Life is good in IT

I work in IT: what recession?

Out of a job with time on your hands?  Learn IT.  From web design, web development and mobile app development; to system administration and networking: these jobs are fascinating, challenging, and will continue to be in top demand for decades to come.  A scarcity of skilled techs are driving employers to lure new recruits with plush perks and generous salaries.

Want to dive into the skills you need for web design and development?  Take free courses at Codecademy.

What are the economic advantages of learning IT?  Perhaps the following Boston Globe excerpts will convince you.

From “Boston-area tech sector is scrambling to fill jobs” (12/4/2012):

As he does most mornings, headhunter David Freier began a recent workday by hitting the phones. His target this day: finding a software ­engineer for a growing start-up in Cambridge.

By the afternoon, he had dialed about 150 numbers and had mostly gotten voice mailboxes, or people who just hung up on him. In the end, he had scrounged up just four qualified — and willing — candidates.

“We have to make approximately 300 percent more calls to fill one position than we did three years ago,” said Freier, who founded ICI Software Recruitment in the early days of the 1990s Internet boom. “This is the most . . . cold calling I’ve ever done.”

Headhunters such as Freier are madly scrambling to find enough talented engineers and developers for their clients — fledgling start-ups and established companies alike. The clients are so desperate to fill jobs they are piling on the pay and the perks for qualified candidates.

Those fresh out of college can start at $75,000, and seasoned developers are earning $140,000 annually. And salaries in the industry continue to soar, up by as much as 15 percent this year.

As for the perks, forget casual dress or Ping-Pong tables. Employers are offering­ free breakfast, gourmet lunch, health insurance for pets,iPads, and iPhones; at some start-ups, even the cold beer is on the house.

“It’s what you have to do to compete,” said Hemant Chowdhry of Alere Wellogic, a Waltham electronic health records company that is looking to hire 45 people — from Java engineers to mobile developers — in the next few months.

From “Where the jobs are now” (3/10/2013):


If you know your Java from your Flex, you just might be in the safest sector of all. “Some of the highest demand occupations right now for current job openings are in computer and information systems,” says Rena Kottcamp, director of economic research at the Massachusetts labor bureau’s Department of Unemployment Assistance. In fact, the nonprofit New England Economic Partnership projects that in 2013, Boston-based jobs in the professional, scientific, and technical services sector will pull ahead of the finance sector for the first time.

What it’s like to be a senior software developer


Thirtysomething / Somerville

Employer: Rakuten Loyalty / Boston

I GREW UP IN ST. PETERSBURG, Russia. Both my parents are electrical engineers. They thought it would be good for their kids to have that science education. The thought of [studying it in college] was pre-defined for me. I was always good at math. When I was in high school, we immigrated to the San Francisco area. I got my GED and got a degree in computer science from UC Davis, with a minor in fine arts.

Engineering is extremely dynamic. If you keep up to date, you are always needed. Just like any career, you soul-search and understand where your real passion is. I started with back-end work; I gradually moved into front-end work, which is what’s visible to anybody browsing the Web or playing with an application.

I’m really happy. I think I’ve found somewhere I can grow and be valued. The best part [of software development] is that you are usually surrounded by smart and talented, focused people who have the same goal as you — to create this amazing product.

When a project starts, you have teams working in two- to three-week sprints. A team could consist of a software engineer, a designer, and an information architect. Each team works on stories, or tasks, such as creating a log-in page. It’s research, writing code, testing. Every day we have a meeting so everyone knows what every other person is doing. At the end, you show everybody what you have accomplished. You have responsibilities; you have to be sure your solution does work and be ready to defend it.

As a woman in a male-dominated field, you have to fight a little more to stake your ground. You have to speak [up] and believe in what you’re speaking.

Zhenya’s Keys to Success

1. Don’t ever say, “I know enough.” That attitude won’t get you anywhere. Read a lot. Know your stuff and be passionate.

2. Be a good problem solver. There are millions of solutions, but finding the best one is an art.

3. Keep in mind what the top competitors are doing. Be on the lookout [for] better tools out there that will save you time.

Jobs to watch in Massachusetts


> New jobs 2010-2020: 5,711

> Average salary: $89,870

> The fine print:

Duties Analyze science, engineering, business, or other data-processing problems to implement and improve systems

Minimum Qualifications Bachelor’s degree


> New jobs 2010-2020: 9,615

> Average salary: $106,590

> The fine print:

Duties Research, develop, and test operating systems software and general computer applications

Minimum Qualifications Bachelor’s degree


> New jobs 2010-2020: 7,050

> Average salary: $98,520

> The fine print:

Duties Develop and modify general computer applications software or specialized utility programs

Minimum Qualifications Bachelor’s degree


> New jobs 2010-2020: 3,043

> Average salary: $90,690

> The fine print:

Duties Plan, implement, upgrade, or monitor security measures for the protection of computer networks and information

Minimum Qualifications Bachelor’s degree


> New jobs 2010-2020: 3,817

> Average salary: $81,800

> The fine print:

Duties Analyze science, engineering, business, or other data-processing problems to implement and improve systems

Minimum Qualifications Bachelor’s degree