Which Windows skills are in demand?

There are fewer jobs in IT, and employers pay new hires less. But the news is not all bad. SharePoint experience, for one, is in demand in Windows shops.

Some of the top Windows skills that companies are looking for to staff their IT departments in today's tight job market are SharePoint and .NET experience, IT security, virtualization and Java, according to the IT employment website Dice.com.

Here are the most difficult skill sets or positions to fill

  1. Security
  2. Virtualization
  3. Java/J2EE
  4. SAP
  5. .NET
  6. Database Administrators/Administration
  7. Oracle
  8. Active Federal Government Security Clearance
  9. Project Manager/Management
  10. SharePoint

List courtesy of Dice.com

But even though those skills are in demand, job listings for all IT skill areas are down nearly 50% from 2008, said Tom Silver, a senior vice president at Dice.

There were 8,168 Windows-related IT jobs listed on Dice.com in August 2009, down from 15,838 jobs listed in August 2008. The average year-over-year decline in demand for Windows skills is 48% -- although Windows is consistently the most sought after operating system skill.

Like Windows itself, there are fewer classified ads for nearly every other Microsoft product skill compared to last year.

In early August, there were 5,125 ads looking for .NET skills, down from 9,150 one year ago. There were 5,105 ads for SQL Server skills this August compared to 9,400 last year. The site does not have data about demand for SharePoint skills for 2008, but in January of this year there were 1,768 ads looking for SharePoint skills and that number has only varied slightly since then; the number of postings for SharePoint in early July was 1,762 and in early August there were 1,687 ads for SharePoint skills.

The need for IT workers with skills in virtualization technology continues to grow. On Dice.com, Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisor skill listings are up 311% compared to this time last year. But, although the percentage increase seems high, the actual number of listings for Hyper-V knowledge remains quite small. In early June last year, Dice.com showed only five posts from companies seeking a Hyper-V pro. There were 21 by early August. This June there were 59 listings and only 39 in August.

The employers posting job ads on Dice.com run the gamut from large data centers, software companies and consultants to Fortune 500 companies that aren't in the IT industry, Silver said.

Slim job market, lower new-hire pay

Many companies are not just hiring fewer new employees; they are paying them less too. In a recent survey by Dice, 57% of recruiters and hiring managers said salaries for new employees will continue to fall this year; and 35% said salaries in 2009 remain flat with 2008.

More on IT jobs

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Another report shows the news isn't good for Microsoft Certified Systems Engineers + Internet (MCSE+I); this certification topped the list of declining pay for certified skills in Foote Partners LLC's 2009 IT Skills Trends Report. The January 2009 report shows a 43% decline in pay from the previous year for MCSE+I skills. Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician is third on that list, showing a 40% pay decrease from January 2008, and Microsoft Certified IT Professional certification fetched 29% lower pay in January 2009 than it did the previous year.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Bridget Botelho, News Writer

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