Prediction: Hot, and likely to get hotter. No, we're not talking about the weather (though it really sounds like Dallas, doesn't it?); what we're really talking about is the DFW job market.
Business expansions, and companies coming into our area for the very first time, resulted in about 100,000 new jobs last year. Right now we have 2½ available jobs for every 1000 residents—that's higher than most major cities in our country including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Atlanta, and New York City.
Any psychologist will happily tell you that human beings are risk takers. Given a choice between the status quo and a perceived advantage, we will make some effort to better ourselves.
In studying simian culture, we discovered that apes, gorillas, and chimps all strive for advantage over their peers. We even see active lies, misdirection, and deception to accomplish personal goals, proving that they are not simply human traits, but actually part of an intricate survival mechanism that ultimately benefits the whole group.
By the same token, we see instances of everything from group cooperation to accomplish difficult or complex tasks, to "Bad Boss" dominance of subordinates purely for self-aggrandizement. Anthropology, how human society works, has benefited greatly from the study of our hairy ancestors. It is wasteful to ignore what we have learned - especially when it comes to how it applies to technical jobs and how we can make or break a good working environment.
What it really takes
My favorite T-shirt reads: "Of course I don't look Busy… I did the job right the first time!" This is a distinction that a lot of people don't make. There is an immense difference between being busy and being productive at your Dallas IT job, and we need to stop fooling ourselves into believing they are one and the same.
There are few things more aggravating to a productive employee than being obliged to "look busy.” This is especially true when you have important work to do that might be better served by simply sitting quietly and thinking. Your time to pause and reflect is very important—you can be extremely productive just “thinking."
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: People do not quit companies; they quit bad managers and bad supervisors. When faced with criticisms like "You have so much potential. You could accomplish so much more if you weren't always sitting around doing nothing!"—particularly when your production is three times anybody else in your position—it drives you one step closer to the exit.
TLDR; For those holding or working towards a bachelor's or associate's degree, or a postsecondary vocational award, historical totals and logical extrapolations are shown for the decade between 2008 and 2018. These are the careers with the most openings for technical disciplines.
You may be familiar with the popular expression "If you could do it on your own, you would have done it already!" Whether it applies to debt repayment, weight loss, or smoking cessation, the whole idea of getting help with a demanding task is something that a good team player would embrace.
The top people in business, let alone IT, recognize that two people working together produce more than three people working individually. Synergy is a vitally important instrument in the IT toolbox, and people that are afraid to integrate with others are often a liability rather than an asset.
Onboarding and Orientation
A company goes to all the trouble of finding great employees, but then doesn't have a good process for getting them started. Within a month they are gone because they are feeling lost, unsupported, and confused. There must be a clearly defined path that makes sure that they're engaged and enthusiastic before they are released into the wild.
In truth, there are so many naturally occurring ways in which a situation can go sideways that it certainly doesn't need our help. For the most part we're focused on keeping things on track. However, every once in a while it seems like we make a special effort to sabotage ourselves.
We've all heard about the assorted teenagers that have tweeted thoughtless things about their jobs. A few of them have even made it to the mainstream media.
One young lady spoke of obtaining a job at a pizzeria and being faced with a long daily commute, and hating the work, despite the good paycheck. Another complained about how getting a job was going to "ruin her summer", and the place she was working was "colorfully described" as unpleasant.
In both cases the tweets were read by the employers that were following up on their "new hires". Neither gal got to work even one day at their new jobs.
But that's just Kids, you say…
If you find yourself in the southern end of the lower 48, especially if you're looking for a job in the technology staffing area, then Dallas is pretty much the place to be. Business is booming in D-town and IT staffing companies in Dallas are looking for you.
Mock Governor Rick Perry if you must, but the fact remains that his state of Texas still dominates the Top 10 List for best cities with good jobs (it has five, half of the total). Leading, as usual, is Dallas, which despite AMR's bankruptcy back in 2011 still managed to rack up more than 2% job growth last year and is looking at a 2.8% rate of growth from now through 2019.
Remember, while the rest of the country struggled with double digit unemployment rates during the 2008-2014 "economic rebalancing", Texas peaked at 8%, and is already back down to 6.2% while the rest of the country still hovers around 8% unemployment.
IT staffing companies in Dallas will be among the first to tell you that IT jobs are alive and well in the state of Texas. Demand is high and the supply is low. This is just about the best time to be in IT. These are the typical jobs and the salaries which they are currently drawing. It is such a good time to be a nerd or geek!
And the Race is On…
What are we going to see in 2016? More companies (and more recruiters) fighting for fewer and fewer highly-skilled people in IT. That doesn't mean just in the conventional technology sector; it also includes the healthcare sector, the finance sector, and everything else. It means manufacturing, marketing, produce farming, cattle breeding, chicken ranching, import/export, and anything that is touched in any way by a computer.