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Note: This article was originally published before the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. Despite January and February being strong employment months in the technology market, this article has been slightly revised to better reflect market conditions in March.

As a recruiting team lead at Triple Crown Consulting, the senior hardware and software engineers I work with are always asking me about the market. They want to know what the demand is for their skill set, how busy the tech market is in general, and if there is a lot of activity where they are located. In short, they want to know who’s hiring, what they’re hiring for, and where.

At the time of writing, here is a snapshot of what’s open and active

  • ASIC Verification : 20 Openings
  • Firmware Development : 10 Openings
  • Windows (C++ or C#) : 8 Openings
  • PCB Layout : 5 Openings

But there continues to be a serious supply and demand misalignment; that is, there are more open tech positions than there are available candidates. This continues to be the case as some industries ramp up their hiring in response to the coronavirus pandemic. In some areas of the country, the tech unemployment rate is under two percent. In other areas, it’s projected to be as low as less than one percent. This means that most tech professionals, especially senior-level tech consultants, have multiple opportunities and job offers they are considering at any given time.

In my role, speed continues to be of the essence. Contracting engineers are either actively interviewing or balancing job offers to decide what they will do next. Sometimes it’s as simple as which company can get a job offer into a candidate’s hands first. Other times, consultants want to weigh out their options a little more diligently. Last year we wrote about what engineers want in a contracting opportunity, and a lot of it still rings true. Contractors are balancing location, with opportunity, with compensation, and timing.

2019: A Groundbreaking Year

Triple Crown has been breaking records in the sheer number of positions we are filling for our clients each day. For those contracting engineers who are overwhelmed by all the opportunities they are being flooded with, we focus on the relationship we have with them and with our clients to create a great match. It has been my experience that this is when the seemingly small things matter the most, and why it’s important to know both parties well.

A tip for contracting engineers in 2020: Partner with a good recruiter and focus on building a relationship with them. He or she will be your tour guide throughout the year and can point you in the right direction while actively sharing positions you should be considering. Undoubtedly, a good recruiter partnership could be one of the most formidable relationships of your career, this year and beyond.

Where There’s Demand

Digital design and verification continue to be two of the biggest areas of demand for our clients. Not only do these positions have the most openings and the highest pay rates in engineering, but the candidates are also some of the hardest to find. If you possess these skills, I encourage you to submit your resume with us. And if you have a friend or colleague who has these skills, please encourage him or her to submit their resume as well.
At the time of writing : key areas areas of the country for engineering opportunities are:

  • West Coast: Washington state and California (north and south)
  • Central Region: Colorado and Texas
  • East Coast: Massachusetts and the Washington DC area

For more market intel, including popular cities hiring senior-level hardware and software engineers, check out this article with a recap of the demand we saw throughout 2019. For the most part we are still seeing trends as far as which skills and locations employers are hiring for, as we start out 2020.

Recapping the Recap

Since demand and rates for senior-level hardware and software engineers are generally high across the board, contractors are being motivated by an array of additional factors, not just money. They are motivated by new and exciting technology at innovative companies and they are exceedingly motivated by the location of the positions they are considering, like ones that are close to home or that offer a flexible work schedule or the option to work remotely.

The market continues to react to the global coronavirus outbreak, but certain industries and skills are showing resiliency despite mounting uncertainty – technology engineering being one of them.