Where the IT Professionals Are Calling Home

The San Francisco metropolitan area has surpassed Seattle/Tacoma as the U.S. region with the highest IT IQ, according to a report from Brainbench that details the concentrations of certified IT professionals in 10 IT skills areas.

The Brainbench Global IT IQ Report examines the number of certified technology professionals in a number of key IT skills. For the U.S. portion of the report, Brainbench mined its database of almost 5 million tests and certifications in ten skills areas: Active Server Pages, C, C++, Computer Technical Support, HTML 3.2, HTML 4.0, Java 1, Java 2, Javascript and Network Technical Support. The total number of all certified professionals was calculated for more than 200 metropolitan statistical areas within the United States and ranked according to the total number of certifications received.

New additions to this year’s list of the top 10 tech-savvy metro areas include New York/New Jersey/Connecticut (No. 2), Washington/Baltimore (No. 3) and Denver/Boulder (No. 10). The rest of the list includes Chicago/Gary/Lake County, IL (No. 4); Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX (No. 5); Los Angeles/Anaheim/Riverside (No. 6); Atlanta (No. 7); Detroit/Ann Arbor (No. 8); and Denver/Boulder (No. 10). Seattle/Tacoma fell from the top spot to No. 9.

Metropolitan areas dropping off this year’s list include Raleigh/Durham; Minneapolis/St. Paul; Milwaukee/Racine; Greensboro/Winston-Salem/Highpoint; St. Louis; Austin; Dayton/Springfield and Las Vegas.

The Brainbench report also examined the distribution of IT skills around the world. Not surprisingly, it found strong technology skills base in India, and that Brazil, Australia, Romania, Israel and South Africa have become regional leaders.

India is the clear leader in South Asia and is second in the world with more than 145,000 IT certifications awarded. Pakistan is a distant second in the region, with just over 8,000 certifications earned, followed by Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

Israel leads the Middle East, but the United Arab Emirates ranks second with almost 1,500 certified professionals. Yemen ranks dead last in the region for 2001, while Iran has more than 500 certifications in the same period, placing it No. 6 in the region.

Brazil leads South America in the number of certified IT professionals, and despite its economic woes, Argentina is a strong No. 2. Venezuela and Colombia are in a virtual tie for third place. Cuba is No. 4.

In Europe, Romania is the frontrunner, followed by Britain. Bulgaria, which had been known as a major fruit and vegetable exporter, places third, while Germany, Latvia and Sweden are in a virtual dead heat for fourth place. In the former Soviet Union, the Russion Federation has the highest number of certified professionals, followed by the Ukraine.

Australia ranks first in the Asia-Pacific region. Indonesia, the Philippine and Singapore are rapidly developing a critical mass of IT professionals. Vietnam is another country to watch – it now boasts more certifications than China.

South Africa leads Africa in the number of certified IT professionals with more than 2,600 in 2001. Nigeria is a distant second with 405 certifications last year.

Despite finishing in a tie for fourth for the number of certified IT professionals in Europe, Sweden has been rated as the world’s leading information economy, according to the 2002 IDC/World Times Information Society Index (ISI).

The ISI index ranked Sweden as the No. 1 country with the strongest position to take full advantage of the Information Revolution with its advanced information, computer, Internet and social infrastructures.

Sweden has the highest percentage of mobile phone use in Europe, and Scandinavians are the most active Internet shoppers, according to the Nielsen//NetRatings. Sweden also has the cheapest broadband service and highest broadband penetration. Sweden is also a leader in Europe in e-government service.

The top 10 countries according to the ISI are: Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, the United States, Denmark, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Finland, Australia and Taiwan.

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