DC area leads for IT job openings

The D.C. area has a history of being a broad-based tech hotbed, experts say. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/Prostock-Studio)

The D.C. metro area ranked No. 1 nationally for the number of information technology-related job openings in February and ranked No. 4 for the month-over-month increase in new postings, according to D.C.-based IT industry association CompTIA.

At the end of February, there were 16,135 IT-related job openings at D.C.-area companies, according to CompTIA data. That’s more than any other metro, including Silicon Valley, Austin and New York.

The IT profession is broad and varied in the D.C. region.

“We have the government sector here, which has always been a strong hirer of IT professionals,” said Todd Thibodeaux, CompTIA’s president and CEO. “You have a lot of companies in the Dulles Corridor area who are providing IT services. But the D.C. area has always just been a broad-based tech hotbed.”

The D.C. metro also ranked No. 1 last month for help-wanted ads for artificial intelligence positions and skills. There more than 1,000 such listings.

AI is rapidly moving from simple customer service bots and use on the factory floor to the office.

“We’ve seen robotics in factory settings and logistics, but this idea that you could take some of these AI tools and teach them to do some of the routine parts of some of even the most white collar jobs, whether they are in accounting or HR. That is an area that is going to grow, and I think people are going to become more familiar with that,” Thibodeaux said.

All those IT jobs, both here and in other tech hub cities, are getting filled. U.S. technology companies alone added 7,700 new employees last month, and IT occupations at all U.S. companies grew by 178,000, according to data released March 5 by the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Help-wanted ads for IT openings reached a 12-month high in February — 277,000 openings.

“Even though tech employment held up reasonably well during the turbulence of the past 12 months, many employers were in a wait-and-see hiring mode,” said Tim Herbert, executive vice president for research and market intelligence at CompTIA. “With three recent months of tech employment gains, we’re likely seeing that pent-up demand translate into new hires.”

Positions for software and applications developers accounted for the largest share of IT job openings. That was followed by systems engineers and architects, IT support, web developers and IT project managers.

The unemployment rate among IT professionals in February was 2.4%, compared to the 6.2% overall unemployment rate nationally.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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