By WRAL Tech Wire

RALEIGH, N.C. – It’s a great start to 2011 for IT workers in North Carolina, according to the North Carolina Technology Association’s (NCTA) IT Workforce Market Analysis and Job Trends Report for January.

After a healthy expansion of job opportunities in 2010, employers in the state added another 5.9 percent job openings requiring technology specialists last month. There was increased demand from employers in defense, financial services, and IT services. Requirements in HitTech firms lost some volume in January.

“After holding steady in the fourth quarter of 2010, the trend in IT job openings has headed upward in January as we hoped,” said Brooks Raiford, CEO of NCTA.

Job market development in Charlotte metro area (up 17 percent) and the Raleigh metro area (down 7.4 percent) canceled each other out. The IT job market in Charlotte is about half the size of the Raleigh market.

According to the report, the top opening estimate by category saw 1,250 jobs for systems engineers and support. The top needed skill for all IT job openings was for Windows OS.

The IT Workforce Market Analysis was prepared by TEKsystems and reflects North Carolina’s actual employment in the IT sector (including regional and local information). The IT Job Trends report is prepared for NCTA by SkillPROOF.

This February report reflects IT job figures through January 2011. The national average grew 2.2 percent in January.

Read the full report here.

Get the latest news alerts: Follow WRAL Tech Wire at Twitter.