[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ht4kjKJKpLg&w=560&h=349]

There’s more evidence that tech salaries are going up. This time it’s coming from IT staffing executives. They say that after two years of cuts and stagnation, pay's being driven up by demand for both contract and permanent IT staff. At the same time, some IT workers are leaving full-time, permanent positions to set themselves up as contractors. They want to take advantage of the growing number of contract opportunities out there, and they want to cash in on the pay premiums that contractors are demanding -- and getting -- nowadays. Siemens says it wants to become “the number one supplier of good-paying, high-tech jobs in America.” Its Building Technologies division is being particularly aggressive. The unit’s seen an increase in orders to retrofit and upgrade buildings with energy-efficient and automation solutions. It has more than 400 open positions in sales, engineering and field service. In particular, Field Service expects to add about 100 new technicians per year over the next 3-4 years -- both entry level and experienced. The company also needs help creating products and solutions related to the smart grid, from systems used in power generation and meters to monitoring, smart buildings and lighting. Let’s take a quick look at two big stories from last week: Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype and Google’s launch of its Chrome-based laptop, the Chromebook. The Skype acquisition has analysts wondering if Microsoft will (a) screw it up or (b) find smart ways to integrate Skype’s V-O-I-P service into everything from Xbox to Hotmail to Outlook. The deal was worth $8.5 billion to Skype, which is kind of, well, impressive. It’s seen as a preemptive move against the likes of Google and Facebook, who’d also put a high value on what Skype has to offer. Business aside, the aggressiveness, and sheer amount of dollars involved is a good sign for the tech economy. Then there’s the Chromebook, which has real potential to shake up IT, especially in business and education. The approach -- Google-apps-equipped notebooks for low subscription fees -- is bound to force a new look at deployment models and the corporate approach to the cloud. Security’s an issue, but if companies get on board, that may just mean more work for those of you who specialize in keeping data safe.