It's NOT the end of the world for tech jobs in the U.S.A. guys! New fields are developing like biotech, nanotech, security, defense etc. enjoy ============================================== New Tech Products Mean New Tech Jobs BY BRIAN DEAGON INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY Tech companies are innovating again. That means new jobs at the cutting edge of development. About 13,000 jobs for computer system designers were filled from September through November, reversing almost three years of declines in that category, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those new hires suggest that companies are again planning for the future, says Mat Johnson, an economist at Quantit Corp. "These are electrical engineers, software designers, people who do the really tricky stuff, like getting everything to work on things like motherboards," said Johnson. "It suggests that corporations are coming back to the store, looking to buy, and tech firms are reacting to that. We see strength in hiring for those jobs that bring on new products," he added. The positions tech employers want to fill now are different from what they were a few years ago. For instance, biomechanical engineers and specialists in security and wireless applications are in demand today. Managers Hired First Analysts say tech employers today seek workers who are well-educated in math and science, but they also want them to have intangible skills, such as an ability to work well in teams. And high paying industries, including tech, are hiring more managers and executives, says Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Recovering firms typically add higher salaried managers and executives first to lead their expansion. In December, using BLS data, Challenger said 300,000 managers and executives were hired. "We have seen the bottom of this trough and now are beginning to climb out of it," said Douglas Shook, a professor at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business."Many studies show restaffing among higher-level (information technology) positions is expected. This bodes well for MBAs planning to go into IT-related fields." The pace of tech jobs lost has been slowing since the unemployment level peaked at 8.6% last February, suggesting a full-fledged recovery in tech jobs may be near. Still, the 13,000 new engineering jobs didn't offset other tech jobs lost during the same period. Overall, the tech industry has been losing jobs since the peak of employment in early 2001. Unemployment in the tech industry rose 3.9%, to 4.1 million in November. About 600,000 jobs have been lost since early 2000. But the current increase in business spending on technology ended a long drought. An average of various research firms' data shows that spending is expected to rise 7% this year from last. U.S. employers added just 1,000 people to payrolls in December, way below expectations for a gain of 150,000 jobs. But in certain areas, the future looks bright. "I continue to see strength in hiring for jobs that bring on new products," said Johnson. A rebound in tech hiring would be a big plus for the U.S. economy. Information technology-producing industries account for just 8% of the U.S. economy but one-third of economic growth. Erica Groshen, an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, says structural changes in the economy explain why, even though the recession ended more than two years ago, job growth has been slow to recover. Many of the jobs lost in the past few years are gone forever. It's similar to what happened in past decades with jobs in railroads, farming and apparel. "We are seeing the maturing of industries that we thought of as being innovative," she said. "But they no longer are, and that's why a lot of these jobs have been transferred overseas. A lot of tech jobs are much more easily defined and can be monitored from abroad." What's needed to get growth in tech jobs back on a faster track is more innovation. "We just need to get on to the next big thing. There is always something new out there," said Groshen. A recent poll of electrical and electronic engineers â the people who design new products â predicts demand will grow for skilled professionals in wireless and optical communications, information theory, security applications and sensors. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc., the largest organization of engineers and computer scientists, sponsored the survey. As to what fields look the most promising long term, engineers overwhelmingly said biomechanical engineering. This includes the development of artificial organs and bioinstruments such as sensors and other gear that's used to solve problems in biology and medicine. The field also includes bioinformatics, which uses IT to analyze biological data. Second on the list was nanotechnology, megacomputing and robotics. Research in the field of energy received a special mention among respondents as well. More than half believed job prospects for engineers will be up in 2004. "If you have degrees in these areas and are willing to be flexible, there is a lot of demand," said Susan Hassler, editor of IEEE Spectrum, engineering's flagship publication. Hassler said the changing nature of today's work environment requires a willingness to relocate and retrain as necessary. Looking at the fastest growing occupations, there's good news for tech. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that eight of the 10 fastest growing occupations between 2000 and 2010 will be in technology. The top three are application software engineers, computer support specialists and computer systems engineers, followed by network support specialists, desktop publishers and database administrators. Security Is No. 1 "We are seeing strong demand in electromedical equipment, and also in defense electronics," said Michaela Platzer, a vice president at the American Electronics Association. Outplacement firm Challenger, in its listing of the hottest jobs in 2004, placed information security specialists at the top. Demand for these jobs has been up since 9-11. At No. 8 was IT consultant. The need for more workers with math and science skills shows up in the latest annual survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. In a survey of 1,077 of its members, employers said the most desired degrees are in mechanical and electrical engineering. They are perennial favorites, as are degrees in accounting, business administration and economics and finance. Other degrees named in the top 10 were computer sciences, information systems management, marketing, information sciences and computer engineering. Camille Luckenbaugh, research director, said degrees in health care are also in demand. USC's Shook said many online job search sites are reporting "significant increases in the number of firms that are planning to add jobs." He added, "Although lower level IT jobs will continue to bleed overseas, MBA-level jobs and jobs that require business degrees and knowledge of business operations will increase."