Java developers remain the most difficult tech pros to land, followed by mobile developers, .NET developers and software developers, according to a recent survey.

Hiring managers and recruiters cite these positions two- or three-times more frequently than other skill sets in the employment marketplace, according to Alice Hill, managing director at Dice.com, which conducted the study in the US.

The IT jobs site polled 866 tech-focused hiring managers and recruiters to come up with its list of hard-to-fill positions. Rounding out the top 10 list are candidates with skills related to: security, SAP, SharePoint, web development, active federal security clearance, and network engineering.

In general, companies are looking for candidates with at least a few years of experience.

"Asked for experience preference, corporate hiring managers most frequently say IT pros with two to five years in the workforce, followed by those with six to 10 years of experience," Hill said. "Competition is fierce when companies are all chasing the same talent, making positions hard to fill."

Another reason for tight competition on the hiring front is that companies are less focused on internal talent development than they have been in the past, and formal corporate IT training opportunities aren't widespread.

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"Companies have been shifting the responsibility for training their employees to the individual for decades. Hiring managers say they expect tech professionals to stay with their firm about three years. That makes it tough to cross-train, retrain, or train at all," Hill says.

As of early July, Dice lists 84,940 available tech jobs in the US. Geographically, the New York/New Jersey region came out on top (8,871 jobs) when Dice ranked the top tech metro areas by number of open job postings. Washington, DC/Baltimore is ranked second, with 8,334 jobs, followed by Silicon Valley with 5,684 open positions.

Compared to a year ago, the region with the largest job gain is Los Angeles. Dice lists 3,551 available jobs in the LA area, a gain of 14% compared to July 2011.