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Rare Internet Openings Lurk Below the Surface

Internet jobs are so scarce now that when the rare position does open, hiring managers are loath to advertise, fearing the deluge of resumes that would swamp their in-boxes. This makes job hunting all the more difficult for unemployed Web professionals. And it makes networking an even more critical part of their search.

While legions of dot-commers have abandoned Internet careers, large numbers of 50- to 60-year-old professionals who have postponed retirement are adding to the oversupply of talent. Given shrinking retirement nesteggs, many are moving down the ladder to secure a steady -- if lower -- paycheck. These "overqualified" professionals are helping to cross-train less-experienced co-workers and boost productivity, according to a recent information-technology industry report Inc. , a management-consulting firm in Park City, Utah.

Technical Skills in Demand

"Traditional" corporations also seek senior executives with e-commerce, database-management and networking skills to automate business processes and collaborate with customers and suppliers. Such skills are still relatively scarce, says Maria Schafer, program director of human-capital management at META Group Inc. , a Stamford, Conn. -based technology-research firm. Managers of Internet systems at large companies are projected to earn total annual compensation of between $66,000 and $93,400 in 2003, according to the Janco report.

As companies prepare for the next wave of new wireless technology, demand is high for voice and wireless-communication and Object programmers. These positions are expected to be upgraded to the mid and senior level in many employers. And while pay in the IT industry generally has been flat or decreased in recent years, it's projected to increase for these jobs, says Victor Janulaitis, CEO of Janco Associates. Annual base salaries for Internet programmers who work in Object or Visual languages are expected to jump to a median $75,518 in 2003 from a median $65,660 in 2002, according to Janco. The median annual base salary for wireless-Internet developrs is expected to increase $55,274 in 2003 from $48,650 in 2002.

The median annual base salary of Webmasters is expected to rise to $63,000 in 2003 from $59,000 in 2002, according to Janco. Webmasters are responsible primarily for the overall technical management of a Web property, but some now also are doing the work of Web analysts, who design and code HTML and Java systems. "Webmasters today are likely to be people with senior-level experience, who have been in the business at least five to 10 years," Mr. Janulaitis says. Meanwhile, the median annual base salary for Web analysts is expected to decline to $60,507 this year from $64,802 last year.

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