It's only Q4, and it's not a huge increase, but there does appear to be an overall up tick in expected IT hiring. More companies said they were looking to expand IT departments than were contracting them, which is good. However your mileage may vary in your field or company as there are definitely companies that are looking to let people go.
Your career is your responsibility, and while your employer may help with training, you need to make sure that you are managing your own career. Andy Warren (b | t)talks about having a professional development plan, in which you decide what your goals are, how you will achieve them, and what your investment will be. I think that's a great idea, and I encourage all of you to spend some time thinking about where you want to be in your career in a few years time.
Budgets are tight, and one of the things that many companies talk about is the challenge in finding people with the right skills. You can look through job listings, and even respond to some to ask about what levels of talent companies are asking for. Your current company might not want to train you to leave, but there are lots of other opportunities if you keep your eyes open.
We publish regular material at SQLServerCentral and our forums make great reading and give you the chance to practice solving real problems. We're not alone as there are lots of other ways to learn. Last week was 24 Hours of PASS, a chance to learn from your peers all around the world, for free. If you can afford it, SQLskills offers a series of amazing in-person classes each year, and in September they gave away three of their online classes for free with Pluralsight. Those deals come along if you're looking for them, and are worth taking advantage of when they do.
I still think this is an exciting and amazing field to be apart of. Companies need skilled people and they pay well for them. It's up to you to be one of the skilled people that's worth hiring.