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IT Workers Cushioned From US Economic Downturn

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the employment-tends-to-be-binary-though dept.

Businesses 357

DontLickJesus writes "According to the AP, technology has been the least hardest hit by the U.S.'s recent economic downturn. Quote: '"Overall technology employment is up in America and the wages associated with it are up," said John McCarthy, a vice president with Forrester Research.' The article goes on to say that companies realize the worth of their [IT] staff. This paired along with a recent article regarding the value of data centers when selling a company leads one to believe that the business world, while historically not fond of IT workers, is showing its true opinion of the sector."

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Vote Cthulhu (-1, Flamebait)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096229)

The financial crisis is a strong indictment of Sarah Palin's inexperience.
Why, if she were making policy, the bailout would be at least twice the size of the GDP, instead of the mere $700 billion-ish that was the last "conservative" estimate I saw.
Furthermore, if she were in office, the house of cards would have come tumbling down in nine months at most, instead of the several decades it took to brew under various regimes since 1977 [theanchoressonline.com] , despite all of the calls for reform [blogspot.com] .
Yep, bringing in somebody from outside to do some house cleaning is the last thing we need now.
Which is why, this year, I will not vote for the lesser evil. [cthulhu.org]
Cthulhu is beyond questions of gender or race: all will be devoured. Now that is a moral exquivalency we can all feel, briefly.

Experience brought us where we are today (0, Offtopic)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096287)

The financial crisis is a strong indictment of Sarah Palin's inexperience.

How so? It was the "Experienced" washington people that drove policy to allow lending to people who otherwise would not have got such large lines of credit. You can ask Biden about that. McCain tried to warn us all about four of five years ago that the two FM's were headed for disaster but many Democrats and Republicans headed him off at the pass.

Furthermore Palin being a libertarian, would be against forcing private entities to loan money to people they otherwise would not approve on a financial basis.

We'd all be a lot better off with Palin as president where less government intervention into financial entities would be tolerated. MCCain too I guess, but I'd prefer Palin - and a vote for McCain today is a vote for a chance to put Palin in in four years.

Re:Experience brought us where we are today (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25096325)

(psst: follow the links)

Good point (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096397)

Ah yes, I missed the original intent of the post...

Re:Experience brought us where we are today (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25096721)

Palin being a libertarian, would be against forcing private entities to loan money to people they otherwise would not approve on a financial basis.

Funny how being a libertarian would make her oppose forcing them to lend money they don't want, but make her think that it's OK to interfere with them in other ways ("The McCain-Palin administration will make them smaller and smarter and more effective for homeowners who need help.")

We'd all be a lot better off with Palin as president where less government intervention into financial entities would be tolerated.

As per the above quote, what color is the sky in your world?

Re:Experience brought us where we are today (0, Offtopic)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 6 years ago | (#25097003)

The McCain-Palin administration

Or, as Mrs Palin aptly put it on Friday, "My administration..."

I bet that makes John McCain even more dyspeptic.

Re:Experience brought us where we are today (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25096841)

Furthermore Palin being a libertarian....

Wait, Palin is a libertarian now? I know that she and McCain are constantly changing their positions on issues, but that's just crazy. How does one go from being a Bush Republican to a libertarian in just a month?

Re:Experience brought us where we are today (3, Insightful)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 6 years ago | (#25097153)

Wait, Palin is a libertarian now? I know that she and McCain are constantly changing their positions on issues, but that's just crazy. How does one go from being a Bush Republican to a libertarian in just a month?

No more changing than any other politican including Obama (e.g. to drill or not to drill). The question is, how do you determine whether they changed their opinion on issues to get votes or whether they legimiately received new information which changes their view on an issue and then telling the public about it? People do change their minds. The question is whether they really changed them or they just said they do.

Re:Experience brought us where we are today (0, Flamebait)

db32 (862117) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096859)

AAAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Ok first. CRA is being trotted out in a last ditch attempt by Republicans to salvage this fucking disaster of 8 years and blame this on Democrats. Even a few minutes of research would debunk that silly shit. Most of the subprime/ARM deals were made by banks NOT REGULATED by CRA. Then, in 2003 when Bush started positioning the Fed to back Fannie/Freddie IT GOT WORSE. These assholes made a run for the money thinking the feds had their back. Of course, they eventually did, and even Republicans in Congress are pissed.

Palin as a libertarian is the most hilarious piece of shit I have read in months. That would be why she fired the entire commission for trying to shut down a state run business that was losing money in Alaska right? Or maybe her dealings with Internet Tubes Stevens with all of that bridge to nowhere money. Seriously...trying to pass her off as a libertarian has got to be the funniest God damned thing I have heard about that goofy bitch since she made the scene.

Palin as president is the nightmare of anyone with an IQ over a gerbil. Unless of course you too ignore the facts as well as she does. Put creationism in the science class and take sex education out! Ugh... Rampant corruption from another religious fundamentalist is not what anyone needs.

Re:Experience brought us where we are today (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#25097035)

Nice rant ... but how do you really feel?

Go ahead, let it out - we're here for you.

Read again confused one - Democrat and Republican (2, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 6 years ago | (#25097077)

CRA is being trotted out in a last ditch attempt by Republicans to salvage this fucking disaster of 8 years and blame this on Democrats.

Excuse me, but who has been in control of the house and senate for the past four years?

Beyond that bit of obvious fact that has eluded you, note that I blamed both feckless Democrats AND Republicans who could have both acted long ago (or more like, never acted to start with). There were some Democrats with similar concerns as well, but since they were in power they bear more culpability in my mind for doing nothing as the crisis grew more and more obvious. One year ago Fannie Mae was a burning tower of fire for those who cared to look. Even Obama saw it.

Re:Experience brought us where we are today (5, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 6 years ago | (#25097103)

A few phrases that should never be uttered again in American public life:

"Free Markets"

"Deregulation"

"Privatization"

And the name "Milton Friedman" should be never be spoken in business schools again, except to show just how wrong someone can be. Turns out "Free Markets" were nothing more than a mechanism for squeezing wealth out of the lower 95% of the population and pouring it into the pockets of the top 5%.

It's amazing how suddenly socialism looks good when rich guys are looking at losing a lot of money.

I truly hope that whatever bailout package gets approved includes some very punitive measures for the Wall Street CEOs and CFOs who got into this mess. Anybody who stands to gain from this bailout should be forced to go to the same credit counseling classes that regular people who file bankruptcy must attend. Also, several hundred hours of community service would also be appropriate.

Do you know that the executives from Lehman Brothers and AIG are still going to take home multi-million dollar bonus packages this year?

Yes, I'm talking about Class Warfare. As Warren Buffet famously said: "There's Class Warfare, and my side is winning." In fact, it was the rich and the GOP who declared class war on the rest of us back when Ronald Reagan took office. Well, now it's time to show them what it feels like to be in a war.

Re:Experience brought us where we are today (5, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096985)

McCain tried to warn us all about four of five years ago that the two FM's were headed for disaster but many Democrats and Republicans headed him off at the pass.

That is an absolute lie.

John McCain has been nothing but a cheerleader for the Reaganomics that has caused this debacle. He's been for privatization, deregulation and tax cuts. In fact, there's a video going around on YouTube the last few days where John McCain is giving very energetic (as much as he can be energetic) support for the privatization of Social Security.

Even someone as far conservative as George Will today has said that John McCain has just been an utter failure on economic issues and has done nothing but sputter and froth when we really need someone who's going to be a little more thoughtful. If you don't believe me, go watch the video of today's This Week on ABC. Listen closely to what George Will says.

Sarah Palin has become little more than a circus sideshow. She's actually become the candidate (out of the main four) with the LEAST approval. She slid 10 points in public approval in just three days last week. There is evidence that having her on the ticket is losing votes for McCain in more than one swing state. His Hail Mary Pass has fallen incomplete. Now that the convention "bump" after the RNC Crystal Night has passed, all the polls are trending Obama, including the most important electoral college numbers.

My only fear is that the only Hail Mary pass that the GOP has left requires a body count.

By the way, did you know that on Sept 18, just a few days ago, George Bush extended the national state of emergency that he put in place on Sept 23, 2001 for another year? Go to whitehouse.gov and look at the daily press releases and executive orders for Sept 18. There it is, big as life. Who even knew that we have been under a state of emergency since 9/11?

Re:Experience brought us where we are today (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 6 years ago | (#25097043)

John McCain has been nothing but a cheerleader for the Reaganomics

We are in total agreement.

The only problem is that the financial crisis we see today is the result of the exact opposite of hands-off Reganomics. It takes a lot of government propping-up to build an entity as ginormus as Fannie Mae. Reagan would not have stood for it.

Bah, I caught Cthulhu and Obama siponing gas... (-1, Troll)

AmazingRuss (555076) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096313)

...out of my car again this morning. You'd think a guy with the power to destroy the world and a guy with 450 million in campaign contributions could buy their own damn gas but NOOOO.

Re:Bah, I caught Cthulhu and Obama siponing gas... (0, Offtopic)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096345)

s/sipon/siphon/
Gasoline is not for internal use, I don't care how much corn is used.

Lingering Effects of 2001-2003? (5, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096269)

Perhaps because during 2001-2003 they sliced back so much IT staff that they still have not finished catching up? Also many IT people went into other fields or back to school during that time, reducing the supply, meaning there is less chance of oversupply this time around.

Re:Lingering Effects of 2001-2003? (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096353)

Perhaps because during 2001-2003 they sliced back so much IT staff that they still have not finished catching up? Also many IT people went into other fields or back to school during that time, reducing the supply, meaning there is less chance of oversupply this time around.

Most likely because in a downturn*, 'IT' is the cheapeast way to increase productivity, especially if you have to fire people.

*Because there is increased pressure to create/find efficiencies, not because IT is somehow cheaper during a downturn than during an upturn.

Re:Lingering Effects of 2001-2003? (3, Insightful)

vitaflo (20507) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096439)

Most likely because in a downturn*, 'IT' is the cheapeast way to increase productivity, especially if you have to fire people.

*Because there is increased pressure to create/find efficiencies, not because IT is somehow cheaper during a downturn than during an upturn.

I think it's a bit of both. Obviously people are looking for efficiencies when times get tight. Investing in technical solutions is one way to do that.

But I also think the dot-com bust helped as well. There are far fewer people in tech jobs than there used to be. Those that survived the bust are most likely more qualified as well (at least compared to those who were only in it to make a buck in the late 90's).

So, it comes down to supply and demand. At least, I've noticed this where I live. Business is very good right now, and doesn't seem to be slowing up.

Re:Lingering Effects of 2001-2003? (4, Interesting)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096487)

Most likely because in a downturn*, 'IT' is the cheapeast way to increase productivity, especially if you have to fire people.

During the dot-com downturn, most businesses just let the existing software run as-is, without adding features. Thus, they only had to pay for skeleton-crew maintenance, not new features. Whether this is the best strategy or not profit-wise, I couldn't say. But it's what companies actually did regardless of merit.

Note that new features generally takes some up-front investment, and if you are in financial hot-water, you don't spend for such projects because the company may not survive long enough to see the up-front investment pay off.

Smarter companies would sock some cash away so that they could get new technology while techies are cheaper. Instead they usually wait until the middle of a boom and then whine to congress that they need H1B's.
     

Re:Lingering Effects of 2001-2003? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25097019)

> Smarter companies would sock some cash away so that they could get new technology while techies are cheaper.

Companies rely on cashflow, not socks of cash.

Re:Lingering Effects of 2001-2003? (2, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 6 years ago | (#25097133)

Oh, IT workers will be OK through this downturn.

Just not American IT workers.

Didn't I just see that HP laid off 26,000 workers last week? And now Carly Fiorina is one of John McCain's advisors. He knows how to pick 'em, no?

Re:Lingering Effects of 2001-2003? (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096807)

The AP writer is funny. It's like she didn't even live on this planet for the last 7.5 years, and doesn't understand the 600,000+ IT workers that lost their jobs to the flooding of services from overseas outsourcing. I can't help but wonder if the loss of circulation for newspapers is because the reporters don't read the paper?

Re:Lingering Effects of 2001-2003? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25096863)

Maybe it's because the excess growth in this bubble was in real estate and financial services, and not in vacuous Internet companies. As the contraction of credit ripples through the economy in the next two years there is still plenty of room for reduced growth or declines in IT, along with every other sector of the economy.

Re:Lingering Effects of 2001-2003? (1)

apoc.famine (621563) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096921)

I hopped on to post a similar (but snarkier, "Because unemployment benefits weren't affected.") comment when I saw your timeframe. That was the period when my company randomly laid off 5% of its workforce, me included. That was my last stint in IT - I've been in education since, and it's highly unlikely I'll ever go back.

The real truth is that the IT industry got well gutted in the last seven years or so. Hard to trim any more since a large amount is bare-bones. I don't know many IT people who say their dept is overstaffed - it's understaffed for just about everyone I know.

Re:Lingering Effects of 2001-2003? (1)

Plutonite (999141) | more than 6 years ago | (#25097167)

Perhaps because during 2001-2003 they sliced back so much IT staff that they still have not finished catching up?

This is why anything involving economics and stats is so darn hard. It's difficult to find evidence for something when your "universe" is one huge chaotic system where different perspectives realize the same activities.

Was it the cut back several years back? Or is it that IT is becoming vital due to the natural maturing of the industry and civilization (effects of 1960's inventions and work)? Or maybe it is [unbelievably] this administration's policies? Or the previous one's?

I disagree (1, Interesting)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096271)

IT professionals have been hit very hard and nowhere is this more evident than in Phoenix, where I live. Salaries are down again. Can you believe that help desk technicians and professionals are getting 12.00 an hour!? I could make this amount of money working as an Armored Car Guard and not work as hard. This is very sad. Don't believe this article .... I sure don't.

Re:I disagree (4, Insightful)

realmolo (574068) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096401)

Well, help desk technicians are worth about $12/hour, honestly.

"Help Desk" is the low-end of the IT totem pole. It's a job that requires few qualifications beyond "Knows how to install software and update drivers".

I think the bigger fear that people with IT careers (myself included) is the inevitable deployment of high-speed fiber networks. For MANY businesses, having nothing but "terminals" that run apps on remote servers (which would probably be running under VMs) would be a huge cost savings, and probably more reliable, too.

It costs a lot of money to have a really reliable network, and the staff to maintain it. Why not pay some other company to do all that, and enjoy the economies of scale that they can offer?

Re:I disagree (3, Interesting)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096631)

For MANY businesses, having nothing but "terminals" that run apps on remote servers (which would probably be running under VMs) would be a huge cost savings, and probably more reliable, too.

But most special apps are not designed to work this way. We find that Cytrix is still buggy technology. Graphics-intensive apps are also poor ran remotely. It's a great dream, but we are not there yet.
     

Re:I disagree (2, Insightful)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 6 years ago | (#25097141)

Software licenses aren't ready for thin clients either in a lot of software. In a computing environment where most of the software is expensive non-office type applications, thin clients will never be deployed widely or effectively.

As more large financial firms and non-technology companies fail for financial reasons, the small and medium companies will dominate what type of computer systems are required. Most of these companies cannot afford the infrastructure requirements of thin clients.

I disagree as well (3, Interesting)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096675)

I disagree with you.

Helpdesk has nothing to do with it, on the base. You forgot that cost of living varies drastically across the entire country.

$12/hr might be survivable in Virginia or Texas, but in Chicago people have a hard time surviving on $18-20/hr.

When the cheapest food to survive a day runs around 1-2$ (thus about 4-6$ a day foodwise) and gas runs almost 4$, trust me that 12$/hr helpdesk job will not keep people afloat, even if it was $12/hr cash.

Don't forget that employers employ people to make a profit, not a loss; thus $12/hr is probably turning about$20-50/hr profit.

Helpdesk itself varies from company to company. I know on mine some ofo the employees are borderline retarded and helpdesk has to show them anything more complex than what a mouse is.

Why pay another company? Well, ever heard of Unisys? Lets just say you pay for what you get. Those suckers can barely speak english, and about 1 in 20 of them are competent. Their managers are good IT helpdesk. The rest don't understand you, don't listen, don't know how to do their job, and good luck understanding them.

Guess how many companies offshore to unisys? Tons.

Re:I disagree as well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25097185)

Don't forget that employers employ people to make a profit, not a loss; thus $12/hr is probably turning about$20-50/hr profit.

And how much per hour in profit does HR make the company?

What about the Janitorial crew? Dusting those lampshades and vacuuming at night must bring big$$ into the company, or they wouldn't be there, right?

Re:I disagree (4, Informative)

syousef (465911) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096821)

It costs a lot of money to have a really reliable network, and the staff to maintain it. Why not pay some other company to do all that, and enjoy the economies of scale that they can offer?

Because inevitably when you take something that your business relies on and outsource to the lowest bidder, it gets done badly and your business suffers (sometimes irreparably). Take it from someone who works on a system that was outsourced, then insourced again long before outsourcing became trendy.

Re:I disagree (3, Informative)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 6 years ago | (#25097063)

Well, help desk technicians are worth about $12/hour, honestly. "Help Desk" is the low-end of the IT totem pole. It's a job that requires few qualifications beyond "Knows how to install software and update drivers".

I disagree, even working first line tech support requires a lot more knowledge than that, and in most places (outside of the typical IT "hot spots" like San Francisco) there is enough competition for IT jobs that a lot of first line techs for ISPs will have a lot more knowledge than what is required to do their jobs but will still come off as dimwitted when talking to users since management doesn't give a crap about supplying them with information,

I've experienced an ISP changing the type of CPE they use and not providing tech support with any information about this until customers started calling in about it and the tech support team complained and asked for information about the new CPEs. And even then the only information given for several months was "Yeah, it's a xxx brand converter, model yyy", detailed technical information (and pictures and sample units) wasn't given until almost six months after the introduction, and by then we'd pretty much figured out everything by the answers given by higher-level techs in tickets and just keeping track of what information we could get from the customers.

This btw, was not an isolated incident, many companies simply don't supply their tech support departments (or outsourced tech support) with enough information to do their jobs properly, and then when something goes wrong they blame it on incompetence from tech support. I don't know how many scheduled outages (maintenance) I've seen reported to the NOC only to have someone from upper management send a department-wide email essentially telling all the techs that they're idiots for not knowing about the planned outage even though no information about the outage was given, or when upper management refuses to put information about any outages on the ISPs website because that would be admitting that there's a problem...

A lot of what one does when working tech support or helpdesk is to constantly try to figure out how things work since no one bothers to tell you anything (and why would they, everyone knows that tech support is just a bunch of high school dropouts, err, what? most of you guys are college educated? That can't be... LIES! I will not let reality interfere with my preconceived notions! Shut up or you're all fired! Also, keep smiling, here at MajorISP Inc we all like our jobs! It's company policy damnit!).

Yes, I'm bitter, I've had way too much contact with endusers and unreasonable management over the last couple of years, and not just in one company either, it seems to be an industry-wide trend.

/Mikael

Re:I disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25097171)

Low end? Yes, expectations for helldesk people are commonly quite low. They usually also perform that way - suck. To get actually good helldesk personnel you have to pay more. At least couple times more. At that point, it's not very much low end anymore I'd say.

Re:I disagree (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096413)

IT professionals have been hit very hard and nowhere is this more evident than in Phoenix, where I live.

That's a great anecdote.
Now how about you show us some information which proves your one data point reflects the entire US economy.
You know, something tangible to refute the Labor Dept and TFA's quote from the VP & Principal Analyst of Forrester Research.

Re:I disagree (1)

phoenixwade (997892) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096801)

IT professionals have been hit very hard and nowhere is this more evident than in Phoenix, where I live.

That's a great anecdote.
Now how about you show us some information which proves your one data point reflects the entire US economy.
You know, something tangible to refute the Labor Dept and TFA's quote from the VP & Principal Analyst of Forrester Research.

You said "Data Point" to a help desk CSR. If you want to get your point across, you need to supply a link to a service script tree.

Re:I disagree (3, Funny)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096473)

To be fair that is only one area out of a huge country and it might not even be true of that whole area as I assume you don't go door to door and poll ever IT worker.

Secondly, working the help desk is fairly easily stuff. Anyone can do it. In fact, the latest trend in IT is to train monkeys to do help desk work. It's even cheaper than out sourcing, keeps wages in the country and there is little difference between the monkey's performance and any other help desk technician.

Re:I disagree (3, Insightful)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096477)

This is the problem with "IT." It encompasses too many positions. IMHO, a help desk tech really isn't IT anymore. That's a common job many teenagers nowadays can do with a little training out of school.

Now, if you want to talk about 'professionals' like skilled developers or engineers I think for the most part they are doing fine (or at least better than average since the economy is pretty crappy atm). For example, my company has a hiring freeze on right now, except for my team. We're trying to find more mid-level software developers. I'm about ready to give up since it seems like no one can actually do anything they say on their resume. /sigh

Re:I disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25096657)

I live in Phoenix as a firmware engineer. We are trying to hire another qualified firmware guy and simply cannot find one, even though we pay well (~100K) and are in a fast-growing industry.

Re:I disagree (1)

adamchou (993073) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096803)

At my company, I've actually had a freeze put on hiring any more developers. However, the freeze is because they can't fit any more in our office. We're trying to move to a bigger office so we can hire more. So I'm right there with you, developers and IT staff are still doing well.

Re:I disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25096561)

One data point doesn't make a very good sample size. This May a friend of mine graduated from an Ivy league grad student program (a good Ivy, not like Brown or some shit) related to tech and music, having gotten her undergrad in CS and worked a year or so in software before grad school. She went looking for a music and software related contract job and the first guy she met told her that her $40-45/hr. range was way too high for her. That managed to get her nervous but I told her that $45/hr. is an okay but not great pay for her in NYC. Sure enough, she applied for a total of two more jobs and got offers for both of them - in fact, when she accepted one and rejected the other, the rejected one asked her if she could work on it part-time. My point isn't the wages in NYC, but that you can't really trust data from one or a few samples. Even if you're correct about all of Phoenix IT wages going downhill, that's not much of an indicator of the national scene.

Also, don't dismiss jobs you haven't done as requiring you to "not work as hard." After putting in seven years as a software engineer for one company, I decided I need a break from the industry and went to work at the specialty section of a Whole Foods. It was pretty much the snootiest section at the snootiest national grocery chain - cheese, caviar, wine, beer, high-end chocolates, olives, etcetera. Working 40 hours a week at that job took as much out of me and took over my life just as much as during my early years at the software company, when I was working 70 hours a week regularly.

salaries down EVERYWHERE man (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096649)

not only in u.s.

its simple supply and demand. as i.t. field got established, a lot of people entered the field. hence salaries dropped.

anyone who thought whopping wages of 90s would continue, were naive.

Feels good, doesn't it? (1)

Haoie (1277294) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096273)

Spare a thought for us who don't work in IT though, we're still feeling the pinch. My company is laying off an entire 10% of the employee base over the next few months.

Bubblenomics (4, Interesting)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096311)

Spare a thought for us who don't work in IT though, we're still feeling the pinch. My company is laying off an entire 10% of the employee base over the next few months.

Because our economy appears to be driven by bubbles after the 1970's, different recessions seem to sock different professions. Programmers got hit in the 2001-2003 poppage. This time finance people are getting smacked by bubblenomics.

We all get our turn.
           

Re:Bubblenomics (5, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096481)

This time finance people are getting smacked by bubblenomics. We all get our turn.

Please please pretty please (with cherries on top and extra sugar) let it be the lawyers next!

Re:Bubblenomics (1)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096813)

Well, everyone accept for New York County Lawyer. Anti-*iaa lawyers kicks ass.

Re:Bubblenomics (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096855)

We all get our turn

Please please pretty please (with cherries on top and extra sugar) let it be the lawyers next!

Nah, they'd just sue the country/company/government/politician/industry to get their status back. They have weapons we don't.
     

Re:Bubblenomics (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25096791)

This time finance people are getting smacked by bubblenomics.

Nothing like multimillion dollar bonuses to cushion the blow.

Finance people have driven multibillion dollar firms that have been around for decades into the ground. That takes talent. No dotcom bubble compares to this.

Re:Feels good, doesn't it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25096645)

Yeah, this recalls the old line about "a recession is when your neighbor loses his job, a depression is when you lose yours." Of course, the economy is interconnected so that tough times in one sector tends to impact all the other sectors - less business for computer companies for example.

And this time around, the safety net advice of "maybe you can get a real estate license" can be rejected out of hand. But maybe some of your laid-off coworkers could teach secondary school...

I've been wondering (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25096303)

...why I feel insulated from this thing... it can't last forever. More and more of our friends are starting to have problems with credit cards, mortgages, evictions, etc. etc. And here I am still blowing $300 a week on weed and doing fine. Yes I think I will check the AC checkbox now.

Re:I've been wondering (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25096643)

...I am still blowing $300 a week on weed...
I've been wondering why I feel insulated from this thing...

Maybe because you're HIGH, moron.

Re:I've been wondering (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25096983)

ROTFLMAO

Cusioned? (3, Insightful)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096323)

I don't think that you're cusioned until the government bails you out with $700,000,000,000.

Sorry, I don't appreciate being forced to work for a living with unpaid overtime, while someone else gets free money.

Re:Cusioned? (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096339)

Ugh. I can't believe that I misspelled cushioned. Sorry. :^(

I should have put a period between "Sorry" and "I".

Re:Cusioned? (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096713)

I'd be more worried about that "sincerety [reference.com] " in your sig, if I were you :)

Re:Cusioned? (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 6 years ago | (#25097091)

Wow...that's weird. The page didn't even highlight my mistake. Some web sites point out that the word wasn't found, etc.

Oh, my goodness.

Thanks. I really appreciate it.

Re:Cusioned? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096403)

The 700b bailout is not really free money, but more like a subsidized loan. Similar loan programs happened during the great depression and during the 1987 S&L scandal. The great depression collections actually broke even, but the S&L resulted in a net loss to the taxpayers. Thus, based on history, tax-payers will probably get most of the money back, but maybe not all. We may be kissing say 200b of that 700b goodbye forever, but lets hope we get lucky. (I'll see if I can find a related article to link to.)

Re:Cusioned? (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096935)

Thanks for commenting. I got my information from here.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2008-09/21/content_7044535.htm [chinadaily.com.cn]

It mentioned, "The Bush administration asked Congress on Saturday for the power to buy $700 billion in toxic assets clogging the financial system and threatening the economy as negotiations began on the largest bailout since the Great Depression.". Since the word "buy" was used, I didn't think that anything would be paid back.

Thanks for commenting.

Re:Cusioned? (-1, Troll)

n3tcat (664243) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096635)

Selfish. That's the word you should learn to appreciate. Somewhere in the world some poor person was just given $5. Are you pissed that they got that money too? What about the old lady that someone just helped take out the garbage for? Or the fucking prick of a bastard who just won the lottery? That's their life. Not yours. You're being too self centered to think on the scale of more than 5 zeros.

Re:Cusioned? (5, Insightful)

Glonoinha (587375) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096693)

It's not that other people are getting 'free money' that's on his nerves. It's where this 'free money' is coming from - guess what, it's coming out of his ass in the form of an extra $5,000 worth of income taxes next April 15th. Mine too. Yours too.

If the government gives me $100 in 'free money' - as you say that really doesn't concern you personally. Unless they dip right into your checking account and take it right out of your pocket to give it to me. Then it's something for you to get pissed about.

Make sense now?

Re:Cusioned? (2, Insightful)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096993)

Thank you for clarifying.

Here's a disclaimer, though. I'm Canadian. However, I know for a fact that this impacts me indirectly.

Also, in the classic debate about the free market, and whether or not it's okay, this just stinks of hypocrisy. How can we honestly tell somebody who has nothing to get off the dole, while we dish out billions to big business?

That being said, if this is actually just a loan, then it's bad, but not as bad as a free hand out.

Thanks again for clarifying. I really do appreciate it.

Re:Cusioned? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#25097175)

It's not that other people are getting 'free money' that's on his nerves. It's where this 'free money' is coming from - guess what, it's coming out of his ass in the form of an extra $5,000 worth of income taxes next April 15th. Mine too. Yours too.

And if there's a general economic meltdown, you don't think those $5,000 are also going to come out of his ass through inflation, decreased salary, etc?

It's not like the alternative to "bail out the fuck ups" is "don't do anything and we'll be fine while the fuck ups get burnt".

If the government gives me $100 in 'free money' - as you say that really doesn't concern you personally. Unless they dip right into your checking account and take it right out of your pocket to give it to me. Then it's something for you to get pissed about.

What do you think that last stimulus package was?
It was a $600 advance on your tax refund, unless you aren't eligible for a tax refund, in which case it is a gift courtesy of the US Taxpayer. And the Democrats are considering another economic stimulus package.

Re:Cusioned? (-1, Troll)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096989)

---Selfish. That's the word you should learn to appreciate.

Intelligence. That's the word you should learn.

---Somewhere in the world some poor person was just given $5.

Good on them. Someone choose freely to give and the poor person chose freely to accept.

---Or the fucking prick of a bastard who just won the lottery?

Did you know that the lottery does not work when people do not buy tickets? That, and people chose to buy tickets.

---That's their life. Not yours. You're being too self centered to think on the scale of more than 5 zeros.

There's a few of us who believe that "People" (in the loosest sense of the word) should be financially responsible. These banks were not. They lied and cheated and they lost. Instead of letting them fail and 'the market to correct itself', the government bails them out in the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars.

This money comes from 2 places: The People, and The People. We'll feel this bailout via taxes come April 15. But that's the small tax. The government can tax everybody equally. They just print more. There aint no such thing as a free lunch, and that includes Us. Our Dollar will be yet more devalued, and people will be none-the-wiser. They will still have X dollars, but trading them requires more.

Greenspan warned about that very idea of indirect taxation, but nobody listens to him any more.

Re:Cusioned? (2, Insightful)

lazy_playboy (236084) | more than 6 years ago | (#25097177)

Agreeing to print more money is nothing more than, 'yup, we fucked the economy big time'. It's not an answer, it's just fucking things up even more for longer.

Still, I hear Zimbabwe has some good experience with money printing. Maybe we can learn some economics from them?

Re:Cusioned? (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 6 years ago | (#25097029)

Volunteer work and donations are fine. Just keep the government out of this. That's all. I do a lot of volunteer work.

If the government "has to" give out money, then why doesn't it just give money out to the middle class?

Re:Cusioned? (1)

lazy_playboy (236084) | more than 6 years ago | (#25097123)

Are you expecting to get the economy saved for nothing?

Either it tanks to a major recession, or your tax dollars are used to avoid it (temporarily at least).
tl;dr: both are bad for you personally.

Nothing is for nothing.

your fault (0, Flamebait)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096667)

you people shouldnt have voted the party that let financial sector do anything they want, employing an unseen 'hands off' policy.

and now you pay. dont do it next time.

Re:your fault (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 6 years ago | (#25097049)

I'm Canadian, but yeah, you're right. I just knew that I shouldn't have voted in your election. ;^p

Seriously, though, no hard feelings, okay?

Great! about time... (1)

ratbert6 (515555) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096329)

Unlike 2001 after the dot com bust. IT was in a shambles with job losses everywhere, no relief in site and then followed by 9/11.

The Shrub was quick to protect airline workers AND EXTEND their unemployment benefits while my benefits were expiring, money running out, certainly no new prospects with the further collapse in the market due to 9/11.

I felt great for the airline employees getting taken care of, while I prepared to move myself OUT of the IT field as a defensive measure.

I'll probably never make the same kind of money again, but I'm much happier overall, and I'll never go back to an IT based career.

Good luck to all still trying to make a living completely unappreciated - worse than plumbers but just as necessary.

Re:Great! about time... (4, Insightful)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096393)

Good luck to all still trying to make a living completely unappreciated - worse than plumbers but just as necessary.

At least the plumbers can't be outsourced.

Re:Great! about time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25096609)

I dunno ... for what plumbers make, we may find the H-1B program expanded to include Indian plumbers.

When you have fewer people you need computers more (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096365)

Companies have been cutting back staff to conserve money. But the truth is they want to accomplish the same amount, if not more, of work - and that means relying more on computers to multiply the effect of what workers remain.

Furthermore when it comes down to it, companies realize the large staffs they built up to manage overseas workers are less effective than just having a few dedicated IT people on staff, or use local consulting without so much overhead. Outsourcing overseas was always a luxury item and companies are coming to realize that.

Re:When you have fewer people you need computers m (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096577)

Between about 2002 and 2006, offshoring indeed did seem to have a kind of fad mentality behind it. While I agree companies can make effective use of offshore labor, they usually picked the wrong projects or tasks to offshore.

The tasks easiest to offshore are those that take the least amount of time or questions to explain. For example, "find out why this routine is crashing when I enter 7" is easy to describe and does not require a lot of back-and-forth discussion. "Implement this based on the boss's fuzzy memo" on the other hands is going to require a lot of questions and explanation, and is thus a poor candidate for offshoring.

Re:When you have fewer people you need computers m (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25096777)

he tasks easiest to offshore are those that take the least amount of time or questions to explain. For example, "find out why this routine is crashing when I enter 7" is easy to describe and does not require a lot of back-and-forth discussion.

Ha ... if that were true, explain Comcast to me.

Re:When you have fewer people you need computers m (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096805)

Nobody can explain Comcast, not even themselves :-)
   

No company uses offshoring in that way (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 6 years ago | (#25097011)

For example, "find out why this routine is crashing when I enter 7" is easy to describe and does not require a lot of back-and-forth discussion.

I totally disagree.

It's possible that sometimes, finding the answer to why a routine crashes might be able to be determined without much discussion.

But the solution to fix the code based on the answer DOES require a lot of back and forth, and ideally experience in the codebase. In fact 99% of the time the answer to a question like that is found easily in the logs, or spending 5 minutes with a debugger.

And that is why companies do not, and cannot, use offshoring companies in the manner you describe - because while they could indeed find the answer without much input, they cannot find the SOLUTION without much more interaction - interaction that is increasingly recognized to be expensive.

Think of offshoring like SOAP, and local consulting/employees as REST, and you'll have the five year picture laid out for you.

It's too early to say (4, Insightful)

Wansu (846) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096423)

This is just the start of it. It's way too early to crow.

Our end of the boat may not be taking on water yet but the ship is sinking, the brass band is playing and politicians are fighting over the deck chairs.

Re:It's too early to say (2, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096701)

but the ship is sinking, the brass band is playing and politicians are fighting over the deck chairs.

Gee, that would make a great movie.....oh wait.
     

Re:It's too early to say (4, Insightful)

phillymjs (234426) | more than 6 years ago | (#25097121)

The politicians aren't fighting over the deck chairs, they're lined up calmly at the lifeboats and telling us to all go back down to steerage, because there's nothing to worry about.

Do I see a plural there? (2, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096437)

IT Workers Cushioned From US Economic Downturn

That's good news for both of them!

Right, whatever you say interwebs... (1)

jeremiahstanley (473105) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096515)

I call bullshit on this. Most people I know who have lost their jobs have been sucking up anything making $10k less per year as it's better than nothing. Least hit, that comforting as I know at least 5 techies who are under or unemployed while everyone I know in any other "sector" is having no issues.

Re:Right, whatever you say interwebs... (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096605)

"IT" is a term that englobes too many positions. I know here that anything hardware or network related is kindda down... companies train their in-house techy staff to keep it working until they have more money to replace the sysadmin and the hardware techs, while abusing VMWare and stuff like nuts when a machine goes down instead of replacing it...

In the software development, and moreso, software maintenance fields though... There was a big boom early this year, and it went down a bit with the threat of recession, but the boom is back now that companies want to enhance their existing infrastructure instead of getting new ones (which is takes more people in house, but less integrator and consultants than a new system, etc).

On top of the usual boom that happens at the end of each year (replacing all of the per-year consultants that quit, etc), software developers really don't have any issues unless they suck or live in an area that was more heavily affected than most.

*Cough/BULLSHIT/Cough* (3, Informative)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096523)

What a bunch of crap.

Companies are delaying/canceling IT projects all over the place. My company had a client last week, whine about needing a server upgrade, but cant do it because we actually charge for that shit. Says, if we would be willing to do the work for free, we can make it up on follow-on work next time around. We don't work for free, so his org will pound sand, or find some starving IT workers on Craiglist to do the work for Top Ramen. Fuck em. (yeah you, asshole, I KNOW you read Slashdot. Don't call me when your cheap-ass SATA-driven MOSS server goes tits up, baby.)

Nobody is willing to spend any money, which will only cost them down the road. IT requires investment in systems, people and maintenance. Skip on one, pay double for the others later.

IT is not just employees. Consultants are taking it in the shorts too.

Re:*Cough/BULLSHIT/Cough* (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096779)

Don't call me when your cheap-ass SATA-driven MOSS server goes tits up, baby.) Nobody is willing to spend any money, which will only cost them down the road. IT requires investment in systems, people and maintenance. Skip on one, pay double for the others later.

It's called "future value" in finance theory. Money today is deemed more valuable than money tomorrow. True, your company may be overdoing it, but its still a staple of business planning. Also, if your company fears going under, then far-off benefits of a more reliable server mean less to them than surviving by getting the money now via skimping on servers.

Capitalism sometimes has a cold hard steel edge.
         

Re:*Cough/BULLSHIT/Cough* (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#25097179)

Capitalism sometimes has a cold hard steel edge.

More like a distinct lack of vision.

That sounds good to me.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25096851)

...or find some starving IT workers on Craiglist to do the work for Top Ramen.

So, can you tell me who that is? Ramen noodels actually mean something to me now.

You can expect the dollar to sink to even lower levels than they are now and inflation to pick up. Tangibles might be everyone's preferred payment in the coming year.

Re:*Cough/BULLSHIT/Cough* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25096999)

What a bunch of crap.

Totally agree.

And when a conservative weekly like USNews And World Report quotes someone from Forrester "I Heart Outsourcing" Research as saying "overall technology employment is up in America and the wages associated with it are up", it means that CEOs and boards will be pressuring CIOs in the quarters immediately ahead to cut IT jobs and salaries.

Not at all good news.

Bad conclusion (4, Insightful)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096583)

This paired along with a recent article regarding the value of data centers when selling a company leads one to believe that the business world, while historically not fond of IT workers, is showing its true opinion of the sector.

The reason IT is being the least hit is because it has been the primary target for so long. IT has been viewed as fat, as so trimmed, for so long that there is precious little left.

The "true opinion" is that all the expendable IT jobs are now outside the company.

After outsourcing and offshoring as many jobs as possible, there are few expendable positions left in companies. Many of the positions that are being cut are jobs waiting for backfill and contract jobs.

True opinion (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096599)

"...the business world, while historically not fond of IT workers, is showing its true opinion of the sector." So what is it?

Re:True opinion (1)

DontLickJesus (1141027) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096689)

I must reply here that my original post has been editied. It continued:

"Does the business sector truely see the value in their IT departments, or are they just telling us what we want to hear again."

Re:True opinion (1)

DontLickJesus (1141027) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096729)

Please see my Firehose post [slashdot.org] for the accurate quote:

not all of us though (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096607)

I work for an IT contracting place (Tek Systems) and I've had no work for about 5 months. Basically now the process is if the IT manager says hey, we need a team of people to do this, let's hire some contractors from TS, management says NO! Good thing I repair comps in my off time cuz that never fails, especially for 1/3 Geek Squad's price.

Bailout (4, Insightful)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096737)

We must not allow the Treasure Secretary to receive $700 billion to spend with no oversight whatsoever. The current plan creates a gigantic moral hazard, is inflationary, rewards reckless risk-taking by CEOs, and still results in common people being foreclosed upon. We need to re-institute the Glass-Steagall act, allow highly leveraged firms to fail, insulate common people from the effects of these failing institutions, and regulate the market to prevent this catastrophe from happening again.

The future of America is in tech education (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25096771)

Manual labor manufacturing jobs are going away. I think schools should be teaching people to use technology. Instead people should be getting trained to operate the manufacturing tasked computers and robots that American tech companies will be leaders in. We need more smart people, stat!

Re:The future of America is in tech education (3, Interesting)

Skapare (16644) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096881)

We have the smart people. We just need to find a way to encourage them to go to school, if they haven't already. But when people look at their older more experienced peers losing jobs, and salary levels staying flat or going down, they look for other career paths when they are at that age where the choices are easy. If over the next N years, all those older peers were hired back and a true shortage of people came to exist (as opposed to the fake ones being promoted by certain big companies to sway Congress to allow them to hire cheaper workers from overseas), then younger people would be seeing technology as a rewarding career path. It's all about confidence in the future, and businesses are not putting that in IT right now.

The other person (1)

stevedmc (1065590) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096775)

This is the same reason why I refuse to wear safety gear at work. "Accidents only happen to the other person."

Tech companies != tech workers (4, Insightful)

Skapare (16644) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096833)

Just because technology companies are not hit as hard by this economic downturn, that does not mean technology workers (programmers, engineers, network admins, system admins) are equivalently immune. One problem here is the Labor department is classifying things badly. When the payroll of a technology company goes up, they interpret it as benefiting technology workers. It could be they are just hiring more sales people (I've seen it done). And a huge amount of IT is done in non-technology companies, including financial companies. And even if these companies consider their data centers to be of value, the IT workers own none of it, and few of them would be considered vital employees.

Tech just can't go any lower (3, Insightful)

billcopc (196330) | more than 6 years ago | (#25096847)

The reason we're "cushioned" from the financial nonsense is because there isn't much room to go lower. Wages are crap, yet the nation is inextricably dependent on IT services. They can't pay us any less, and they can't fire us - they've already outsourced all the jobs they could.

The title may as well be "Wage slaves cushioned from US economy downturn". The only reason an IT guy gets a raise is because his supervisor's been getting too many phone calls checking references.

Even if this article wasn't true... (1)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 6 years ago | (#25097053)

I know my IT position is safer than many out there. I'm a gov't contractor and there is no shortage of work where I am. Really the only thing that can hamper myself and others like me is if Congress drastically reduces defense, justice, or other similar types of budgets which can reduce the funding available for contracts like the ones I work on. Outsourcing isn't a problem either because of required security clearances and the inability to telecommute (due to security issues) also means there isn't going to be any offices in India to teleconference with to get the latest status on code revisions.
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