would expect that from most business writers and publications, Forbes sometimes takes that to an extreme.

That said, they often make compelling arguments when presenting cases where business development is hindered by taxes and regulation, and California has become the poster-child for many of these problems.

In one provocative article, a Forbes writer argues that California is becoming more like France.

A friend of mine who is a successful venture capitalist shared a depressing observation over dinner recently: “California is like France,” he said. “I try not to hire here, and I certainly would not launch a company here. But the wine is good.”

*******

Listen up Sacramento, your tax base is moving elsewhere.

“California has competition,” says Mehta. This is starting to show. A report recently released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Silicon Valley lagging. Tech employment fell nearly 17% between 2001 and 2008, while nationally those types of jobs grew 4%. Silicon Valley’s 11.8% unemployment level is higher than the nation’s.

“It’s a combination of taxes and talent,” says Mehta. “Taxes and expenses here are high, and we can get the talent or move it elsewhere. This wasn’t the case 10 years ago.”

Another article details how employers like McAfee are moving employees outside the state.

The dysfunctional nature of California politics is now catching up to the state. Meanwhile, other states are seizing the opportunity with incentives and other aggressive tactics to brings in jobs. Will California wake up?

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