California is Hiring, SMB Budgets are Rising, and Upcoming Tech Events

Good news about California’s IT rebound keeps coming, and it’s helping to fuel an increase in state employment, as well. Among the latest stats: California added nearly 100,000 new jobs in February, and the state’s unemployment rate dropped to 12.2 percent from 12.4 percent in January. In part, that was all led by a hiring surge in high tech, says the California Economic Development Department. Many Silicon Valley tech firms are following in Google’s big shadow and scrambling to find tech professionals in all categories.

Roundup: California Hiring, SMB Tech Budgets RisingThe Spiceworks State of SMB IT technology survey finds that IT budgets for small and medium-sized businesses are on the upswing, and so is hiring. Nearly one in three SMBs plan to hire IT staff — the largest increase in the past 18 months. Small companies (fewer than 20 employees) remain most confident, with 33 percent planning to increase IT staff. Small business is also looking at cloud technology. Cloud services are now used by 28 percent of SMBs, a 100 percent growth rate from mid-year 2010. By mid-2011, cloud usage among SMBs is expected to rise to 42 percent. Virtualization is now commonplace, with 54 percent currently using virtualization and another 20 percent planning to use it in the next few months.

But is technology starting to render some IT pros expendable? In a survey conducted by the Association for Computer Operations Management (AFCOM), a data center managers group, 37 percent of the 360 IT managers polled said they reduced their data center staffs over the past three years. Twenty nine percent kept their staffing levels the same. The balance, nearly 35 percent, increased staff. At the same time, three quarters of data centers increased the number of servers they hold. The bottom line? Two thirds of the data centers covered in the survey are managing more systems with the same number of people or fewer. Additonally, in October 2009, only 14 percent of data centers had implemented any form of cloud computing. Today it’s 36 percent.

Some of those businesses may turn to Cisco, which is launching an IT version of an app store to as it focuses more on cloud-based offerings. Cisco says it will offer “a simple and easy-to-use storefront for IT professionals” to buy and set up Web-based services quickly, including products from Cisco and other vendors.

One big company doing some serious hiring right now is Siemens. The tech giant will hire 1,000 people for its Charlotte, N.C. plant. While some will be highly skilled machinists, others will be engineers capable of designing and operating the most advanced computerized manufacturing equipment. “I think there was somewhat of a pent-up pool of folks looking for a job. As soon as we started hiring, we had this initial rush,” says the hiring manager. “And so the question is, can we maintain that over a year-long period? That’s one of the things that is yet to be seen and we hope to be able to sustain.”

Finally, Kansas City may become yet another high-tech hub now that Google will build an experimental super-high-speed data network there. Next year it will bring gigabit-speed data — about 100 times faster than most Americans now have — to homes and offices. That should make the city an intriguing experimental center for next generation Internet apps and services. Among those not pleased by the announcement: the citizens of Topeka, who renamed their city “Google” for a day last year in order to attract its attention.

Upcoming Tech Events

IBM Impact 2011 Global Conference

April 10-15—Las Vegas

This conference brings together more than 6,600 technology and business leaders at a single event for a transformative learning opportunity. At Impact, create a roadmap to achieve business objectives through technology. IT professionals can master the latest BPM, SOA and Cloud solutions and obtain certifications. Business professionals can sharpen leadership skills and learn best practices for overcoming complexity with increased agility.

O’Reilly MySQL Conference & Expo

April 11-14—Santa Clara, California.

The conference is devoted to the latest developments on MySQL and related technologies to the global open source community. According to Market Research Media’s latest NoSQL market study, the worldwide NoSQL market will generate $5.6 Billion revenues over the period 2011 – 2015. This is the place to be.

Mobile Connections Conference

April 17-21—Las Vegas

This is a first of its kind technology event providing technical cross-platform knowledge for mobile developers. Attendees will gain understanding on how to leverage cloud based services, how to market and sell apps, app security solutions and the latest market predictions. Developers will be able to network with peers, IT professionals, carriers and a wide range of mobile infrastructure, product and service vendors.

The Experts Conference (TEC) 2011

April 17-20—Las Vegas

TEC 2011 for Exchange offers deep instruction on Microsoft’s Exchange Server messaging platform, a low ratio of attendees to speakers that results in intimate and interactive sessions, and no product demos or sales ads during presentations. Meet a wide variety of industry experts too.