IT workers are in demand, survey says
Dec 11, 2012 (Sun Sentinel - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A new survey of 500 information technology professionals and local companies indicates an upswing in hiring in South Florida's IT industry.
Fifty-seven percent of responding local companies said they plan to hire additional IT staff in 2013, according to a survey conducted by IT recruiting firm SherlockTech Staffing. That compares to 20 percent during the same survey a year ago.
The survey was done in conjunction with IT Palooza, an annual holiday event bringing together IT professionals for free training, seminars and networking. It takes place Wednesday at Nova Southeastern University.
IT professionals most in demand are mobile application developers, with starting salaries in the $100,000-to-$120,000 range in South Florida, according to Alex Funkhouser, the chief executive of Miami Beach-based SherlockTech Staffing and the executive director of IT Palooza.
In the "hot" areas of IT, demand for workers is outstripping supply, Funkhouser said. IT fiirms and other companies are looking to hire software engineers who have experience with Android and iPhone platforms, he said.
Mitch Kramer, the owner of Fort Lauderdale staffing firm Octagon, said a 57 percent increase in IT hiring sounds "low," based on his firm's own increasing volume. Demand for both permanent and contract jobs has swelled in South Florida.
Kramer said the greatest demand is for software developers, but there also are top jobs, such as chief information officer, being filled.
Consumer trends are driving companies to upgrade their technology, local recruiters said.
Cruise lines, for example, are hiring developers to create mobile applications for tablets and iPhones to make it easy for customers to book cruises, Funkhouser said.
"Everyone's got a smartphone in hand and the ability to spend," he said.
At Wednesday's IT Palooza event, there will be a "jobs opportunities" room with company representatives from SherlockTech, Centuric, LexisNexis, Host.net, Inktel, DSS Vista Experts, Campus Management, Symbiotic Consulting Group, USG&E, FAME, SecNap Network Security, Convergence Consulting Group and Itopia.
Pompano Beach-based Centuric is looking for engineers, customer service and desk support roles, administrative personnel and a controller, said Centuric CEO Richard Rodriguez.
Centuric, a 12-year-old company with 30 employees, has reinvented itself into a "cloud" computing services firm. More companies are turning to web-based storage services, paying only for what they use, as their hardware and software contracts come up for renewal, he said.
Funkhouser said he often recruits from out of the state for IT positions, but he is also working with local companies on internships to better connect local schools with employers. South Florida needs more "homegrown" professionals, he said.
You can register for free tickets to Wednesday's event at http://www.ITPalooza.com with a $25 toy donation. On-site registration is $40; parking is $5, cash only.
The keynote address at 6:30 p.m. will be by special agents from the FBI's cyber crimes division.
What: An annual holiday gathering of IT professionals and industry groups. Includes free training, seminars, networking, job opportunities and the "IT Palooza hackathon" to develop Windows 8 mobile apps.
When: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. all-day "hackathon;" breakout sessions begin at 2 p.m.; keynote speech at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences, Nova Southeastern University, 3301 College Ave., Davie
Cost: Register for free tickets, with a $25 toy donation, at http://www.ITPalooza.com. On-site registration is $40; parking is $5, cash only.
Source: IT Palooza.com
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