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IT hiring: The drama behind the statistics

Well, this sounds like a positive sign of economy — and IT — recovery. We’ve written recently about what CEOs look for in the CIO role, and now The Boston Globe is reporting that IT hiring is on the rise again, both nationally and in the Boston area, according to recruiters and the IT companies themselves. These include technology giants like Google Inc. and EMC Corp., and even Parametric Technology Corp. in Boston’s Needham suburb (right across the street from TechTarget’s previous office).

The Globe article cites job postings on, a barometer that tracks, as well as an estimate from Forrester Research Inc. analyst Andrew Bartels (to whom we’ve spoken quite a bit about IT hiring) that the U.S. technology market will increase 8.4% this year after shrinking 7.9% last year. There’s a handy graphic too, which illustrates the bloodcurdling drop in IT hiring through 2008 and part of 2009 before it began to ramp back up.

All very interesting news, but even as I reached the end of the article, I knew I wasn’t done reading yet. Although I take them with a grain of salt, I almost always read the comments under these stories. Yes, some people are probably trolls, but it sometimes takes the comments to communicate the real “drama” of the IT hiring story.

And there are some doozies here: One help desk/network technician complains that he or she can’t even get a job in the $45,000 to $55,000 range, whereas he or she used to make $85,000. Another commenter shoots back, “A helpdesk/network tech making $85k is why the economy tanked to begin with.” Then one commenter notes that a lot of Pegasystems Inc. job postings are actually located in Hyderabad, India, so “Hope y’all love curry.”

You get a different sense from reading these comments and actually talking to IT workers than you do from reading the optimistic stories. I’m sure the Globe piece is correct in the IT hiring statistics it cites. But it’s always helpful to have those real voices in there, murmuring that everything is not as rosy as studies and IT hiring reports might make it seem.

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