An adaptive key board like this one can be helpful for persons with low vision. And if you’re the kind of person with the skill set to develop high-end technology like this, now is a great time to job hunt.
Photo: For the AJC
Photo: For the AJC

Atlanta tech jobs: some skills in high demand. (Good pay, too).

It is a time for technology – at least for people with the right skills. 

In the midst of a generally improving economy, steady hiring and modest pay increases, technology seems to be leading the pack with solid boosts to pay and a sometimes urgent search to find the more valuable and rare abilities.

“I certainly think the economy has improved significantly in the last five years,” said Andy Hutsell, Atlanta-based area recruiting director at Randstad Technologies, who handles the Atlanta Market and south Florida. “But it’s more than that. Tech just plays a bigger role in people’s lives and that is only going to keep increasing.”

Demand has picked up partly because technology has been seeping into pretty much all industries.

“Most companies are hiring tech people, including those are who are traditionally in the tech business or not,” Hutsell said. “Everybody has people in technology now.”

Software developers are in demand, especially for the “cloud” and for mobile uses, he said.

Much of the work is meant to stay ahead of the curve, to avoid getting beaten by competitor with more advanced offerings, Hutsell said. “Is there a company that is innovation-proof? Tell me who they are.” 

But network security is hot, too, since a data breach or other hacking can be costly or even fatal to a business. So companies need network engineers, as well as “penetration testers” and “ethical hackers,” who can probe a network for vulnerabilities. 

Last month, there were nearly 5,000 job openings in technology, according to the Technology Association of Georgia

The top skills were software developers with expertise in programming languages like SQL, Java, Linus and Python, TAG reported in its monthly job note. “This continues to be a trend as code- and data-intensive fields like artificial intelligence take off.” 

SQL, for example, saw a 40 percent jump in openings from a year ago, TAG said.

Pay has been rising in the search for the hard-to-find skills, Hutsell said. “With higher demand comes a higher price tag.”

A senior network engineer who specializes in security can command up to $130,000, he said. “Five years ago, maybe that would have been $15,000 less.”

The jobless rate in metro Atlanta dropped last month to a nine-year low of 4.6 percent, typically a sign that the market is tight and that wages should be rising.

And they have been, although the overall boost has been modest: the median pay here is 2.3 percent higher than a year ago, according to Glassdoor, a California-based, research firm. Atlanta’s median pay is slightly higher than the national median: $52,754 in Atlanta, compared to $51,350 across the country.

However, the median pay for all software engineers was up 3.4 percent to $84,842, Glassdoor reported. A web developer’s median pay is $74,224. The median base pay for a java developer is $77,148. A data scientist’s median base pay is $94,337, according to Glassdoor. 

Because of Georgia Tech and programs at other schools, Atlanta does have many top-notch techies. But there are various programs and technical schools that offer an opportunity to learn the new skills quickly, Hutsell said. “Some of the brightest and sharpest and best hires don’t have a pedigree. You can do an about-face into a new career.”

In other job news:

Big salaries could be waiting for the largest generation in the American workforce.

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