Are There Really 400,00 Tech Jobs Out There?Anne Fisher, who serves as a sort of career-related Dear Abby at Fortune, recently fielded a question from a parent worried about the job prospects for his college grad son, who has a degree in computer science.

On the one hand, we keep hearing about layoffs and outsourcing, but on the other hand, everything runs on computers now, so surely there must be some good tech jobs in this country, especially at the (relatively cheap) entry level.

Fisher's response:

Funny you should ask. CompTIA, the biggest trade association for IT folks and their employers, recently launched a new recruiting campaign aimed at filling an estimated 400,000 tech job openings.

She goes on to interview CompTIA chief Todd Thibodeaux and a handful of recruiters, one of whom tells her, "I've had jobs go unfilled for weeks or months because people with the right combinations of skills just aren't available." Says Fisher: "Even people with years of tech experience may find they need to upgrade their certifications and venture into new territory in order to retool their careers in today's job market."

She also references Dice's own list of skill sets most in demand among employers these days:

  • Security. Employers often want to hire people who have earned the CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) designation (see
  • Virtualization. The term refers to the practice of running multiple servers on a single piece of hardware, increasing efficiency and conserving energy.
  • Java EE. Sun Microsystems' Java and its enterprise edition, until recently called J2EE, are the industry standards for developing online applications.
  • SAP. Most employers prefer candidates who have direct on-the-job experience with SAP.
  • .NET. Microsoft has a variety of certifications, but "the most bang for the buck comes from the Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD)" designation, which covers Microsoft Visual Studio and the Microsoft .NET framework.

--Don Willmott