Microsoft .Net skills in demand, job site reports

Many IT pros in the past have shied away from specializing in .Net application development, out of fear of choosing too narrow a specialty and limiting future job opportunities. Now that it's clear the Microsoft development platform is sticking around, there's a shortage of .Net talent in every area of the U.S., according to Dice.com.

The IT jobs site says companies have posted more than 10,000 positions requesting .Net experience -- a 25% increase compared to last year's .Net job count.

OPPORTUNITIES: 5 surprising IT skills that hiring managers want now

In addition to not wanting to be pigeonholed, money is another reason technology workers have avoided .Net development, according to Alice Hill, managing director at Dice.com. Tech professionals who regularly develop for .Net earn about $83,000 a year, while those specializing in Java earn more than $91,000, Dice.com estimates. (See what top CIOs make)

But with demand for .Net developers now outstripping supply, wages will adjust and salaries will improve, Hill says.

.Net, which Dice describes as "the technology developers love to hate," could be an accessible entry point for novices who are looking to break into the tech industry. The current skills shortage presents an opportunity for mid-career IT pros, too, because .Net is a relatively straightforward framework to learn, Dice.com suggests.

Based on recent searches of the Dice resume database, hiring managers and recruiters are most often looking for mid-career talent. Nearly half (46%) of database searches for .Net developers are for people with four to seven years of experience. But newcomers aren't excluded: 27% of searches are for people with less than three years of .Net experience. At the high level, 21% of searches seek eight to 10 years of .Net experience, and 6% want more than 10 years of experience.

"The bottom line? Companies are looking for .Net talent and targeted talent featuring C# and .Net will not get lost in the shuffle. But negotiate hard at the outset of a new job, because that initial salary may set the base for the next three years," Hill concludes in Dice.com's report. 

Dice.com currently lists 83,567 available tech jobs.

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