Job site Dice.com recently compared the number of open tech jobs to the number of computer-related graduates and found that 18 states and Washington, D.C., have fewer graduates than open jobs. In California, the number of open jobs is nearly triple the number of new computer science graduates.
One reason for the shortage of talent is a lack of new graduates. Between 2004 and 2008, the number of computer-related bachelor’s degrees granted in the U.S. fell from roughly 60,000 to 38,000. At the same time, the technology industry is on a hiring binge: Moody’s Analytics is forecasting that 138,000 technology jobs will be added between the fourth quarter of 2010 and the fourth quarter of this year.
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These factors are creating talent shortages not only in tech-centric areas such as Silicon Valley but also in states that aren’t obvious tech magnets, such as Arizona. “The recovery, which started in the big areas like Silicon Valley, has now spread to all of these other places,” says Alice Hill, managing director at Dice.
In its new research report, titled “America’s Tech Talent Crunch,” Dice identified the top 10 shortage states: California, New Jersey, Texas, New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, Washington, Connecticut, Virginia and Washington D.C.
Those “shortage states” overlap critical tech markets including Silicon Valley, Seattle, Dallas, Boston, Atlanta, New York, and the DC/Virginia/Baltimore region.
States with the largest shortages of talent are also among the states with the largest drops in new graduates – with some exceptions. In California, New York, Texas, Illinois, North Carolina, Maryland, Georgia, Colorado and Maine, the number of computer-related bachelors and associate degrees conferred dropped by more than 30% from 2005 to 2009, Dice.com reports. The declines are even more dramatic in New Jersey (51%), Connecticut (55%) and Arizona (68%).
The exceptions are Delaware, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, which today confer more computer-related bachelors and associates degrees than they did in 2005 – though only slightly.
As for the rest of the country, 32 states have more new college graduates with computer-related majors than they have open jobs, Dice found. The top states with a surplus of graduates are Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida.
Yet even in these areas there are positive hiring signs. Tech job openings are up 82% in Detroit and 22% in Pittsburgh in the last year. In Miami, the year-over-year job opening increase is 54% and in Jacksonville it’s 58%.
What exactly are hiring managers looking for? Nationwide, Dice identified the five most frequently requested tech skills. Oracle skills topped the list, followed by J2EE/Java; C, C++, C#; project management; and SQL skills.