Hiring in information technology has fared well in recent years, despite the economic downturn, but has perked up even more this year, local tech-industry leaders say.
“I don’t think [hiring] has been weak in tech for while, but it definitely seems much more intense right now,” said Jack Templin, co-founder of Providence Geeks, RI Nexus and ThoughtCap, his own small consulting firm.
Echoing this thought is James Wright, partner of Bridge Technical Solutions, a West Greenwich-based IT-recruiting firm.
“We’ve seen a noticeable increase [in IT hiring] and it really started in the spring of this year,” he said, noting that the increase is in “pockets” and not across the board. Wright estimates that he has seen placements in his own business grow 50 percent from the spring.
Wright, who spent 13 years in the IT-staffing industry in Silicon Valley before moving to Rhode Island, says he’s most cheered by the return of quality-assurance jobs.
“QA is oftentimes, unfortunately, the first thing to go in a bad economy and is often the last thing to come back,” he said, adding: “We’ve seen a big pick-up in quality-assurance activity; going from an 18-month period where you practically never heard of it to a constant state of having QA jobs open. Let me tell you it is very encouraging, having gone through these kinds of cycles before, to see these kinds of jobs coming back.”
According to analysis of local and federal data by the R.I. Economic Development Corporation, the information technology and digital media sector is slated to grow 68 percent by 2012, making it the fastest-growing sector in the United States.
In Rhode Island, the sector accounts for just under 16,000 jobs and more than $1 billion in wages, the EDC said.
Avid Technical Resources, a Boston-based firm, felt so encouraged by the IT possibilities in Providence they recently announced the opening of a branch at Weybosset Street.
Scott Hardy, business-development manager, has been “tackling” the Providence market for the past five years, working to fill developer needs at companies like Hasbro Inc. and Gilbane Construction Co. Avid already has sales in excess of $2 million in Rhode Island and expects to grow to between $3 million to $5 million within three years.