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Dismantling the Myth of IT Being a Dead-End Career 649

Lam1969 writes "Robert Mitchell says CIOs and other IT managers continue to bemoan what they claim is a shortage of good technologists. He suggests beefing up salaries and convincing young people that IT is a viable long-term career path would help to change this sentiment. Mitchell also says the threat of offshoring is overstated; rather, the problem is industry and the media have been 'complicit in propagating the myth that IT is a dead end.' From the story: 'First, the dot-com crash shattered the illusion that those in high-tech jobs would always emerge from economic turbulence unscathed. Now, students are hearing that a four-year degree in programming or engineering doesn't matter because all of those jobs will eventually go offshore to foreign workers at very low wages. A generation has been dissuaded from pursuing what is in reality a very promising career choice.'"
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Dismantling the Myth of IT Being a Dead-End Career

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  • No different (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @05:37AM (#14970307)
    Surely this is no different from any other career? I.e. if you're good, then you'll do well - if you're no good, it's a dead end.

    Oh, and first post!
    • Re:No different (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:37AM (#14970754) Homepage
      Yes and no.

      It is not a dead end career if you on a perpetual look for moving from company to company to further yourself. IT as well as corperate life in general is geared to keep the highly skilled and valuable employees from moving up in the ranks as well as payscale.

      I am quitting my job at a huge Communications/Entertainment firm as a Senior IT Manager/ Programmer position and going to work for an extremely smaller company.

      Why? I am getting a 15% increase in pay while decreasing my expenses by 60% because of moving from Metro Detroit suburbs to upper mid michigan. My $180,000.00 Crapshack near Detroit will get me a mansion on lakefront property where I am relocating my family to.

      The company I work for will not give me a raise to match their offer, and will be forced to hire someone to replace me at what I wanted them to match.

      It always happens that the new guy hired in for the position always gets more money than the 10 year vetran employee and usually has only 70=80% of the productivity of the vetran.

      If you want to get ahead in IT you have to jump ship on a regular basis. That is the only way to get further in your career and get more money and a better life. Thinking that the company you work for values you and will compensate you fairly is a fairy tale from the early 50's that has not existed cince the mid 80's...

      Jump ship kids! You can get to be Director of IT by the time you are 30 faster doing that then working hard and loyal.
      • Re:No different (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Garion Maki ( 791172 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @09:21AM (#14970924)
        I'm a last year IT student and I'm wondering, how much should I jump ship?
        On the recruiter seminary they mentioned that changing corp every 3 to 5 years is a good idea and that jumping faster would make it seem like you are gone jump ship anyway, so your not worth the time to recruit and train.

        So do you think that switching every 3 to 5 years on average is a good idea? Or do you personaly jump ship faster or slower?
        • Re:No different (Score:5, Insightful)

          by NialScorva ( 213763 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @09:38AM (#14971009)
          Generally it's about what you can rationally explain in an interview. Certainly avoid working somewhere less than a year or two unless you have an extremely good reason. I think you can tolerate a faster jump earlier in your career rather than later. I don't think any employer is going to begrudge you for having a couple 2 year stints early in your career while you explore different areas of your field. As your career progresses, you should look at longer and longer times of service.

          I think it's one of those self-limitting things. As you get more experience, you know when it's the best time to leave a job.
          • Re:No different (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward
            There is a problem with IT and here it is. It is very difficult to move up the ladder. For the purpose of my explanation of some of the problems, I will liken it to home construction.

            The lowest jobs in IT are more crafts than profession. Think of the low level jobs like help desk or support techs as the framers or the plumber's apprentice. They do the scut work. It keeps the whole thing together but they get no credit for it. Think of the systems engineer as the architect, the analyst as a design/security/m
        • Re:No different (Score:3, Interesting)

          by corvenus ( 931206 )
          The big answer is: it depends. It depends on what type of work you do, what type of company you work for, and if you do contract or permanent work. One question you have to ask yourself: am i learning new things in my current work, and if not, how will that affect my future career path. I consider that when i stop learning new stuff (and provided that nothing new is on the way if i stay there), it's time to look for something else, otherwise it means that i'll stagnate and will be getting behind technologic
        • Re:No different (Score:4, Interesting)

          by bloodredsun ( 826017 ) <martin@bloodredsu[ ]om ['n.c' in gap]> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @10:06AM (#14971153) Journal

          18 months would be my minimum but I would prefer 2 years. For you this might not be a hard and fast rule. I would much rather have a recent grad who worked several small "menial" positions than one who didn't have this work ethic and waited for the work to come to them. At this stage of your career, experience (as long as it's good experience - not replacing copier paper!) is golden and it doesn't really matter how you get it.

          I've always felt that only after this point can you honestly say "there were no more challenges for me" and be believed by an interviewer. This shows that you care about your level of knowledge and aren't prepared to be kept back. As too many companies still promote by who's been there the longest (Buggins Turn)you may well have to move companies to get to the next rung in the ladder. Much less than this and you will be seen as someone who leaves because they are not good enough or as someone that makes bad choices.

          That said, I am a contractor and move companies with the work and the role which can be anything from 6 weeks to 18 months, but I had 3 years experience under my belt before I started contracting

        • Re:No different (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          My experience has been that between 1.5 and 4 years doesn't raise significant flags for employers. There is a catch though. If you've been in the same position for 2 or more years without a change in responsibilities or pay then you've become stuck and should move on ASAP.

          Some employers are worse for this than others. Strangely, those tend to be either small employers or very large ones . Small employers since they generally have nowhere for you to move up. Large since it makes their lives easier to hav
        • Re:No different (Score:3, Insightful)

          by spike2131 ( 468840 )
          3 to 5 years is good to shoot for, but the thing is.... sometimes you jump the ship, sometimes the ship jumps you.
      • While people are familiar with the general idea of the Peter Principle (we get promoted to our level of incompetence), the Peter Principle has two exceptions. And you hit on one.

        The super-competent won't get promoted. You have to jump from organization to organization.

        The super-incompetent will get bounced pretty quickly, if you are legally allowed to (France, I'm looking in your direction).
      • Re:No different (Score:4, Insightful)

        by misleb ( 129952 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @12:36PM (#14972366)
        I agree with you, but in my situation it hasn't been an issue of salary or promotions. It's been an issue of getting bored. If you're good at your job, you get everything running pretty smoothly. You get to know all the systems and functions. Of course, there's always room for improvement, but unless the company is growing and changing quickly, that may be as much as you are going to experience and your best hope is to move into managment (yuck). To get something fresh and with new challenges, you need to move on to a new company and probably even a new industry. Of course, I'm not talking about the ship-jumping that was popular in the dot-com boom. LIke switching every year. I'm thinking more along the lines of every 5 years or so.

  • Shhhh!!! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @05:41AM (#14970312)
    Keep your mouth shut!

    We worked so hard to scare all those damned paper MCSE and brain dumpers away. Last thing we need is for them to come back and lower the avg IT wage again...
    • Re:Shhhh!!! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by thej1nx ( 763573 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @06:20AM (#14970414)
      Funny as your comment is, oddly enough NOT lowering the average IT wage is precisely why these jobs are being offshored.

      Corporations find that either there IS not enough skilled talent available... or it costs a lot more thanks to NOT lowering average IT wages(in comparision to rest of the world). Hence one way or the other, the jobs get offshored to a place where it can be done more cheaply. They are even supported in this by the specialization theory of Economics(i.e. letting work done at some other place where it can be done more cheaply/productively is better for both sides in the long term).

      Ofcourse, this long term gain to the majority comes at the expense of the people who lose their job. But it is not as if, it is even their own fault. They quite possibly, cannot *afford* to take a pay cut. The affluent and expensive life style of America, which is totally out of touch with the reality of the rest of the world, is to blame.

      Oh well, Globalisation is a dual-edged sword. It is the great leveller of the playing field.

      • Re:Shhhh!!! (Score:5, Informative)

        by Aceticon ( 140883 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:09AM (#14970660)
        oddly enough NOT lowering the average IT wage is precisely why these jobs are being offshored.

        I think you got your causal relation all messed-up:

        Outsourcing happens because companies want to lower costs.

        There are several ways to lower costs, which mostly fall into two groups:
        - Lower the costs of your inputs
        - Increase the efficiency of your productive process

        In the software development process input costs are mostly employee salaries

        Efficiency on the other way can be increased in two ways:
        - Capital investment - beter hardware, beter tools
        - Process optimization - improve the structure and flow of your process so that resources are busy with productive tasks most of their available time (note: in my definition a productive task is one in which a feature of the software is being created/extended - thus bugfixing is NOT a productive task) and maximizing the match between resource-provided skills and task-required skills.

        Most companies have already done the reasonable capital investments (note: giving developers workstations with the latest most powerfull CPUs or whatever instead of the second tier ones is rarelly a reasonable capital investment since the cost is 2+ times as much while the increase in productivity is a low percentage value)

        The process optimization part requires very competent managers which either understand the software development process well enough to do the process optimization or can find the right person to do it for them.

        Finding a competent IT manager and/or someone that can optimize a software development process is neither easy nor cheap.

        Also most companies don't have IT as their core business so investing in process optimization is not a high priority for them.

        So companies go for reducing input costs: employee salaries.

        Guess what happens if a company goes puts adverts out for senior software developers offering 1/5th or 1/10th of the average salary in that geographical area?
        Nobody comes.


        The average salary level for a position in an area is derived from a number of factors:
        - Cost of living.
        - Average salary level in the same area for other ocupations requiring lower levels of expertise.
        - Ratio of open vacanties to job seekers which could take those vacanties.

        Which is why people do not take a salary cut of 80-90% (and get indian level salaries):
        - They can't afford living in that area with that salary
        - Lower qualified jobs pay beter
        - There are open vacancies for similiar or lower qualified jobs paying beter

        To put things in perspective:
        - If somehow all open vacancies for sofware development positions were paying 20% of the average salary, job seekers would just start filling in all open lower expertise positions that pay beter than that, all the way down to flipping burgers.

        The only way to go around it to user workers in geographical areas where:
        - Cost of living is lower
        - All other jobs for lower qualified people pay proportionaly less
        - The ratio of open vacanties to job seekers is not so high that salaries for that type of position are very high.

        In other words: Outsourcing

        To wrap up my argument:
        - Companies outsource because the want to reduce costs while not being willing/able to invest in process improvement. Their input costs are mostly employee salaries and they cannot reduce those salaries locally because in the local market salaries are subjected the market pressures that other companies are offering beter salaries for equally or lower qualified positions and that if the offered salaries do not suffice to cover the cost of living in that area people will move out in search of lower cost of living/beter salaries.

        People won't take lower salaries because they either can't (cost of living) or do not need to (they can find another jobs for more money).
      • Re:Shhhh!!! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by keraneuology ( 760918 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:25AM (#14970704) Journal
        Way back when I was pimped out to a particular (and nameless) company that sold services machines to businesses around the world. One day I was caught in the crossfire between corporate executives and I, along with dozens of others, was abruptly shown the door.

        Within days the CEO of said nameless company that sold services and machines to businesses around the world was in the paper bemoaning the complete dearth of qualified IT professionals and begging congress to increase the number of H1B visas that he could exploit. I sent him a letter pointing out that I was an IT professional with glowing reviews from every manager with whom I had ever come in contact, sent references and let him know that I was availabe and would take a position anywhere in the world, including (especially?) ones that involved lots of travel.

        He ignored me. There is no shortage of IT workers - for every open position there are probably 10 qualified applicants. (Of course, there may not be enough women or minority applicants...)

      • Re:Shhhh!!! (Score:3, Interesting)

        Weird. There's nobody (unless there are unions) who forces IT wages high. It's an agreement between worker and employer. I'd work for less than what was a typical beginner's wage in 2000. Probably today they won't offer 40k to college grads anymore, so wages have sunken.

        Of course, if nobody *accepts* the employer's offer (maybe 20k for a good IT job), then the wage can't be lowered to that level.
  • by Alioth ( 221270 ) <no@spam> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @05:44AM (#14970319) Journal
    You have to ask yourself - is the job you're doing/going to do - does it require your actual physical presence? If not, then it can be offshored.

    The trouble is, in IT, all the jobs that require your physical presence are generally 'IT technician' jobs - pulling cat5 through walls, swapping out hard disks in PCs and that kind of thing - the lower paid end of the IT spectrum (although there are higher paid network engineering types of jobs). All the high paid jobs that do NOT require physical presence to be possible to do are things like software development - which CAN be offshored. It's the very jobs that need a 4+ year degree which are the ones that can be offshored. The jobs that someone could leave school at 16 and be trained to do by their employer tend to be the ones that can't be offshored.
    • by PsiPsiStar ( 95676 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @06:13AM (#14970397)
      all the jobs that require your physical presence are generally 'IT technician' jobs - pulling cat5 through walls, swapping out hard disks in PCs and that kind of thing - the lower paid end of the IT spectrum (although there are higher paid network engineering types of jobs).

      There are still a lot of companies which value face to face communications. If you think that any IT job can be offshored, try getting a web programming job at a local community college on the other side of the US. Chances are, they'll want you to be onsite. Maybe that job will be offshored eventually, but for small and medium sized businesses, they want SOMEONE to physically show up at the office, eat lunch with their coworkers, etc. Maybe this desire is irrational, but there are some costs in terms of poorer communication which makes some offshoring more expensive.

      Besides, very few good paying jobs of any kind technically require a person's presence. Look on the dark side of things. Why not have a doctor's office with a few nurses, a video setup, and some nice Philippine doctors on the other end. Samples can be sent off to foriegn labs. Same with teachers, as long as there's someone in the room to make sure people behave. Or do we only offshore those things where customers won't be immediately aware that the job is offshored? IT is not particularly less safe than most other jobs, if you want to take outsourcing to an extreme. The difference is that it tends to be more cutting edge than other fields, and the most exposed to innovation and change.
    • dude, you're right, my job hardly ever required my actual physical presence.
      so i offered my boss to lower my yearly income by 30% if he'd pay for my relocation.
      that's why i outsourced myself to a far off island with a decent IP connection - i'm typing this from a hammock overlooking the beach.
    • Our company thinks it's great to let the developers behind the software be part of the demonstrations and learning of the software we make.

      I think it's not just about human-hardware interaction deciding who may be offshored, but also about the opinion in the company on how valuable the human-human interaction is. Sure, some may still have their developers just sit in a cubicle and work all day, but on many companies they don't, and actually interact with the world, and then it's tough to have these guys in
    • Good software requires close proximity. I've never seen good software come from offshoring.
    • by reporter ( 666905 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @07:14AM (#14970519) Homepage
      The article [] has two sets of contradictions. Consider the following statements taken directly from the article.

      1. " Students have always poured into the most lucrative and promising careers. If IT salaries doubled tomorrow, college students might give IT another look and start switching majors; the flow of newly minted technologists would quickly increase ."

      The above quote is factually correct and describes how a free market works. In the labor market, a shortage of labor is a power force that boosts wages and improves working conditions. Eventually, wages rise sufficiently high that new workers enter a particular labor market (e.g. the market of computer programmers).

      However, certain politicians oppose the idea of a free market for labor. When a labor shortage arises in the market for high-tech labor, such politicians attempt to damage the correcting force of the shortage by injecting H-1B workers into the market. When a labor shortage arises in the agricultural sector, such politicians attempt to damage the correcting force of the shortage by injecting illegal aliens into the market for unskilled labor. Both actions damage the ability of the labor market to function properly and, hence, suppress wages and working conditions.

      A shortage of labor is not something that needs "fixing" by government intervention. The government does not intervene when there is a labor surplus -- like the surplus in the automobile sector (which is undergoing massive layoffs). Why does the government intervene when there is a labor shortage? Shortages are never permanent and require no government intervention in the form of H-1B workers or illegal aliens.

      That observation takes us to the second quote.

      2. " Former Intel CEO Craig Barrett has stated that wage differentials aren't the issue and that Intel would hire more U.S. engineers if it could find them ."

      That quote is a bald-faced lie. There is no shortage of engineers at the proper salary. Intel management can find plenty of American engineers if Intel management doubled salaries and boosted working conditions by, for example, eliminating the bell curve that managers use to "grade" employees. See quote #1 above. Quote #1 contradicts quote #2.

      Intel simply does not want to raise salaries or to boost working conditions.

      Intel's lie takes us to the third quote.

      3. " That sentiment was backed up by IT leaders at the Premier 100 conference, where 70% said that they hire the most qualified workers, regardless of citizenship ."

      This quote is accurate. Contrary to the stated intentions of managers wanting to increase the H-1B cap, most managers do not hire Americans even if they are qualified. If both an American applicant and an H-1B applicant is qualified for a job, the manager will choose the applicant that is more qualified. That approach directly contradicts the stated intentions of managers from companies like Intel: the stated intention is that a manager will hire an American applicant meeting the qualifications but not necessarily offering better qualifications than a qualified H-1B applicant.

      The H-1B program is a way for American companies to suppress wages and to avoid improving working conditions. The H-1B program damages the correcting force of shortages. A shortage in a free market is a normal force that requires no intervention by the government to "fix".

      H-1B workers come from countries like India and China, which do not have free markets. The Indian and Chinese governments have damaged their own economies by suppressing free markets. H-1B workers represent indirect intervention in the American free market by the Indian and Chinese governments. Their actions damage how the labor market should work in the American free market.

      Washington should allow

      • However, certain politicians oppose the idea of a free market for labor. When a labor shortage arises in the market for high-tech labor, such politicians attempt to damage the correcting force of the shortage by injecting H-1B workers into the market.

        Surely that line you wrote is doublethink?

        A truly free market for labor would mean that H1-B visas wouldn't even be required because there would be no immigration controls and people could just move in as they pleased without worrying about visas. There would b

  • by Umbral Blot ( 737704 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @05:47AM (#14970327) Homepage
    On the other hand this is a good thing for the computer science departments of universities, for less students means that they can do less job training and more actual computer science. If you aren't convinced that real progress in computer science isn't being made any more I encourage you to watch this video []. In it you can see all the aspects of the modern computers that we know and love being demonstated oh so long ago, only with less polish. Sadly research hasn't proceeded much beyond this in terms of software. The problem is that the typical student in a computer science course doesn't want to learn computer science, they just want to learn some Java/hot language of the momement and get out into the workforce. This is where bad programmers and bugs galore come from. However if those who simply want a job leave then a computer science degree will once again have meaning, and better software will be produced. Trust me on this one, I'm surrounded by CS majors who think Java is the best language ever, and are unable to program in anything else.
    • by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @06:09AM (#14970392)
      If you want to work on real computer science, get a Math degree. Computer Science programs have been steadily inching towards Software Engineering programs for a long time. While the basics of Computer Science are still taught at the undergraduate level, the primary focus now is on correct software implementation. Take a look at the previous thread about the ACM Dissertation of the Year. A CS dissertation on improving software quality through statistical analysis. That's not computer science, it's simply advanced software engineering.

      Not that there's anything wrong with Software Engineering as a field of study. The world needs better Software Engineering programs that can identify and teach best practices and expose students to a wide variety of software disciplines. Beyond that, a Computer Engineering which encompasses both Software and Hardware engineering is another type of program that would be useful.

      As to the idea that University isn't a job training school, I have to assume that you're simply speaking generally and alluding to the esoteric concept of University as "a place to teach you think". That is false on the face of it. Any major course of study that you undertake prepares you for a job in that particular field. Some fields have very obvious paths from study to the workplace, while others like English or Philosophy are less obvious (but no less direct and applicable).
      • A CS dissertation on improving software quality through statistical analysis. That's not computer science, it's simply advanced software engineering.

        No, it's Computer Science. It's the computational analogy to materials science, analyzing the statistical properties of the materials used to build software structures.

        I could make the counter-claim that crap like denotational semantics isn't Computer Science, it's simply mathematics, and fairly abstract and non-useful mathematics at that.

    • by jonv ( 2423 )
      I think it is worse than being surrounded by CS majors who think Java is the best language ever. The industry is full of people who know about PC / Windows / Linux / The Fastest Graphics Cards / Building a WebPages / The latest type of PC memory. Whilst some of these skills might be fine on a support desk many of these people are finding there way into development, not only do they lack the skills they also seem to lack the motivation to learn about languages, development techniques and methodologies.
    • CS != IT or SE (Score:2, Interesting)

      BadAnalogyGuy made some good points in his reply to your post, but I just wanted to agree with you that CS is definitely not the same thing as IT or SE, where CS is traditionally hardware and R&D and IT/SE is primarily sales, support and application programming. I have been bucking the system at the last couple of schools I have been at (displacement because of -> marriage + job availability = no time for school!) because they keep pushing IT whereas I want CS. To top it all off, the IT departments
  • by tm2b ( 42473 )
    Reminds me of the joke that was going around Red Hat when we were going through a series of CIOs:

    "CIO == Career Is Over"
  • If your idea of "making it" is babysitting servers or approving the purchase of new computers, then IT is absolutely not a dead end. It's the peak, baby!

    If, on the other hand, you want to run a company, running the servers may not give you the best perspective of your company's business model, so you'll likely be passed over time and again for promotion to COO in favor of the top sales guy.

    What's your goal?
  • Age of IT staff (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Half a dent ( 952274 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @05:51AM (#14970332)
    Whilst much of industry looks to hire youthful IT staff rather than older workers, it has the ironic effect of putting people off a career in IT. As not many people want to work in an industry where finding a job when you are past forty is difficult.

    Encouraging older workers will also encourage new young workers. BTW. I fall somewhere between these two groups.
    • not many people want to work in an industry where finding a job when you are past forty is difficult.
      Finding a job past forty is difficult? Silly rabbit,the way it works is you create a startup when you're 26, which is then bought out by a larger company for an obscene amount of money before you turn 30. You use this money to retire on and never have to worry about working again.
  • Well Duh (Score:5, Funny)

    by eclectro ( 227083 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @05:51AM (#14970333)

    It's because you can't get dates studying "IT". Say you are in medschool or a doctor and they're all over you and it.

    All three slashdotters who are married do not need to reply and tell me I'm wrong.
    • Bad News (Score:4, Funny)

      by SolitaryMan ( 538416 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @06:56AM (#14970488) Homepage Journal
      The bad news is that married /.'ers can't get dates too!
    • This is pretty funny: it looks like those three all replied!

      All three slashdotters who are married do not need to reply and tell me I'm wrong. [ Reply to This ]

      * 3 replies beneath your current threshold.

    • Re:Well Duh (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Tom ( 822 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @09:47AM (#14971041) Homepage Journal
      You can get a lot of dates when you're in IT. You just have to realize that most girls aren't (most guys neither) and demonstrate your ability to speak about other topics as well.

      Girls really don't care much what you do. They care what you are, and see your job in that light, as an expression of your personality. So if you say "I work as a java programmer because C is so pre-OO and C++ never takes of really, but I dig Linux more than FreeBSD" then all she hears is a string of foreign words. Same as if she were to tell you about the differences between various nail polish products.
      Now if you say "I work in IT because I enjoy the challenge of new technology and solving difficult problems." that says something about you and might be a much better conversation starter. Bonus points if you add something like "not only with computers".

      It ain't the IT. It's the obsession with it. If you were equally obsessed with some bio-chemistry stuff it wouldn't matter that you're a doctor, you'd be avoided just the same.
  • soul sucking (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    They should tell them the truth - bosses will want you to constantly work overtime for nothing, you'll burn free time keeping up with your specialty, you'll be expected to be on call _every_ weekend and holiday.

    You'll jump a foot in the air when your pager goes off because the idiots who own the production system that you don't have authority over (but some-fucking-how are still totally responsible for) can't understand why there are nightly issues moving data between 6 different vendor and legacy systems -
    • only if you are one of those assholes who walks around doing nothing but saying "I only do J2EE".

      Why are these guys assholes? Do they consider themselves above other IT professionals or is it that you think they have an easier life than you? If your life is like that then get some backbone and some self-respect and say no to being ripped off.

  • by bloodredsun ( 826017 ) <martin@bloodredsu[ ]om ['n.c' in gap]> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @06:02AM (#14970371) Journal

    One of the things that always troubles me with the Outsourcing debate is how it regards IT and software development as an entity in itself, rather than one that must deal with others. By this I mean both dealing with the business you are in and also the other departments in your company. By making IT a commodity, it can be offshored or outsourced easily. When it's a specialty, that becomes difficult to impossible.

    If you are developing a piece of medical software such as an EEG recorder, you need to have some understanding of the science of EEGs and the medical background in which they are used. Likewise, a piece of financial software requires detailed knowledge of financial systems and the rules and regulations that govern them. This sort of knowledge keeps the development "in-house" and keeps you employed. I do agree that simple development jobs should be done by the most efficient and appropriate people, normally either recent grads or outsourced developers. I mean, you wouldn't waste the Technical Architects time getting them to write basic code.

    Someone looking for a career in IT needs to be constantly challenging themselves by learning new skills, and not always IT related ones so that your specialty keeps you needed. IT has never been an industry that rewards those that keep still (hell, if it did I would still be bashing out BASIC on my Vic 20!) but those that stay ahead of the game. Do this and you will have a career.

  • Yeah yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tony Hoyle ( 11698 ) <> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @06:04AM (#14970375) Homepage
    I've heard it all before. Managers scream 'skills shortage' whilst lots of good IT workers sit on unemployment queues.

    There is no shortage. Never has been. It's because managers want to define the exact skillset... '20 years Java version service pack 2, and preferably 17 years Visual Studio 2005' they refuse to believe that people can actually learn new stuff (and their requirements are sometimes completely ludicrous - I actually left an interview when someone said I didn't have enough java experience.. they wanted 8 years - in 2000. That manager is proabably still screaming 'skills shortage' today).

    Now I'm involved in hiring I've found completely the opposite... the market is *full* of good people... if you factor in a few weeks for them to get up to speed they're fine (that's just training budget - remember when companies had those?).
    • Re:Yeah yeah... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bloodredsun ( 826017 )

      My favourite was one I saw last year, a requirement for 5 years Java/J2EE (okay)and 5 years C#/dot NET (eh!). Apart from being difficult to have 5 years experience in something that came out in 2002, I'm not sure that I would want to work for a company with this bad a grasp of skills management.

      I think you're right about the market, and about how people only need a few weeks to get up to speed on new stuff (it's not brain surgery is it!) but the crunch is always with the contractors. Trying to stay ahead o

    • by ayjay29 ( 144994 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @06:49AM (#14970476)
      Too right...

      I heard of a guy who was taking a telephone interview with a head hunter for a contract job, it went something like this:

      HH: They need someone who knows C-Pound, have you worked with it?

      CS: I think you mean C-Sharp, yes, i've worked with it since the early betas.

      HH: No, i've just talked with them on the phone, it's definatly C-Pound.

      CS: They must be meaning C-Sharp, it's the new .net language from Microsoft.

      HH: No, they said explicitly that it was C-Pound they were looking for, and not to accept anyone saying they had esperience in another type of C.

    • Re:Yeah yeah... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jmtmeyer ( 869622 )
      Most hiring managers will blame the's and's for this one. In the past 10-15 years, HR managers have transitioned from not enough applicants to 1000 applicants per open position. How do you wade through the garbage? The answer becomes keyword searches and exact qualifications. There was an article in WSJ about the "Engineering Crisis" being a myth, leading to the above conclusion. They don't want an "operations manager". They want an operations manager with at least 8 years of
    • Re:Yeah yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bacon Bits ( 926911 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:41AM (#14970766)

      Reminds me of a job opening that stated -- literally -- "requires 10 or more years experience administering a Windows 2000 Active Directory domain.". This was back in late 2002, mind you. I actually called and asked about the position just to ask if it was a mistake, but they said the position had been filled. I still wonder who they found....

      The problem is that HR doesn't understand the tech field. Someone with 2 years of direct experience is *highly qualified* because nearly all knowledge in IT is stale in 5 years. They expect IT to be like engineering. A pressure vessel is a pressure vessel, and even if the materials change the basic design is unchanged in over 100 years or so. Asking for 20 years experience is appropriate. Asking for 2 or 3 is asking for someone with no experience at all. You'll get a junior engineer who probably spent their time redrawing other people's designs in AutoCAD.

      There's really three types of jobs in IT:
      1. Menial. Mainly, this is help desk, but it also includes things like moving hardware from place to place, swapping backup tapes in a data center, pulling CAT5, punching down network/phone jacks, etc. You can easily do this job for 10 or 20 years in a sufficiently large company with little training at all. It doesn't change much, but they are absolutely vital for getting anything done. These are the jobs that most people get for the first year or two, and most people loathe them. The people who really stick with them are generally not the kind of people you'd trust with much of anything else. While technical understanding is important, the jobs themselves are repetitive, dull, and (in the case of help desk) infuriating. Many of these jobs are easy to outsource, although those that require on-site presense obviously require local businesses.

      2. Consultant or contract. Here, the employer needs a specific skill set for a given period of time, and after that time they don't want to maintain the employee. All the employer wants is someone to get a single task done. App and web devs, infrastructure installation, and various "we need a person to give us X" jobs most often. These are were very popular in the earlier years of this decade, but IMX people are also beginning to see the severe limitations of consultant and contract work. Particularly, quality seems to suffer because the responsibility of a consultant is much less than that of an employee, and that's because the accountability is much less as well. A good consultant or contractor still does good work, of course, but since manageers tend to go for contractors that are at a cheaper rate than an FTE (IMX) they also tend to pay a lot of money for bad quality work. You get what you pay for. These jobs are always of a limited (often fixed) duration, so they can often be outsourced to a remote or overseas company easily enough.

      3. Technical employee. Most often an FTE, these people get hired because they're able to learn something new quickly enough to adapt, and they have enough technical expertise to understand what's going on. These people tend to be the most expensive payroll-wise, but they also tend to be the highest quality since you get an adaptive expert in exactly the fields you want. In fields where the pool of quality employees is particularly small, such as OpenVMS, Unix, LISP programmers etc., the employee is almost never outsourced.

    • Re:Yeah yeah... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lumpy ( 12016 )
      The most silly requirement is a degree.

      Honestly. I have known more programmers that never finished college that write better code, faster, and more efficient than the guys that went for 4-6 years to a top notch institution.

      IS and IT self education is always farther ahead of what is in the schools simply because it is moving way too fast for the educators to react.

      The same goes for mamagement. Best managers and most successful businessmen do not have a degree.

      I am wrong? prove it.
      • Re:Yeah yeah... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by soft_guy ( 534437 )
        Why would I want to hire someone who can't even complete a college degree?

        Were they too stupid to get admitted to college - or just too lazy to finish?

        Seriously, I don't even waste my time interviewing people who don't have a degree. In the past I have worked with a couple of guys without a degree. The problem is they have very little investment in the field. You train them, they decide to go do something else. Or they are completely unprofessional in the way they act - again because they have no investment
  • by LilGuy ( 150110 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @06:05AM (#14970382)
    I got a pretty decent entry position into a tech company with little formal experience and 1 year of college. I've been trying for years and when I'd pretty much given up opportunity knocked. Now we're hiring 3 more technicians with various backgrounds that don't really relate to what we do, but we need people badly.

    One thing I've learned from my experience here is that I SHOULD be able to get a system/network admin job just about anywhere in Iowa. Many of the people I'm troubleshooting with on a daily basis couldn't tell you the difference between DNS and SNMP, much less what a VPN tunnel is or how e-mail works.

    But there's always that "bachelor's degree required" barrier for those jobs. It's pathetic.
  • Suits me... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by thejeek ( 952967 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @06:05AM (#14970384) Homepage
    I'm sick of coming across people who got into this industry without any interest or aptitude because they thought it was a gravy train and didn't like us geeks getting all the money... I'd be happy to see a return to the glory days of unwashed pizza eating nerds -- jeek
  • Career Path (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jonv ( 2423 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @06:12AM (#14970396)
    There doesn't seem to be a clear career path across different companies. The same job title at one location can have a vastly different salary than another. I have seen 'Developer' jobs advertised at very high rates and then 'Architect' / 'Consultant' roles at lower levels. The term 'senior' can be attached to any of these and not have any affect on the salary. To add further confusion there seems to be very little difference in many of the job descriptions - most of them just requiring that a candidate understands a list of TLAs.

    It must be very confusing for anyone entering or considering entering the industry to see what the career path in IT is. In other areas (electrical / civil engineering for instance) a career initially progresses until chartered status is reached, this is understood by these industries and is a requirement for a more senior jobs. Such a qualification is available for IT (I am in the UK - not sure how this works elsewhere) but not considered valuable when looking for jobs.
  • by tchernobog ( 752560 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @06:20AM (#14970413)
    (Applies to Italy, but maybe to other countries too).

    I'm near my Bachelor's degree in CS, and I'm as glad to enter IT as to enter a pool full of hungry sharks. If I'm able to, I'll take some other job; journalism, for example, or become a teacher. Why?

    Of course, money isn't the problem: you earn quite well, at least compared to the standard factory workman. Rather, it's because IT (at least, here in Italy) don't do anything related to my fields of interest. Most of them offer consulting via new technologies (but that is a lot far from being IT), some web application development, a little bit of Java here and there, and no real challenge. Mostly, they deploy pre-made systems (often Microsoft or IBM products), and just stand there watching other - foreign, mostly US - companies steer the wheel at their leasure.

    I mean: a lot of engineers are glad to become DBAs, or to do remunerative jobs programming cell phones applications with J2ME. Most of us CS students, however, have an interest in software engineering, for example, or algorithmic complexity, in compilers, operating systems, networks and so on.
    Sadly, innovation in the IT field is almost as stone dead, here in Italy.

    We need some spark of interest to enter IT, not just building boring systems to manage a warehouse. Bring in the innovation!
    So: IT *is* a dead-end. Doing paperwork and SQL for the rest of my life? Writing Java applets or Flash actionscripts? Are you kidding? It's not work, but slavery.

    As many, many others born in the first half of the '80, I remember writing BASIC games like Snake on lonely Saturday evenings, when a child. Playing with LEGOs and reading a lot. All this is lost for the new generations... both due to increased complexity (when the model you grow up with is Final Fantasy two-thousand-fifty, who's going to program a Tris game in console?) and changes in our society (general disinterest, maybe because scared by a too complex world).
    • So what's stopping you from doing it yourself? Seriously, why do you need to work for someone else to create software? I'm not saying become a businessman as your skills may not lie there but I am saying don't just complain about it and then do nothing.

      You're absolutely correct in saying "Bring in the innovation!". Too many people appear to switch off when they get a job. Find out what you want to do and do it outstandingly. That way you'll have the job you want and money will not be an issue.

    • Although there is people doing interesting work (specially in the southern Brazilian states, like Parana and Rio Grande do Sul), the bulk of the commercial IT work being done here is just application deployment as well. Coming in a close second place is the customization of said software so it fits the unique (actually, weird) Brazilian laws and business processes.

      I was just thinking of leaving IT because I came to realize that in Brazil, big money from IT only comes from sales. Yes, there's a lot of cluel

    • by Anonymous Coward
      "Most of us CS students, however, have an interest in software engineering, for example, or algorithmic complexity, in compilers, operating systems, networks and so on."

      What you're talking about is computer science, not software engineering (if that even exists).

      IT is about delivering what customers need within a budget as fast as possible with a sustainable technology. The problems in IT are not technological, they are always people problems. Understanding customer needs and working in a team to deliver
  • Can't agree more (Score:5, Interesting)

    by linuxgurugamer ( 917289 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @06:41AM (#14970455) Homepage
    After 25 years in IT, I was let go a few months ago because they "didn't need my position anymore", and was "replaced" by someone earning about half of what I was getting. This, after helping the company grow from 10 people to 85, and from sales of $100K to over $20 million a year. After creating a serverfarm which increased the capacity of our systems from 5 trnasactoins/second to over 20,000 transactions a second. I joined as Director of IT. In the beginning it was very hands-on. But management never listend to my requests for help, so I was stuck helping people via phone all over the world, maintaining and building the server farm, doing all the support on the PCs, etc. When I finally got help, it was help intended to replace me, which it eventually did. They then hired someone to "assist" my replacement. I've spent three months looking for a new job. So many of them have extremely specific requirements, so specific that there is no way I could even be considered. So now I've left the field. I spent the last 20 years not really liking my jobs and not realizing it. Having left, I finally realized that I wasn't happy before, because of the non-recognition of IT by the rest of the company.
  • by pandrijeczko ( 588093 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @06:45AM (#14970468)
    I've been in telecoms now for almost 25 years, I've never done anything else but field engineering or tech support work, I thoroughly enjoy training people but have no aspirations to enter management.

    From what started as a career for me with British Telecom in traditional analogue telecoms (AC15 signalling, point-to-point circuits, PCM, etc) has now ended up with VoIP & SIP. I've become a UNIX & Linux expert (even an RHCE), know my way around pretty much any Windows system, I've worked on CTI, voice recorders, voicemail, predictive diallers, programmed shell-scripts, C & Perl, written web sites in HTML & CSS, advised customers on network security...

    I've achieved all this just because I'm a technology geek who's always prepared to go learn stuff "on the fly" as I need to know it, rather than insist on traditional training and certifications. This type of work is as much about knowing your limitiations and who to ask when you need help, as it is about knowing stuff yourself. Always learn & always be prepared to tech someone...

    All-in-all, it's a great career, I earn enough to enjoy a comfortable life & I'll die happy with a laptop in front of me and a screwdriver in my hand. :-)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @06:47AM (#14970472)
    A profession is an activity where one is treated as such. IT is not such an activity. We all know why. If you are going to spend 4 or more years in university, then get a degree in a profession, where you will be treated as such and not like an idiot in an open plan purgatory chicken battery like most of us nowadays. Also, professionals don't create solutions using patently wrong methods which were recognized as such 30 years ago. Schools are teaching interesting stuff these days, only in a real world business environment they are useless.
  • There are NO JOBS! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kaiwai ( 765866 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @07:06AM (#14970506)
    I'm here, down in Christchurch, New Zealand - sure, not exactly 'silicon valley' but ok none the less; Where are the IT jobs? Here are my pet peeves so far with job searching:

    1) When a person applies for an IT job at your organisation, do the curtious thing and actually get back to him, thank him for his resume, and actually make a decent effort to setup a interview - you might actually find that he or she will be able to expand upon what they told you in their CV, and will give you the opportunity to probe them on their knowledge.

    2) When you advertise for a position - how about listing what the requirements are; case in point, in Christchurch there was an advertisement I replied to that simply said, "IT GURU WANTED!" then further down, it went on about a system administrator wanted - all very nice, I followed it up, sent a resume in, and low and behold, I receive no reply, followed this individual up - I didn't fit the criteria; to which I said, "there was none" and gave him the link; he was quiet.

    He said I lacked "MacOS X skills", to which I said, "I classify those as UNIX skills; had you spent a little time picking up the telephone receiver and actually calling me, we could have gone through the CV together, clarifying any possibly misunderstandings".

    3) When a person such as I, give 5 different forms of contacts, there is absolutely NO EXCUSE for not being able to get in contact with me, at all.

    Right now I am back at university (again!), studying a Bachelor of Commerce, Majoring in Management - am I going to get a job afterwards, no bloody way; I'm starting my own business, and all I can say, is when I hire people, I won't be relying on 'recruitment agencies', I'll hire them myself, I'll interview them myself, and I'll actually take a damn interest in interviewing each one who replies - and those who I need to question in reference to their resume, will actually get contacted!
  • by el_womble ( 779715 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @07:26AM (#14970533) Homepage
    Not all jobs can be offshored. I'm outsourced to the government, and, because of the data I work with, my job can never be offshored. I suspect, thats true of some banking information, and probably true of a few other paranoid businesses, but I have no proof to that effect. So paranoia and security can, and will continue to keep some enterprise grade software firmly onshore.

    Small companies are becoming increasingly IT aware. We're seeing the first of the IT generation reaching management posts in Mom and Pops, and Citywides. It used to be that the price of the hardware was the problem, now its the cost of the developers. For small to medium sized business the cost of offshoring is too high... unless you broker.

    There is also the question of trust. Small companies rely on trust over legislation and buying buying power. It's difficult to build trust with a 7 hour time difference and a telephone (although would probably disagree). The small companies I know would rather deal with other small companies where they might be able to get preferential buyer treatment and loyalty, than cheaper multinationals.

    To me this stinks of profit. Doing lots of small jobs for small companies (customising OSS, a Ruby on Rails web shop) plus maintenance is the new electronic frontier.

    Western technologists can compete. We have the home team advantage: meet and great is more important than ever. We are, hopefully, well educated and well informed, giving us the ability to adapt and create new technologies that make us more effective and cheaper. But, you have to be able to deliver.
  • The Reason Why (Score:3, Insightful)

    by segedunum ( 883035 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @07:26AM (#14970534)
    The reason why people bemoan the lack of good technologists is because IT is not a real profession. Rather than accepted standards, as there is in any other field like architecture or engineering, in the IT and especially the software world we have vendor oriented bullshit with billion dollar companies wanting to sell you more shite than you already have.

    The world is also filled with MCSEs, people with .Net, Java, SQL Server etc. etc. skills on their CVs but people then find out that they cannot design a database properly. The amount of databases I've seen where everything is in one table is staggering. Basically, IT (and especially software) as a profession needs to grow up, otherwise the situation will continue.
  • Then I'm sure that Robert Mitchell won't mind hearing that I will no longer be getting my tech news from ComputerWorld, but [] . Rog
  • Um, it's not a myth. The pending offshoring of the vast majority of IT jobs has been documented repeated, on this website in fact. Combined with the fact that most IT jobs now provide little autonomy and lots of tedium, stress, and responsibility, you can see why so many college students can think of better things to dedicate their lives to. IT execs have only themselves to blame for IT's lack of appeal since they are the ones causing it.
  • I'm currently a contractor working for large IT company (1) on a greenfield project in Leeds in the UK. A little less than two years ago I quit working for large IT company (2), where I had been TUPEd in from my previous employer (UK employment regulations that basically state if a company outsources services, the service company cannot lay off the company's staff). In the last year large IT company (2) have laid off a considerable percentage of their technical staff, including many of those people who were
  • Payback's a bitch (Score:4, Informative)

    by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:05AM (#14970645) Homepage
    I remember not long ago there was a lot of gloom and doom about IT jobs. Many companies, and I experienced this first hand at more than one customer site, had the attitude that you could be replaced by someone in India for 1/3 of the cost and the replacement would labor long hours out of gratitude for the few pennies they were getting. Project managers not liking the price tag, no problem, we'll outsource it. Some of the local staff had to suffer the indignity of training their replacements.

    But it's a different story today. I bill a lot of hours fixing "Bangladore Spaghetti" code, in one case costing more than a clean build would have cost. Even when the work was acceptable, and that was the minority, the language barrier was a constant complaint. While that was going on college students were bailing out of IT programs when the economy was in an expansion mode.

    It's a different story out there today. The bonuses are back, the perks are back. It's not quite as insane as the late 90's but not bad. And the best part to me is that there's a bonus for people who can work in either Linux or Windows environments.

    And to all you project managers who thought you were SO smart outsourcing those expensive projects and the companies that thought they could replace their IT director with a bean counter...NEENER, NEENER, NEENER! LOOOOO-HOO-HOOOOOSSSSERRRRRRS!!!!! (/., raising the level of dialogue in IT)

    • Re:Payback's a bitch (Score:4, Interesting)

      by MrNougat ( 927651 ) <> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @10:04AM (#14971135)
      Back in the day, I used to work in auto parts for car dealerships. We sold a lot of wholesale parts to body shops at the time. There was one particular local chain of body shops that was quite a lot of our business, and were getting their parts for something like 5% over cost. Considering that we had to drive to all their locations daily, and jump to do emergency runs, we weren't making a lot of money at all on them.

      One day, this body shop comes and says, "Hey, your big warehouse competitor will give us parts at 3% over cost? Meet it or we're switching." Fine, go. Good luck.

      Three months later, the body shop came back. "We want to buy parts from you again. The service at the other place was horrible." No problem - now it's 10% over cost.

      They took the deal. Just another example of how service beats price.
  • by sl4shd0rk ( 755837 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:58AM (#14970825)
    Now they are complaining. Tuff shit. These companies got their monetary crack-fix two years ago by dumping thousands of jobs offshore, dropping their operating costs, and causing a snowball effect for their competition to follow. Now they bitch and whine they can't find anyone to work for them. I wonder why.

  • by walterbyrd ( 182728 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @09:10AM (#14970882)
    I'm in Denver, Co.

    Like most places in the USA there is a huge shortage of nurses. There are full-page ads in the newspaper offering $15K sign-on bonuses etc. There is also a shortage of truck drivers, companies have huge banners outside their facilities advertising for truck drivers. I know nurses that make over $100K/year. According the news, truck drivers are making over $75K/year.

    IT? Funny thing, no full-page ads, no sign-on bonuses, no big banners. In fact, it's quite the opposite. What jobs there are advertised are usually short term contracts with no benefits. There are few ads for IT guys, and fewer still give salaries, but the following describe a few ads I've seen (I swear I am not exagerating):

    - MCSE wanted for one day deployment (setting up PCs), salary $16/hour.

    - Experienced Web-Developer, PHP, MySQL, salary: $6.50/hour (Costco pays workers $17/hour, Wendy's pays $8.50/hour).

    - Experienced Web-Develper, HTML, salary: $0.00/hour, but you are provided with beer when are finished.

    - Web-Develper, HTML, salary: $0.00/hour, you are supposed to work just for the benefit of the experience.

    I occasionally see a few jobs for helpdesk and technicians for about $10/hour.

    Of course some jobs pay more, but good lord do they want qualifications. Consider this "entry level" job that is still on craigslist. No salary is given (typical) but the "entry level" part should give you a clue (I will bet real money that the janitor earns more) :

    - Entry Level - Application Developer Call Centers
    Strong background in object oriented application design, development and debugging. Java, Perl and Visual Studio .Net experience preferred. Experience working with Microsoft SQL Server and/or MySQL. IVR development, design or quality assurance experience a plus
    Date: 2006-03-15, 7:37PM MST []

    Image how much better you would do if you put your efforts into a real career field such as law, medicine, aviation, or for that matter, driving a truck.
    • I'd say it's about time nurses get paid top dollar.

      And I don't do IT because I want to get rich, I do IT because I like it. Getting rich is about doing the stuff you don't like if your the type to be passionate about a craftmanship or something simular.

      I'm in the process of founding a Ltd. in order to do some financial tricks and generate turnover. Hopefully with the sideeffect of making some 'backstockable' revenue (read: make money, get rich). It's an entirely different game. Infact it involves actively R
      • I HATE _IT_ (Score:4, Interesting)

        by CiXeL ( 56313 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @10:52AM (#14971455) Homepage
        I used to love it. I started into computer at 8. worked for my local city government at 15. now im 27 and still in IT. A number of years ago i worked for coldwell banker in los angeles. we assembled their network uniting 60 branches. the company said it was time to cut costs and made us compete for our jobs. they would constantly raise the bar and can the person with the least number of closed tickets. towards the end there was a guy out in ventura who was wiping down computer cases with alcohol wipes trying to create more tickets to keep his job.

        I used to love IT now i f*cking hate it. They took something i really liked and destroyed it. I have other hobbies now which i am trying to pursue into a business but im trapped because IT still is the only thing that will make me enough money to keep me from collapsing into a pile of debt i created during periods of cyclical unemployment.

        I have a vendetta against Cendant Inc. they were the ones responsible for my complete failure of company loyalty.

        I swear to God, I will never respect another company as long as i live.
    • Those requirements are pretty realistic...

      As much as I hate lying, for a job like that your not going to have the experince with the IVR software, people who have that experience are already working in that field. So lie... Do lots of research before heading into the interview and get up to speed on the technologies they are looking for.

      If they are being unrealistic then you will have to be... Or someone else will be and take the job...

      Any programmer should be able to jump languages without blinking, each o
    • I am a highly-skilled technologist. Specifically, I am production support for an internal unix based websphere application at a major telecom company. I have over 10 years experience.

      I have also been a truck driver. I have logged over 10,000 miles and still have my CDL. I was a trucker for one year.

      As a trucker, I was out for 4 weeks, home for 4 days. I drove 10 hours a day. I spent a lot of money on the road, because you can't carry anything with you. It was lonely work. It was hard mentally, and often cha
    • >.- Experienced Web-Developer, PHP, MySQL,
      >salary: $6.50/hour (Costco pays workers
      >$17/hour, Wendy's pays $8.50/hour).

      The good paying web development jobs don't list a salary (usually). They just say "DOE" or "market", if they say anything. It's up to you to negotiate a good rate. So, yeah, the ones that list a rate are poor.

      I've done *way way way* better than anything that you have listed here, pay-wise. Jobs found through Monster and Dice. And I don't have a degree, or any certs.

      Also, maybe
  • by stinky wizzleteats ( 552063 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @09:56AM (#14971097) Homepage Journal
    Technically speaking, there is exactly enough trained IT talent in the U.S. market to fill all available positions at the current salary levels.
    (emphasis mine)

    The problem isn't the availability of jobs, it's the salary levels. Those levels haven't changed much in 6 years, despite a steep increase in measured (energy, food) and non-measured (USF recovery fees) inflation. Only 6 months ago did I finally start making more than I did in 1997. Would you go into an industry where real wages have been dropping steadily for a decade?

    If one of my kids were to tell me he wants to do with I do when he grows up, I would vigorously discourage it. I've been doing this professionally since 1995. What does that tell you about the state of the industry?

    You like working on things? Become an auto mechanic. You like gee whiz technical stuff? Go to law school and become an IP lawyer. There will not be a middle class in IT when you (or my kids) graduate from college.
  • by t'mbert ( 301531 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @12:31PM (#14972316)
    The thing that is scaring bright technologists away from the field is simple: businesses see IT developers and other technologists as nothing more than factory-line workers of our day. We are interchangeable parts, and therefore not worth as much to the company as upper management is...or middle management even.

    So for our careers to grow, ironically, business pushes the brightest technologists to management, leaving an even-larger gap in capable engineers. There is nowhere else for us to grow into (case in point, I've been a Senior Engineer for my entire 10-year IT career, there's no higher technology position to go to).

    In fact, development and other complex IT tasks require a type of worker that is not comparable to any other field. They are largely self-managed, and must work out engineering complexities unheard-of in other fields. The bredth of technologies and knowledge are only comparable to the most high-knowledge careers such as law, medicine, and bio-tech.

    Further, the work these technologists do, and the quality of that work, directly affect the bottom-line of the technology company. The loss of a single key technologist can have a ripple-effect that is hard to quantify, but that definitely impacts the bottom line. But due to the manufacturing-centric business practices of corporations and the MBA management crowd, these dollars are never realized. Hence, management views these workers as an expense, and not generating any revenue. Conversely, sales staff, who produce nothing re-sellable on their own, and who cannot affect the cost-basis of a company much, are revered by upper-management because of the positive cash-flow realized by landing sales, and their salaries and position within the company are commensurate.

    Until IT business management practices catch up to the new business landscape, they will continue to scare off the brightest talent, forcing the best technologists into management or other positions in order to see their careers continue to grow. I think Google and a few other top-tier technology companies get this, but the remainder continue to flounder in the IT landscape.

    You can see this ultimately realized by "dad's advice": You don't want to be doing the work, you want to manage. Anyone can do the work.

    No. Not everyone can do the work in this field, just as not everyone can be a bio-tech engineer, and until this attitude changes from business to home, IT won't attract a large crowd.
  • by KC7GR ( 473279 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @04:04PM (#14974822) Homepage Journal
    The tech industry as a whole (I'm talking not just about IT, but also electronics and, more specifically, electronics engineering and manufacturing) has only itself to blame for what is a very real problem.

    As at least one other poster has pointed out, the idea of job stability in the long term (as in staying with, and progressing with, a single company for one's entire career) has gone straight out the window. What companies have forgotten is that many people (myself included) WANT job stability as part of the package.

    It's a vicious cycle. Offshore workers in engineering and manufacturing don't pay taxes in the US, they don't send their kids to school in the US, and they don't buy their groceries, homes, TVs, or whatever else they want in the US.

    This means a lot fewer tax dollars for the very educational institutions that are supposed to be turning out science and engineering graduates. Fewer graduates means that tech firms feel they have to resort to hiring in India, China, or wherever the talent they need is (and why they don't make use of local engineers and techies who have ALREADY been laid off is a complete mystery to me), which means even more offshore workers, and the cycle continues.

    A few months back, Intel CEO Andy Grove wrote an editorial in one of the electronics industry trade journals, moaning and complaining about how our schools need to do a lot better in turning out the engineers that Intel and the rest of the industry need.

    The very next day, I read a small sideline article in the business section of the local paper, saying that Intel was opening a new engineering center in India that was going to employ at least a few thousand locals.

    Nowhere in these articles did I find any mention that Intel was going to go out and rehire engineering or tech people that it had previously laid off. How many ex-engineers and techies -- very highly skilled ex-engineers and techies -- are working as baristas and grocery-baggers these days?

    Whenever I hear the name Andy Grove now, one word consistently comes to mind: Hypocrite.

    Know what, though? There's a hidden irony, and it is one that is, one day, going to come back to bite the crap out of the companies that insist on selling themselves and our country's manufacturing base out to offshore interests.

    The standard reasoning for going offshore is to save money. There are all kinds of 'official' reasons for doing so, but it usually just comes down to greed on the part of the corporate bigwigs.

    When you ship work offshore, you start raising the standard of living in the countries that you're opening branches in. You're giving lots of locals a steady job and income, which raises spending and the tax base. Things in that country start getting more expensive (in other words, inflation creeps in as it does with any functioning economy).

    What do you think is going to happen when the standard of living in whatever country gets high enough? It's going to get just as expensive to manufacture offshore as it was ONshore. Any savings that were once gained from offshoring are going to evaporate.

    I'm just waiting and watching (from a very stable position in civil service, thankfully) for the whole structure of offshoring and outsourcing to implode under its own weight, and I'm willing to bet that the companies that once embraced the idea won't be able to handle it any better than they handled the dot-bomb meltdown.

    Break out the popcorn...

  • by Deviant ( 1501 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @08:50PM (#14977320)
    I am back at University at 24 because after 4 years in IT I really started to believe it was a dead end. Now I am studying secondary humanities education - teaching can't be outsourced and provides much greater stability and benefits in the long run. It is a career that will still be there in 40 years and I couldn't be sure of that with IT.

    The way I see it the field is being attacked from two directions. I think that the software is going to get good enough where most of the mundane management tasks will be automated away. It will require a skilled engineer or two to come in and set it up and then it will practically run itself. I think that MS will compete with linux/unix on the server side with a OS that is smarter and easier to manage - and with their resources I think they will succeed at least to the point of needing fewer human resrouces in IT in many oranizations. Their advertising to managment will be something like buy Server 2010 and you will need less than half the IT people. Even that initial setup of this new infrastructure may well be done by the services arm of an IBM, HP, Sun or the like bundled with the purchase of the software/hardware. The lower level end-user support over the phone for larger organizations will be offshored (I worked for a large international bank and that had already happened to their Helpdesk. It was in the process of working its way up from there) and the smaller ones won't pay much for local helpdesk staff.

    There will be a few niche jobs where buisinesses either prefer or are required to have somebody local and onsite - like law firms, government or the defense contractors - but in the end I think there are too many competant people out there and will not be enough jobs for them all to remain in the field in 10-15 years time as things progress down their current road.

    I hope that I am wrong but I felt not making the change now while I can would be gambling with my career and my future. You can say what you want about teaching but it is much less of a gamble...

At work, the authority of a person is inversely proportional to the number of pens that person is carrying.