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About 400,000 IT jobs are unfilled in the United States
today, even as the unemployment rate remains at over 9 percent. Where’s the
disconnect?

CompTIA president Todd Thibodeaux told Channel Insider that
much of the problem boils down to geography. Hot markets such as New York and
Silicon Valley can’t fill all the job openings they have. Meanwhile, other
geographic areas have unemployed workers looking for jobs and those people can’t
necessarily pick up and move.

In boom years, employers sometimes would pick up the cost of
moving, selling a house and buying a new house to lure an employee to a new
location. But years of tough economic conditions together with a housing market
that has many homeowners under water has changed all that.

Thibodeaux told Channel Insider that the top markets for IT
jobs right now are New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Washington DC and San
Francisco. A great deal of those are entry level jobs, and that is always the
than jobs for experienced IT professionals. But certain skill sets are
commanding premium pay such as cybersecurity experts, mobility experts and
systems integrators who can make one cloud application work well with another,
he said.

To help address the issue of unemployment, CompTIA announced
a new initiative, The Global IT Workforce Council, that calls for a new council
made up of CompTIA member companies and other IT leaders; members of the
academic, education and training communities and government advocates
interested in developing new waves of IT workers.

The idea is to address the coming shortage of IT workers
that will hit in about 10 years when baby boomers retire.

"Although many individuals and organizations are
addressing the workforce issue, these efforts are narrowly-focused on
immediate, short-term needs,” Thibodeaux said in his keynote address at the
CompTIA Breakaway conference in Washington DC this week.  “The council will take the best of these
individual efforts and turn them into a broader, more unified strategy that
extends beyond a single corporate boardroom or national border."

For those displaced IT workers today, Thibodeaux told
Channel Insider that there’s one thing they can do to improve their chances of
landing work – networking. Networking is not often a comfort area for
engineers, but it’s essential to help them get ahead.

Thibodeaux especially recommended doing informational
interviews. Get hiring managers on the phone for just 15 minutes to find out
what skills they will be looking for in their next IT hire. That kind of
networking and research can put you ahead as a candidate.