Will your IT job survive the meltdown?

Fearful tech workers tiptoeing along the shaky alleys of Wall Street — and fretting about losing their jobs — should take a deep breath.

For now, IT budgets appear to be holding their own in 2008 despite the economic downturn, according to a recent worldwide IT budget update survey.

Of the more than 100,000 job losses expected as a direct result of the financial crisis, only a tiny slice will likely be from the tech ranks, figures Sean O’Dowd, an analyst at market researcher Financial Insights. As with any market consolidation, finance companies “will look for redundancies and overlap,” O’Dowd says.

For IT, that means management, not programmers, admins, and other line staff. “I think [layoffs] will come out of the IT management layer such as CIOs, so you’re looking at hundreds [of layoffs], not necessarily thousands. Companies will continue to need a lot of the rank-and-file IT folks.”

Greg Carr, CEO of consultancy McGat Enterprises and an IT finance veteran who now runs a Web site that helps IT finance professionals manage technology costs, says he recently talked to his 16 IT management-level advisors from Unisys, Wells Fargo, Deutsche Bank, and other firms, “and they are all nervous. … My friend at EDS is looking for cover right now.”

Although Wall Street firms’ general pool of tech employees may be relatively safe for the moment, the tech vendors who supply them will see job cuts as their revenues fall. And over time, there’ll be a glut on the scale of the dot-com bust of IT finance pros looking for work, predicts John Estes, vice president of staffing firm Robert Half Technology.

“We’re advising our IT candidates, especially the ones really freaked out by this, to dust off their r

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