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.

CIOs plan on increasing IT hiring

Here’s some more good news on the technology jobs front:

Technology executives expect information technology (IT) hiring to continue in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the just-released Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report (http://rht.mediaroom.com/ITHiringIndex). In the latest quarterly survey, 12 percent of chief information officers (CIOs) said they plan to expand their IT departments, and 6 percent expect cutbacks, for a net 6 percent projected increase in hiring activity. This is up two points from the previous quarter’s projections.

The economy goes up and down, but if you have a degree in the technology area you have a good shot at being in demand throughout your career.

Hiring in the technology sector remains sluggish

The news isn’t very good on the job front, and even the tech sector is struggling to add jobs.

Government labor reports released this year, including the most recent one, present a tableau of shrinking opportunities in high-skill fields.

Job growth in fields like computer systems design and Internet publishing has been slow in the last year. Employment in areas like data processing and software publishing has actually fallen. Additionally, computer scientists, systems analysts and computer programmers all had unemployment rates of around 6 percent in the second quarter of this year.

While that might sound like a blessing compared with the rampant joblessness in manufacturing, it is still significantly higher than the unemployment rates in other white-collar professions.

The chief hurdles to more robust technology hiring appear to be increasing automation and the addition of highly skilled labor overseas. The result is a mismatch of skill levels here at home: not enough workers with the cutting-edge skills coveted by tech firms, and too many people with abilities that can be duplicated offshore at lower cost.

That’s a familiar situation to many out-of-work software engineers, whose skills start depreciating almost as soon as they are laid off, given the dynamism of the industry.

Technology firms are sitting on a mountain of cash, so hopefully this will be temporary. President Obama is now proposing huge tax breaks for investments in equipment, along with making the research tax credit permanent. If the GOP can put aside politics and pass these proposals that they have supported in the past, perhaps we can jump start this sector and other sectors.

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