Rise of Software Fuels Job Demand

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    Software was the bright spot among tech firms that reported to Wall Street last week.

    IBM, for instance, reported software sales of $6.4 billion, an increase of 4 percent over the same period last year. Its services business, however, declined 5 percent to revenue of $9.5 billion. Microsoft took a $900 million charge on unsold inventories of its Surface RT tablets. But its business division, which includes Office, increased revenue by 14 percent, reports Network World.

    Forrester, meanwhile, reduced its projections for global IT spending to 2.3 percent, measured in U.S. dollars, from the January estimate of 3.3 percent. A slowing in IT spending poses the potential for more job cuts, according to global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

     “The uptick in tech job cuts we saw in the first half of the year appeared to be due primarily to shifting trends in the computer and information technology industries, which are making it necessary for companies to alter business strategies, streamline operations and restructure their organizations,” said John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

    It reported tech job cuts were at the highest level in a year, though it noted that those experienced in data analytics, cloud computing, systems architecture, information security, and software engineering remain in high demand.

    Indeed, software engineering was the only field in an IEEE-USA report that has recovered to pre-recession levels. It found that software developer jobs grew to 1.1 million from 745,000 between 2001 and 2012, while employment among electrical engineers dropped from 385,000 in 2001 to 335,000 in 2012, reports Computerworld.

    Neil Ruiz, a senior policy analyst at Brookings Institution, points to a more software-focused economy, while other analysts quoted in that article are concerned that the decline in electrical engineering jobs – which are more closely tied to manufacturing – is further evidence of U.S. decline in innovation.

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