A single IT jobs sector hit a 15-year employment high last month, and industry watchers say the rise of cloud computing fueled the healthy growth.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 3,600 jobs were created in the category, "data processing, hosting and related services," marking the single best month of job growth in this category since June 1998.
Separately, IT careers specialist Dice.com noted the number of job postings on its site that mention the word "cloud" hit an all-time high this month, topping 5,000 -- which is up 32% compared to a year ago. "There's an upswing in cloud services and cloud technology-related job opportunities," says Shravan Goli, president of Dice.
Goli notes that cloud service providers report headcount in the data processing/hosting category. As demand for cloud services grows, it's having a favorable impact on employment.
At the same time, growth in cloud services is driving hiring in related technologies. "Big data, Hadoop and other open-source technologies have also picked up steam quite a bit," Goli says. Big data, for instance, is one of the fastest growing skills on Dice, with 127% year-over-year growth in job postings.
The cloud effect is also driving demand for IT pros who have experience in traditional IT infrastructure roles and can transition into cloud-friendly "devops" positions, Goli says.
Devops "is sort of a hybrid role that combines the development and the operations roles to enable reduced development time and make the overall end-to-end delivery of service more cost effective," he says.
"The role of the systems administrator has evolved into this sort of devops role, in my opinion, and it's really about bridging the gap and evolving the impact and scope of that role."
The devops trend can be a boon for IT infrastructure pros who are looking to advance their careers. "If you're in the mode of constantly improving your skills, you'll actually make more money by evolving into these new roles," Goli says.
Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.