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Demand for High-Tech Jobs Exceeds Supply of Qualified Candidates

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RALEIGH — High-tech jobs are in, and people who can fill them are in the money. How does $60-80,000 a year plus a signing bonus sound?

The biggest names in the high-tech business are all right here in Research Triangle Park -- IBM, Nortel Networks, Ericsson and many of the upstart dot coms.

Armed with a Master's degree, Kenya Fulton is working the booths at a high-tech career fair waiting for the best offer.

Her goal is $60,000.

"It's very competitive around here," she says.

The law of supply and demand means tech companies like Raleigh-based MicroLegend have to make the offer sweet.

"We have to come up on money to meet demands. We have to play the fact that we are a small company and that we're growing rapidly and that we have a lot of opportunity," says company recruiter Stephen Adams.

But potential employees do not necessarily have to have a Master's degree to compete.

David Mantica says his company,Global Knowledge, can help students sweat their way through a condensed high-tech certification course.

"It's challenging," Mantica says. "They're going to have to work in order to get this type of course done at this speed. This is taking a two-year curriculum and moving into 4-6 weeks."

The 4- to 6-week course offered by the company is not free. Expect to pay anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000, depending on the course.

Online learning is another alternative. Free courses are available onFreeEdu.com.

The free courses earn students credit to take others that cost from $50-$100.

Tom Lawrence signed up for an A+ Certification course and found the interactive learning -- with questions every five pages -- helpful. Graphics keep concepts clear, and students can take a break and come back to continue.

There are courses in business skills, computing, technical subjects and more.

Another alternative is to learn the old-fashioned way: in a classroom.

Ben Wise just finished a 4-month tech program at Central Carolina Community College.

Wise says his prospects at the job fair are better than ever.

"It's looking a lot better, looking a whole lot better," he says. "There are people talking to me now that probably before they wouldn't have."

Check local community colleges to see what courses are offered in your area.


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