Software development and data processing continue to be the hottest areas for hiring in information technology, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to the BLS, the U.S. IT sector employment expanded by 4,600 new jobs in February, with four of five employment categories recording modest growth. Those categories were IT services and custom software development; data processing and hosting; computer and electronics manufacturing; and other IT services, including search portals.

Despite those gains, however, the latest jobs report is only slightly good news for the IT sector. For one thing, job gains were offset by another rough month for workers in telecommunications, according to analysis of the BLS “Employment Situation” report by CompTIA, the leading technology industry association.

More importantly, “In the context of the entire economy, which added a robust 313,000 jobs in February, the IT sector employment data could be seen as lukewarm,” said Tim Herbert, senior vice president, research and market intelligence, CompTIA. “But several indicators remain positive, including job gains in technology positions in industries ranging from healthcare to finance, and manufacturing to information; and two consecutive months of increases in job postings for new IT hiring.”

IT sector employment categories recording job gains last month included:

  • IT services and custom software (+ 3,100)
  • Data processing, hosting and related services (+2,300)
  • Computer and electronics manufacturing (+1,100)
  • Other information services, including search portals (+700)

Employment in telecommunications declined by 2,600 jobs in February; and is down an estimated 10,500 positions through the first two months of 2018.
For the second consecutive month, job postings for IT occupations increased in February. Topping the list of in-demand jobs sought by employers are:

  • Software and applications developers
  • Computer systems engineers and architects
  • Computer systems analysts
  • Computer user support specialists
  • IT project managers.

Overall, IT occupations across the economy grew by an estimated net 71,000 new positions in February. Sizable jobs gains in IT occupations have occurred in three of the last four months. On a cautionary note, there tends to be a higher degree of variance with monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics data at the occupation level, so these figures should be viewed as directional, Herbert said.