Main image of article In Seattle, It's All About Software Development

What's New This Quarter

T.J. Doton, Managing Director of recruiting firm Randstad Technologies in Seattle/Bellevue, has some good news: Overall unemployment in the region has hit its lowest level since August 2008 -- 4.7 percent, according to the Washington State Employment Security Department. Since IT has traditionally trended at nearly half of the overall rate, the tech sector is effectively at full employment. Some companies to watch: Local employment leader Amazon, which has won a $600 million contract from the CIA for its Amazon Web Services; Big Data startup SpaceCurve, which just raised $10 million; and Optimum Energy, which just completed a $12.2 million funding round. Meantime, aside from its recently announced reorganization, a tidbit from Microsoft: Jennie Locati, the former Director of Strategy and Business Management in the Xbox Studios division, raised eyebrows when she wrote that the software giant should implement voluntary layoffs with generous severance packages for as many as 20,000 to 30,000 people. That, she said, would release innovators to start their own companies – which Redmond could potentially acquire later. “20+ years of technical and industry leadership has stocked the pond at Microsoft chock FULL of incredible talent,” she notes, “But the pool is painfully overcrowded and few, if any, of those people truly get to flex their muscle or stretch to their potential.”

Skills in Demand

Local recruiters say they are seeing continued high demand for Software Developers (Java or .NET), Front-End Web Developers (JavaScript), User Interface Developers and Software Development Engineers in Test (SDETs). Desktop Support staff is also a perennial need.

Salary Trends

Seattle tech workers earned an average wage of $96,700 in 2009, or 82 percent more than the city’s average private sector wage, according to TechAmerica. Meanwhile, recruiter Robert Half Technology says 10 percent of the area’s technology executives expect to expand their teams during the third quarter, compared to 13 percent in the previous period. About 52 percent plan to fill open roles. In the same survey, 79 percent were optimistic about their prospects for growth in the third quarter, and 58 percent felt confident in their firms’ third-quarter investment in IT projects.

Leading Industries

  • Telecom
  • Aerospace
  • E-commerce
  • Software Development

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