Tech jobs down sharply but not out

You may not have to travel to a big metro area to get work

Online job listings for technology workers are down sharply, but there are still plenty of openings for people with the right skills, or for those living in the right metropolitan area.

The online job site Dice said the number of tech jobs advertised on its Web site has declined 26 percent from one year ago. The Conference Board, which publishes the widely watched consumer confidence index, Wednesday reported a 29 percent decline in online job listings for computer related occupations across 1,200 job sites.

Despite the advertising decline, Dice still had nearly 68,000 help wanted ads posted Wednesday, and the Conference Board said it counted more than 569,000 computer and mathematical related job ads in November.

The right stuff

Tom Silver, senior vice president of marketing and customer support at Dice Holdings, said workers with skills in the right areas remain in demand. Job postings related to virtualization technology were up 19 percent year-over-year, he said. There were about 1,500 virtualization-related jobs on Dice Wednesday.

Virtualization is often cited as a cost cutting tool, allowing companies to consolidate physical servers and cut hardware, energy and administrative costs.

Another strong area for work is customer-relationship management (CRM), particularly with Siebel CRM software. A search on the word Siebel produced more than 2,000 results on Dice. Silver said he believes the reason why CRM skills are in demand is because companies are trying to preserve their customer base and want to get more use out of their CRM installations.

"It is far less expensive to keep an existing customer than it is to go out and find a new one," Silver said.

Location, location, location

For best places to find work, Washington may top the list. There are now 8,400 job ads listed on Dice in the US capital's metro area, a 6 percent increase from a year ago, said Silver. A lot of that is federal government work, which often requires a security clearance.

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