40% of IT pros looking for work: How you can stand out

Things are very active in the tech job market right now, with a lot of companies trying to fill IT jobs and a lot of IT pros looking to change employers. Here are some tips for how tech job seekers can stand out from the competition.

As the IT job market has picked up in recent months, 39% of IT professionals say they’re actively or casually looking for a new job, according to a recent Information Week survey.

Their primary reasons for testing the market? The top motivator given was the search for a higher salary, followed by a desire for more interesting work, greater personal fulfillment and increased job responsibilities.

That high number of job seekers means IT pros will face a lot of competition from their peers. But the good news is that the number of IT jobs available is also expected to be on the rise. In fact, the majority of IT managers say it’s actually a challenge to find skilled IT professionals, according to a recent survey from staffing firm Robert Half.

The bottom line: The jobs will be out there for IT pros that have what companies are looking for. Here are four key factors that can help IT job seekers stand out from their competition:

1. The right skills

Technology is a constantly changing field, and therefore the skill sets companies look for in IT employees are constantly evolving. What do companies want now? IT pros skilled in Linux administration and cloud computing are in high demand, as are software developers and database specialists.

2. The right certifications

Passing certification exams is one way to prove to potential employers that you possess certain skills. And employers take IT certifications seriously, as a recent Network World study found that certifications successfully help IT pros land new jobs, raises and promotions.

But just like different skill sets, some certifications are more valuable than others. See our earlier post for a list of the IT certifications companies most commonly look for today.

3. A change in industry

Demand for IT professionals also differs across various industries. For example, healthcare organizations currently need a lot of help in their IT departments because of the shift toward electronic health records and the adoption of other healthcare technology.

Industry also affects the pay IT professionals receive, according to ComputerWorld’s recent IT salary survey. Over the past year, the biggest wage increases were received by IT professionals working in retail (compensation up 4%), followed by mining/construction/engineering (up 3.3%), computer-related manufacturing (up 3.2%), computer services/consulting (up 2.6%) and energy/utilities (up 2.3%).

4. A willingness to work in flexible arrangements

Companies need IT employees, but not all of them necessarily have the budgets to hire new full time staff members. That’s why many organizations are turning to consultants and other flexible staffing solutions for help, according to a recent report from IT job board Dice.com.

According to the report, IT consultants also earn more than full time staff on average and often have higher job satisfaction because they get to work with new technologies and avoid getting burned out with one organization.

For more help navigating the current IT job market, check out our new Tech Career Toolbox.

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