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Are Handhelds A Helpful Link To The Office Or Noose Around The Neck?

A new survey shows that 38% of IT professionals say they're working round the clock because their BlackBerry devices and smartphones keep them tied to the office.
While BlackBerry and other handheld devices are keeping IT professionals connected to the office, is that connection becoming more of a noose than a link?

Handheld devices are increasingly creating a "work-everywhere" environment, where it's more difficult for professionals to let go of work needs during what should be their own personal time, according to a new survey from Dice, an online career site for technology professionals.

A Dice poll showed that 38% said they are "doing work-related tasks all the time." Another 26% said they have set boundaries dividing work and personal time. They were not, however, asked if those boundaries are strong enough to hold up under work pressures.

The survey also showed that 23% said PDAs, such as the Palm Treo, smartphones, and BlackBerry devices actually help them juggle work and family life. And only 13% said the devices hardly impact their lives one way or another.

The monthly Dice report also listed the tech jobs that are in the most demand, and the results are strikingly similar to last month's report.

As of May 1, when it comes to operating systems, most of the ads on Dice were looking for professionals with experience in Windows (16,573) and Unix (14,870). Those numbers are only slightly higher than last month when in Windows drew in 16,445 ads and Unix drew in 14,822.

As for databases, there were 17,354 ads for people with Oracle skills and 14,880 for people with SQL skills. And for programmers, there were 13,690 ads looking for Java programmers and 11,862 ads for C and C++ programmers.

Employers also are looking for nearly double the number of permanent workers compared with contract workers. The Dice report showed that there were 66,776 ads for full-time, permanent workers and 37,487 for contract workers.

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Mary E. Shacklett, President of Transworld Data
James M. Connolly, Contributing Editor and Writer