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What is the Tech Jobs Situation in Late 2004?

Cliff posted more than 9 years ago | from the a-boom-or-a-shortage dept.

Businesses 1138

CareerConfused asks: "Today I came across an ad in the NY Times, put out by Microsoft, Micron, Level 3 (among others) that claimed that the H-1B visa quota for FY2005 has already expired (it claims the quota expired the first day of FY2005, which started just about a month back). OK. On the one hand, we have stories of techies not finding jobs; and on the other, we have stories from businesses which claim that lack of H1s is killing their business, as well as public advocacy (like that ad in NYT). So, what is it? Are we in another boom, with jobs going a-begging and companies requiring more H1s to fill them? How come I haven't noticed this in the form of a fatter paycheck (or an Aeron chair, or a fooseball table in the cubicle)?" What have you experienced in your searches for technology-based jobs? Is it still hard to sell your hard-earned skills or are things looking up?While its one thing to claim that the lack of H1Bs is killing your business because Americans don't want to move to Fort Wayne, Indiana. It's quite another to say that you can't find a job in Silicon Valley. What's needed is an overall view of how tech jobs are doing across the country. What areas are in desperate need of technical skills and what areas are suffering from a shortage of jobs?

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Dear slashdot (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10865676)

Suck it.

Re:Dear slashdot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10865869)

one of the more intelligent things said here on /.

mod parent up.

Heck, join the military (5, Interesting)

Jeffery (810339) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865679)

i couldn't find much in Houston, TX of all places, very tech orientated city, ended up joining the military for a real tech job. 2E251: Computer, Network, Cryptographic, and Switching Systems :) hell yea.

Re:Heck, join the military (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10865786)

BTW you don't have to enlist to work for the military. I have a very good paying job as an EE working for the military. The government is almost always hiring - even with the upcoming round of BRAC.

Re:Heck, join the military (5, Insightful)

CrudPuppy (33870) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865787)

I think on the whole your luck will depend on your particular field, your degree, and most importantly your skill level.

I am a UNIX admin, 10 years experience, currently admin'ing about 1000 Sun servers. I am definitely a "new school" type admin, utilizing Perl and other tools to work smarter, not harder. B.S. degree in science/math field from large university.

I haven't found the market to be horrible in the Philadelphia/Delaware area. I think I've been lucky, but I have not ever taken a pay cut to this day.

I think good UNIX and network people will be in demand for the forseeable future. Not so sure about Windows admins and coders.

Re:Heck, join the military (5, Funny)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865793)

...best of all, if your superiors decide that you're not really cut out for a tech position after all, they've got all sorts of exciting opportunities to offer you to these days!

Re:Heck, join the military (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10865875)

Or as a volunteer friend of mine put it, "Everyone has a secondary specialization: infantry."

Re:Heck, join the military (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10865845)

Spying on people, killing innocents, bombing baby formula factories.

I don't care how bad the job market is, I will never, ever work for a force who will be used to invade small, third-world nations.

Re:Heck, join the military (1)

erotic_pie (796522) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865887)

yeah that's what I did, I'm a 3C051, networking and general comm operations I love it :-)

all your h1b (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10865681)

are belong to u.s.

all your h1b are belong to u.s.

Re:all your h1b (1)

zarthrag (650912) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865912)

I take it you live somewhere in the middle east. Asia maybe?

still tight in Houston. (3, Informative)

sjalex (757770) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865683)

Houston market stinks. Maybe still holdover from enron, I don't know.

they're doing fine (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10865686)

i have no problems finding a job in Atlanta, GA

Re:they're doing fine (5, Funny)

daft_one (532587) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865738)

You will now. Why'd you tell everyone, stupid?

Re:they're doing fine (5, Funny)

trick-knee (645386) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865811)

it's a red herring. he actually lives in Denver.

Re:they're doing fine (2, Funny)

daft_one (532587) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865885)

You think so? In that case, the job market is great in Rock Springs, Montana!

Indy - not so good (1)

melandy (803088) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865902)

Speaking from indirect experience (two coworkers were laid off Sept 30), things aren't all that great in the Indianapolis Area. It's been 6 or 7 weeks, and they still haven't even gotten any (quality) interviews yet.

well (4, Interesting)

over_exposed (623791) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865687)

My company has been seeing a lot of turnover (both incoming and outgoing) lately. People leave because of better jobs and people come in because this place is better than where they were. I'm not sure if that means the market is better or worse, but it's certainly a little more mobile than I remember.

Re:well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10865719)

above post in the Chicago area...

Gah! Grammaticalish Butcherificationizing! (2, Insightful)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865690)

While its one thing to claim that the lack of H1Bs is killing your business because Americans don't want to move to Fort Wayne, Indiana. It's quite another to say that you can't find a job in Silicon Valley. What's needed is an overall view of how tech jobs are doing across the country. What areas are in desperate need of technical skills and what areas are suffering from a shortage of jobs?

I'd say there exists a dire need for geeks with basic writing skills in and around Ann Arbor, MI.

Seriously, man, this paragraph wouldn't even earn a passing mark in a seventh-grade writing class. You write articles for a living--get it together!

I don't get it. (3, Insightful)

VE3ECM (818278) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865692)

I married an American, which exempted me from needing H1 status.

Moved here, and had a great paying job as a Data Analyst in NYC within a week.

If I can do it... either you're spending all of your time just looking online (which is doomed for failure) or you just don't know how to properly search/interview for a job.

An employment councillor can help you with either problem.

Re:I don't get it. (5, Funny)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865741)

I married an American, which exempted me from needing H1 status.
If I can do it...


Most slashdotters are falling down a few stages before the "getting married". :)

Re:I don't get it. (-1, Flamebait)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865752)

I married an American, which exempted me from needing H1 status. If I can do it...

Too many people do that just to get a job here. Obviously I am unaware of your particular situation but it doesn't sound much better.

We have a government obsessed with moral values yet we allow this sort of behavior just so people can get jobs that born/raised Americans need.

BTW -- My fiance just successfully landed a job by searching Monster and submitting resumes through there (she started earlier this month). I also landed this job by submitting my resume online. So I really don't think that online searching is "doomed".

Re:I don't get it. (4, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865822)

So I really don't think that online searching is "doomed".

Its not really "doomed", but last I heard, the odds were stacked against you. At the end of the "boom" times, most Monster job ads supposedly got around 100 resumes each.

Perhaps knowing what that number is now is of greater interest to everyone than "I joined the army" or "You suck if you don't have a job".

Re:I don't get it. (3, Insightful)

VE3ECM (818278) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865907)

You're right. You have no idea what "my" situation is, you sanctimonious jackass.

But since you're quite the ASSumption maker...
My wife wanted to move to Canada when we got married... she's a highly trained research scientist; she could get a job there in a second. I quit an even higher paying job then I have now to marry her and move to the US.

She wanted to move there because (in her opinion) it's safer, cleaner, friendlier, more liberal, and the general quality-of-life kicks the US in the ass.

I convinced her not to leave because I was not willing to separate her from her very close-knit large family.

I especially love your "...jobs that born/raised Americans need." comment. Priceless.

Were your ancestors native American, garcia? Judging from your name, not bloody likely. So you're guilty of the same crime you accuse me of.

Why don't you take your close-minded opinions somewhere else? The US gov't welcomed me with open arms. Why? Because according to YOUR law, I'm welcome here. My wife and I have a long established history of a relationship; for you to insinuate that I "used" her in any way just to come to this country, is reprehensible and disgusting. If you and I were in the same room, you probably would get a black eye for that comment. Insulting a man's reasoning for marrying his wife once upon a time ended with pistols at 10 yards.

Keep your bigoted opinions to yourself next time.

Oh, and garcia? Attitudes like yours are why so many American women are looking outside of America for men. And thanks for that.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Oxy the moron (770724) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865785)

either you're spending all of your time just looking online (which is doomed for failure)

Perhaps that's just your neck of the woods? I found a tech job using careerbuilder in about 7 weeks. The pay and benefits are great and so are the co-workers. =]

Re:I don't get it. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10865844)

Sound like someone is fucking the person in the next cubicle...

Jobs in 2004? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10865697)

I can summarize in 4 words:

Same Shit, Different Day.

jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10865699)

Jobs are hard to find, thats why i'm reading slashdot.

Down and Out in Utah Hills (1)

robotsrule (805458) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865700)

Last I checked, a lot of my well educated friends in Salt Lake City, UT were still hurting. One of them even went back to driving a truck to make ends meet. My deflated two cents (USD). Thanks.

Re:Down and Out in Utah Hills (1)

AGTiny (104967) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865809)

As a tiny minority in the Salt Lake area, your well-educated friends are simply being discrimated against and should move to a city that is not ruled by a fanatical religious cult. :)

Looks Pretty Good From Here (5, Informative)

CrankyFool (680025) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865701)

In the Bay Area, at least, the three datapoints I have are:
1. Google's still screaming for people to join them (well, OK, they then axe highly-competent people during their interview process, but I'm sure it's for the best :) );
2. When I was looking for a job in late August, I ended up in a competitive bidding situation between two companies;
3. The company for which I work now (which has a fabulous environment, IMHO), is looking to hire people, so far with no great success. Of course, we're also looking for pretty decent people :)

It's getting better, I think.

Re:and your company would be?.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10865851)

Perhaps your company would have an easier time getting applicants if you would TELL US WHO YOU ARE.

Or perhaps your group is in the business of putting the "suck" in success.

I would guess in Europe things are looking just... (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865702)

...fine. Especially in the Central-Eastern parts of Europe. IT starts to gain more velocity here...But thats only my observation.

I live/work in the SF Bay Area... (5, Insightful)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865704)

I suspect I'm in the same situation as a lot of /.'ers. The best way to sum it up would be to say that it's much, much better than it was but still not great.

I've spent about two and a half years now in a fairly stable job at a big company. I work with people I either like or don't mind, the work is sufficiantly satisfying even considering that I have to occassionally deal with big company political bullshit, the hours are reasonable and I (obviously) still have time to do some light /.'ing. All of this is a significant improvement over the two startup jobs I had back in 2001 where the hours were insane, the people were nutjobs and I was very, very unhappy.

OTOH, I've been more or less in limbo in terms of pay. Despite adding considerably to my skillset, I've gotten extremely modest raises that have more or less kept up with inflation if you don't count in gas prices.

Aside from that: Items like Aeron chairs and foosball tables and game systems in the break room and people keeping excessively odd hours can stay gone. I never liked those -- maybe I'm an exception, but I'm at work to *work*, I want to get my work done and leave. I'm working so I can afford to have a life outside of work, not because I really get off on plugging away on my TPS reports. The absolute worst part about all of those "perks" were that they slowed down the whole works and as a side effect created an expectation that you should live at work more than the 8-9 hours a day God intended. "Where's Bob? I need him to look over something." "Oh, he's playing in the Wednesday Tekken Tourney, he'll be out in an hour or two"...

Back to the subject at hand, though: The environment now is such that I could probably go make more money someplace else, but to be honest I am *extremely* hesitant to stick my head back out there after getting bitchslapped so badly last time.

Re:I live/work in the SF Bay Area... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10865778)

I'm tired of people saying "There are jobs all over the place!".

Look, I live in Oregon. We have the worst employment rate in the nation and have for almost three years. Trust me, there are no jobs, unless you're looking to bus tables or pump gas.

Yes, there are some positions available for TALENTED and HIGHLY EXPERIENCED people in the bay area, but they are not high paying jobs when you take into account the cost of living for the bay area.

It's like saying 'Hey, In & Out Burger pays almsot $10/hr - there is no reason you should be poor!". Yeah, well, when rent is $1,000/mo for a studio, that $10 doesn't go as far as if you lived in the midwest. Of course, if you live in the midwest, your option for decent paying tech jobs are smaller because it isn't as tech-filled.

The Bay Area isn't *that* expensive... (2, Informative)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865900)

The Bay Area isn't all that expensive once you accept that the housing market is completely blown out of control at the moment and you almost certainly can't afford to buy a house.

There are a few other high items (gas is expensive), but beyond that things can be had here for the same price or lower than elsewhere in the country. And Bay Area salaries *are* higher than elsewhere, not to mention that this place is where all the tech companies are. If you're cool with renting, living here isn't out of reach by any means.

hai (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10865708)

I R NUMBA ON3!!!1!!1*(one)

W00t

Submitter new here (to America)? (3, Insightful)

SeanTobin (138474) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865712)

I'm pretty sure the submitter gets it, but doesn't want to admit it. Yes, there is a demand for qualified techies coming in on H1-B's. Yes, a good number of domestic techies are having hard times finding employment. However, these two items are not mutually exclusive.

See, managers wised up. They found out that you can either hire a domestic techie for 50-80k/yr or hire an imported techie for 25-35k/yr. As an added bonus, the imported techie will be thankful for the opportunity he has, and do everything he can to appease the management that hired him.

I'd _love_ to see a tariff on 'imported' labor. However, I'm not an economist.

Re:Submitter new here (to America)? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10865868)


See, managers wised up. They found out that you can either hire a domestic techie for 50-80k/yr or hire an imported techie for 25-35k/yr. As an added bonus, the imported techie will be thankful for the opportunity he has, and do everything he can to appease the management that hired him.


The H1B application process requires an employer to demonstrate that they will pay the hire at the prevailing wage. My understanding is that they must even post an announcement of the hire (or maybe the intention to hire?) an H1B worker, including the agreed salary.

Having said this, there must be lots of dodges to get round these requirement...

Re:Submitter new here (to America)? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10865878)

A visa IS a tarrif on 'imported' labor.

Re:Submitter new here (to America)? (4, Informative)

1984 (56406) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865906)

Not quite that simple. If you're an H-1B you do have the nasty stick of "if we fire you you have to go home" but they can't pay you less than the going rate for a given job. Part of the application process is telling the Department of Labor the details of the job for which you're hiring, and they tell you the minimum you're allowed to pay for it. You then must pay the applicant what you already offered him, or what the DoL specified -- whichever is higher.

Of course the system is gamed, but it's not as if there are no mechanisms to prevent sweatshop hiring.

Re:Submitter new here (to America)? (5, Informative)

orac2 (88688) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865926)

They found out that you can either hire a domestic techie for 50-80k/yr or hire an imported techie for 25-35k/yr.

If that's happening, then you already have legal options without needing new legislation for tariff's on imported labor: H-1B's are, by law, supposed to be paid in line with US workers -- one of the hurdles in getting a H-1B is getting the state's department of labor to sign off that the wage level is kosher. Most of the stories you here about dramatically underpaid foreign H1-B's turn out to be urban legends.

I was a H1-B for six years, and I was always paid in line with U.S. workers, both at my company and in the industry in general.

no lack of jobs, just talent (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10865714)

The Slashdot crowd needs to get over this "lack of IT jobs" boogeyman and realize that, yes, for enthusiasts with little non-callcenter experience, there is a shortage of jobs. But for professionals, with degrees and more than just an "I've got an MCSE book, I'm more than qualified!" attitude, there are quite a few.

Looking over the want-ads and monster.com's ilk, there are plenty of jobs for people with experience and know-how... But very few for wannabes and tech support layoffs.

Foreign workers tend to be well educated, dedicated, and happy to be working. American workers tend to be 'l33t h4x0rs' who think they don't make enough while being the first to head for the door at 4:30.

Jobs (2, Informative)

mcb123 (647791) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865715)

Here in NYC, there are definately more/better jobs out there. But I'm still waiting for the pay levels to recover.

Cynicism (1, Flamebait)

ph1ll (587130) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865722)

Gee, maybe M$ want more techies so the rates techies charge will go down (cf. supply and demand curves).

And maybe, just maybe, M$ aren't telling the whole truth about not being able to find people...

Either that, or they they genuinely can't find coders with 10 years experience who will accept $50k/year.

Ok, I'm cynical. So, sue me.

We need to use American talent first... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10865724)

...if only the quality and work ethic was the same as many H1Bers...

Micron's growing again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10865726)

I'm in Boise - Micron announced today that it's back up to its pre-layoff employee count having rehired 1800 people back since the layoff a couple of years ago. Non-pc memory sales are doing good I guess.

no lack of skilled people (1)

Jrod5000 at RPI (229934) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865734)

what they mean to say is that the lack of skilled people willing to work 60% below their true market value is "killing their business." There's no shortage of techies... only cheap ones.

personally doing great (2, Informative)

ajboyle (547708) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865736)

Things have been the opposite for me for the past 3 years than for most other software engineers. I was layed off in mid 2001, but immediately found work. I have since quit that job and the one after after finding better opportunities. I'm making far more money than ever now. Not to say that this has been the case for my friends and coworkers, but opportunities still abound in my experience. If you're willing to work hard and network, there's a lot of opportunities available.

Not Qualified (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10865744)

A lot of the unemployed "IT" or "technology" workers are that way because they were never qualified to work in the industry in the first place. With a B.S. in electrical engineering I continually receive job offers and I'm not even looking.

Changes (5, Insightful)

base_chakra (230686) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865747)

One change I've noticed is that XML and related technologies are getting bigger and bigger, and it's redefining what it means to be a web application developer. I feel like my skill set is being spread thinner than pâte.

Other than that, it's the same old situation:

1. Employers seeking ridiculously diverse skill sets. What do you want, a software developer with ten years experience, or a GIS specialist with database skills? Pick ONE!

2. Employers requiring experience or expertise in obscure software, but who are unwilling to train. (We're smart; we can learn your industry-specific database front-end for god's sake!)

3. Shops with a depressing preference for Microsoft and IBM languages and software. LAMP jobs and their ilk are comparitively scarce, and therefore highly competitive.

4. HR people who don't know what they want/need. The other day someone posted a "need" for a C# developer with more than five years experience.

So employers are feeling a crunch from the H1 issue. Fine, I'll take that underpaid position! Where is it? We've talked about this before, and I understand that employers are trying to thin the pool by posting stringent (or ideal) requirements, but I think it's getting out of hand and alienating worthy applicants in the process.

As for the relocation bit, I don't buy it. I would welcome the change to relocate almost anywhere in the world for a decent job. I would appreciate a system that makes it easier for employers willing to hire from a remote job pool to find job seekers who are serious about relocating. Monster's [monster.com] system is just too limited.

No no no.... (2, Informative)

GoMMiX (748510) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865748)

It's not that there aren't enough people to fill the IT jobs in the US - or that companies are even actually TRYING to fill those jobs with US Employees...

What it IS, is that companies want to fill CURRENT US Jobs (Hear: YOUR job) with an H1 worker who will work for less pay...

Want a better job? Quit, denounce your citizenship in the US, move to India - file for H1B visa and wait for the 2006 roundup. HA!

Seriously, though - in a previous /. article it was noted that in 2003 (I beleive) there were less then 20,000 IT jobs created - yet 60,000 H1B workers were brought in? Now, lets see.... 60,000 - 20,000... 1+1 /2 *6 = ahh $#@% IT!

Market's still a little shallow in DFW area... (2, Informative)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865754)

There's some increase in hiring going about and I've been getting some cold-calls from recruiters again (seems to go on six month cycles- contracts and all...). All in all, though, times are still a little tough here in Dallas/Ft. Worth. It's been the worst downturn I've seen in the 2 decades I've been at working in the Tech industry.

Re:Market's still a little shallow in DFW area... (1)

Jeffery (810339) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865827)

My brother is a Director of Technology for a law firm in Dallas/Ft Worth area, and for awhile they were hurting for experienced people, but could find nothing but kids right out of college and/or high school wanting jobs. as of last time i talked to him, he had his team filled and were working great together, they didn't need to employ anyone new at all.

All you will find is anecdotal evidence (2, Insightful)

pilot-programmer (822406) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865755)

Companies claim they can't find qualified candidates, and techies claim above average unemployment. Since some companies seem to define qualified as either 5+ years experience or new graduate of an Indian tech school, they are being honest about not finding people who meet their qualifications. I would hope that every unemployed programmer, and everybody concerned about losing their job, will write to their congressman describing unemployment in the field so that subject can come up when companies do get a hearing to increase the H-1B cap.

D.C. Area is doing well (2, Informative)

kevin_conaway (585204) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865757)

In the Washingtion D.C. metropolitan area, things are doing well. I received my job right out of college and know others who did the same. This area never really seems to be affected like the rest of the country. Jobs are especially plentiful if you have a clearance of some sort.

Actually...everything I just said is a lie. There are no jobs in D.C. or Northern Virginia. Stay away.

Re:D.C. Area is doing well (1)

MrWh1t3 (807677) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865839)

DC is going well it seems...My brother just flew out there Yesterday for a job interview. He has a TS clearance but lives in the Midwest. They paid for the flight, Hotel, and any expenses.

Re:D.C. Area is doing well (5, Informative)

Wingchild (212447) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865915)

A friend of mine came back from an eight-month backpacking romp through Europe recently. While that sounds like a lot of fun (and is, if you have the time and money to spend on it), it's not the best move for your career when your career is in the ever-changing world of tech. Despite being a talented interface designer, she came back home to find that the software and methods she was using was no longer the standard - new techniques had been developed and better ways of managing content had presented themselves. Basically she came home to find the tech playing field had moved on without her, and was unable to find a job as nice as the one she left.

Solution: retrain! She went out to some temp agencies and farmed her resume around, then taught herself Visio when a client requested it. She spent the last few weeks down in the District building contacts and making money while working on a Post Office project. If you want jobs, you can find jobs - just don't expect people to throw money into your lap as per the bubble-days of the 90s.

For those not in the know, a security clearance is a pre-punched meal-ticket - and you don't have to be in DC or Virginia. If you're able to find work with someone who's willing to sponsor your security clearance process, and you've no particular qualms about working for The Man, take it. A Secret clearance will keep you employed anywhere in the nation. A Top Secret brings a higher salary and even more options to choose from, though laying hands on one is sometimes more a matter of fate than desire.

Miami, FL (1, Insightful)

arashiakari (633150) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865759)

I was hired to move away from Dallas, TX to Miami, FL with a $22,000 raise, an allowance for my townhome, and given my choice of a paid for new car or an allowance against my current car. Promoted from programmer to executive with some programming responsibilities.

I think people band together and bitch about jobs when they're out of work - and they're the only one's making any noise... those of us with jobs don't go around bragging about it, we just get down to business.

If you don't have a job... you HAVE A JOB: FIND A JOB AND QUIT BEING A BABY! ::smiles:: Tough love.

Not here in Kentucky (1)

div_2n (525075) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865760)

In Kentucky, the tech job scenario is very very bad. Except in military areas and Louisville (the biggest city in KY). I suspect that is the same about everywhere. The biggest cities may be recovering and military areas. Not rural America from where I am standing.

Compare that to the height of the tech boom when there would literally be 50 jobs listed each week in more rural areas.

It's good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10865761)

The company I work for, Vocollect [vocollect.com] has quite a few positions open. If you are software/hardware engineer with a grasp on voice recognition check 'em out. Projected growth for the year was passed early summer IIRC.

I don't know why people keep saying there are no tech jobs, there are plenty ... maybe not in uber-chic places with million dollar salaries, but there are jobs for tech folks out there.

It's dire. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10865766)

I've been working in IT since 92, and the best I can find in Boston right now is a 3 month project "internship" copying files between testing and production servers.

Perception in San Diego, CA (1)

Meniconi,Nando (666243) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865770)

Market ok for SW in San Diego, but if you are an ASIC engineer you might as well give up and move.

As for CareerConfused: it's all about perception. If you believe the job market is tight, then don't expect a new chair (I bought my own); if you believe GWB defended our country well against terrorists, then let's elect him; and so on... Reality is overrated.

The Chronic Labor Shortage (2, Insightful)

sakusha (441986) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865772)

Yes, there is always a severe shortage of people who will work for substandard wages, locked into contract work with no prospect for advancement. Like H1B visa workers.

Calls Coming In (1)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865775)

Here in Chicago, I've been getting on average a couple of unsolicited recruiting calls per week for the last few months. So maybe the IT job market here is starting to get better.

.NET (1)

q-the-impaler (708563) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865777)

My girlfriend is an account manager for Robert Half Technologies (who talks to hiring managers for large IT departments all the time), and she is fiding a huge need for .NET developers here in Jacksonville, FL. I'm a J2EE kind of guy, and that need is less, but still high.

She'd tell you that the market is about to boom with need for techies again.

here in Seattle... (4, Interesting)

deviator (92787) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865781)

I posted an ad for a help desk position for my small company on craigslist.

I received sixty resumes in four days. And probably 20% were well-to-over-qualified.

Story of a Recent College Graduate (5, Interesting)

brufleth (534234) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865782)

I graduated last May from Boston University with a BS in EE and was one of the few "lucky ones" in my group of friends who was able to find a job...in Cincinnati. So I up and moved to Cincinnati and took this "great job."

Now I'll only comment quickly that the job is mediocre on a good day and Cincinnati blows. The mid-west it seems is teaming with tech jobs though. That doesn't mean I'll stay here but apparently there are co-op jobs a plenty out here that go un filled while I spent last summer mowing lawns for lack of a co-op position.

From my experience techs jobs are mostly only available in certain areas which are cheaper to operate a business in. People my age don't want to move to the mid west though (I'm moving back [someone give me a job in the Boston area]) and older people have already put down roots somewhere else.

Not looking (3, Interesting)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865783)

AFAIK most people are not really looking for jobs because they think there aren't any out there. This would lead companies to think there is a short supply of people. If you'd like to jump ship, get looking for something else - don't listen to what people think the situation is. After you're gone, your previous employer will be looking for your replacement. To some extent, the job market is what people perceive it to be.

Healthcare IT is doing well (2, Informative)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865784)

I've worked for a healthcare organization for the last eight years and salaries and hiring do seem to be going up. There's a huge demand for electronic systems in healthcare, so that's at least one IT market that's doing well.

The tricky part is hiring well qualified individuals, which seem harder to pick up these days. I'd recommend the field for anyone looking for a job. Healthcare organizations are pretty stable during economic downturns (people still get sick) and you get to feel like you're making a real difference in people's lives.

Why must everyone be so dramatic? (2, Insightful)

charlieOReilly (817578) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865788)

Certainly there are those who are looking for jobs, I don't deny that, but why does everyone think that being a techie in the U.S. is so terrible? Sure, talk bad about those dirty rotten scoundrels in India taking your $50K/year job.. those terrible job pirates can now put food on their table. How dare they?! I don't claim to be the expert on this, but I truly believe that there are jobs out there. Do you have to look hard and accept salaries that don't allow you to keep that 3 story castle you bought in the 90's? Maybe. Suck it up America, we have it pretty darn good.

Re:Why must everyone be so dramatic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10865895)

Heaven forbid that some of us want to be wealthy.

Well, in the Orlando area... (1)

InVinoVeritas (781151) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865789)

the job market for .Net developers specifically has been pretty steady for the past year. Judging by the talent of the people i've interviewed, skilled .Net developers are still a fairly rare commodity here.

The cycle of students (5, Insightful)

StacyWebb (780561) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865790)

Back in the 90's eveyone was hearing on the news and from campuses that the best (read as: highest paying) jobs were in the computer sector. They flooded the market. Now over the past 3-5 years the new students have been hearing "don't go into that people are losing their jobs to overseas" so they choose a different field. Thus eventually creating a need for more workers. So in turn when the salaries increase again and the overall need for workers increase once again there will be a surplus of workers and not enough jobs. Hopefully the students in the colleges now are in their fields because they want to do it and not because it will make them 100K a year after graduation. This way you get the person who loves what they do.

Better than it was a year ago (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865798)

At least in DC.

If you have a clearance, especially TS, you won't be unemployed for long at all. TS you won't be unemployed any longer than you want to be. But you can do well without a clearance if you have the skills. Say, flash+asp+php+Cold fusion, with some Apache and Perl. Or lots of experience with C/C++ and Python on two or more platforms.

Funny you should mention that... (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865802)

But I've got an Aeron chair. Meh - it's a decent chair, but nothing to lose sleep over. As for the jobs situation, I got no idea.

The Jobs are there (1)

edwardd (127355) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865803)

The problem is that people are either not aggresive enough or are too picky about what they're looking for. I know someone who got a good offer from a financial firm for a position that had less than optimal hours (it was a sliding night shift, rotating between evening, night and morning shifts). At a job like that, a bright person will get paid untill they find the job they like better. That job could be a move within the company or someplace else, but the bill still get paid.

Why now? (1)

konfoo (677366) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865814)

I find this interesting, as I submitted two such stories at the start of this year:

2004-03-03 18:48:15 US House members to offer anti-offshore jobs bill (Index,United States) (rejected)
And another regarding the proposed H1 changes under way.

At this point in time the subject seems worthy. Why is that? Talk amongst yourselves...

To avert the usual avalanche (2, Insightful)

sapped (208174) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865815)

Just to avert the usual avalanche of people saying "What do we need to do to keep these foreigners out of our country?"

The following actions can be considered and will be guaranteed to stop the flow of immigrants and or jobseekers;

Kill the economy. I mean really kill it - we are talking 40% or higher inflation here.
Start a civil war.
etc. etc. You get the picture. If it gets to the point where others don't want to live here then you won't want to live here either. Pick your poison.

Now, let's look at some figures for perspective. H1-B visas last for six years. They are also granted to people in fields other than IT. so, if we assume that 75 000 H1's were granted every year and that about 60% of those were for IT related fields then you would be fighting a total of 270 000 foreigners for a job at any one time. In a country of 300 million that is a statistically insignificant number. Offshoring - which doesn't involve any visas - is orders of magnitude more disastrous to your job security than any other person living in the US and therefore having to deal with the same living standards as you. So, can we please keep the H1 and offshoring issues separate this time?

Oh well, it was nice to have karma for a while.

Also from Houston - exiled to the midwest! (2, Interesting)

cypherz (155664) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865819)

I think the claimed shortage of H1Bs is total BS. Its just another ploy of big business to get a service cheaper, even if they bankrupt the middle class in the process. There is no shortage of American labor. Programmers (like myself) are taking lower rates, AND still ending up in the lonely midwest. I'm currently on an assignment in Iowa, after spending 6 months in a little cow town in Kansas. There is no shortage of programmers willing to fill these assignments either. I hae calls from friends in the industry all the time asking me if I've heard of any contracting work out here in the midwest. I tried for 2 years to find work as a developer in Houston TX... people I know there are still out of work or have changed careers entirely. One fellow I know, an Oracle admin with many years experience, is doing refrigeration and AC repair because of the competition for IT related jobs in Houston.
I have resigned myself to a life on the road, there just doesn't seem to be much call for full-time developers (as employees) anymore. Will things change? I sure hope so! I miss my home and girlfriend!

cypherz in Sioux City

skilled It'ers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10865847)

Alot of the problem is trying to find "skilled" Techies. Some of these shitheads where I work are consider themselves fully qualified software engineers just because they know how to use Windows.

New Vistas (4, Insightful)

techsoldaten (309296) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865848)

Back in the 1970's, there was a big push towards automated coding. The idea was machines would be given a set of parameters and write their own applications, thus killing the demand for skilled technical workers throughout the United States. Fear and hysteria reigned, and I know a lot of people who left technology careers as a result.

Fast forward to 1997, when I was graduating college. For years I had worked as an intern / volunteer / gopher in various computer labs and become familiar with the major issues in computer science. For one thing, information technology jobs had not gone away, they had just changed to the point where they no longer looked like they did when I was a kid. On the other hand, some of the scientific coders were having to learn how to code HTML and produce graphics, which was really a strange thing to ask them to do based on their last 20 years of experience.

IT doesn't go away, it intensifies, and so to do IT professionals. My company, www.trellon.com, is almost unable to find qualified people to work on our projects. This is not because their is such high demand for workers we cannot compete, this is because it is tough to find professionals with the right mix of technology and other disciplines in their background. For every 20 people I meet, 16 of them get disqualified based on a lack of subject matter expertise outside of coding. (3 of the rest turn out to be exaggerating on their resume, and the 1 truly qualified applicant seems to always have some issue that keeps us from wanting to make him an offer).

I guess what I see is that there is still demand in IT, sometimes it just doesn't look like the work you used to do. GIS is big right now, I still get calls from recruiters offering insane salaries. OSS programmers are big right now, lots of people are looking for data warehousing solutions that do not depend on Oracle and SQL Server. Flash is big right now, and I regularly receive RFPs for companies willing to build RIAs.

Threads like this irk me a little bit because it always looks like people are waiting too long to ask the right questions. There should be some place where people can just ask what technology is in big demand and hook up with the resources to learn so they can provide a more valuable service. But fretting about the state of the IT industry is like worrying about automated coding back in the 70s - it's here right now, but all we know about IT is that innovation is forever.

M

In Perl things seem to be doing OK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10865849)

There are lots of listings on jobs.perl.org [perl.org] , and in the LA area companies like Citysearch and Overture are having trouble filling positions for experienced Perl people. It certainly isn't 1999 again, but it is better than last year, and last year my job search took 2 weeks.

Of course LA has a better market than most of the West Coast. But even so, friends whose employment was tenuous or non-existent up and down the West Coast seem to generally be happily employed today.

Of course this is the perspective of someone who is very good at Perl. If you're one of the army of people who got into Perl for CGI, and have vague plans to learn about this OO stuff someday, then your perspective is probably a bit different...

Unfair. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10865857)

Doctors, Lawyers, Teachers, nurses, firefighters, soldiers are also important to our economy. Wouldn't lowering their wages by expanding the supply of labor help the American economy?

Shouldn't we expand indentured guest worker programs to these professions before picking on high-tech people again?

As the footnote says... (1)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865858)

Under the H1-B program, U.S. employers must pay foreign workers the prevailing wage for their job fields and show that qualified U.S. workers are not being passed over. The foreign worker must have at least a bachelor's degree or the equivalent

Is this a side effect of the fact that less Americans are pursuing higher education? A significant number of people in the software profession (particularly software development) tend to be fresh graduates, and younger than other fields (lesser experience). Is this group of youngsters showing a statistically significant drop off in enrollment for Bachelor's/Graduate study?

I don't know...and don't have any firm figures to back up the claims in paragraph above....but it certainly seems so from anecdotal evidence (Universities facing economic crunch, due to lack of researchers/students).

If the number of Americans pursuing higher study is indeed dropping off, that could be one of the factors leading to the present situation as described in the summary.

Again, I'm just brainstorming here from personal experience...there are bigger factors at work here than just 65K people "taking the jaabs away".

We still need them! (1)

Keighvin (166133) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865860)

I'm a development manager for a fairly tech-oriented firm, and we're getting hit by both of these to some degree - we do have some limited outsourcing to take immediate load off core staff and allow ourselves to scale-back guiltlessly upon the completion of projects, but with a lack of qualified local candidates to hire we're having to rely on them a little more heavily than may be appropriate.

I'm still hiring for 4 Sr. Software engineers in the Salt Lake City, Utah, US area if anyone's interested (will have more openings next year). Primary skill include Linux, C/C++ (stdlib & STL), and SQL/Oracle. XML/XSLT, HTML, Javascript, web technologies in general are a plus. Please drop me a line at pltomlinson at gmail dot com if you're interested and don't suck.

Virtual Office (1)

musichead (800784) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865862)

"If we find a qualified one, they don't want to come to Fort Wayne."

It seems to me that an easier solution for many businesses in this situation is to enable people to work from their chosen location via VPN (some other related technology) which would invalidate the necessity of relocating.

In Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10865866)

The employment rate for our local college's computer grads was 80% for the previous two years. This year it is 100%. The market is looking up but there are still quite a few Nortel refugees floating around to soak up jobs.

Smart people (2, Insightful)

bigbadbob0 (726480) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865872)

The problem isn't that there aren't jobs. The problem is that there aren't enough smart people to fill the jobs. Companies have finally stopped hiring stupid people for jobs that require smart people. It can take months to fill a position with a talented engineer. My view on this is a little harsh, but the basic idea holds true.

Ummm... can't have it both ways... (2, Insightful)

Not_Wiggins (686627) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865874)

There's a fine balance between being located someplace where you can find talent and paying an arm and a leg to locate your business there.

I'm not sure which drives which (ie, talent pools where the jobs are, or companies move to major metropolitan centers because that's where talent naturally springs), but I can say that I hope it doesn't change that rapidly.

Just like that article about outsourcing to rural America that was on /. a little bit ago. I don't want to lose my job in, say, New York to someone who has a cost of living 1/3 that, because they don't need the same income to live comfortably as I would; our internal economic structure isn't prepared for a shift that dramatic quite yet (heck... look how outsourcing to other countries has taken a big bite out of many industries in the US).

Just imagine... lowest-common-denominator-pay based on cost of living... and you live in Chicago , New York, Los Angeles, etc., and I'm not just talking "tech" industry. The chaos of shifting property values alone would crush millions of people.

No, instead the burden on businesses needs to be kept geographically centered: you move to where the people you want to work for you live and contribute back to that community.

Only after we have a global standard of living can we successfully hire "best people for the job, no matter where they live."

Two things (1)

flinxmeister (601654) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865879)

The cliche holds that it's who you know. Networking is king in today's job market. There are so many bootcamp certified techies out there that someone has to personally vouch for you.

Your skillset better be broad. From what I've seen, many companies are in kind of a second phase of standards. They made a choice a couple years ago (j2ee, .net, Sun, MS, linux, etc) and they want someone with that experience. However, despite what they say, they still have tons of random stuff sitting around that needs support. Usually it will go something like "I see you're Certified in XYZ...oh but by the way...have you ever worked on an AS/400?"

Bottom line(s), meet everyone you can, go to trade group meetings, tinker with as much crap as you can get ahold of, talk intelligently on websites/blogs/mailing lists...and you should be fine.

Unemplyed in California - since February 1 2003 (0, Troll)

cyberspittle (519754) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865882)

I have had much luck since I was downsized with a last day of employment of 31 January, 2003. I though my Unix administration skills would be in demand. I did have a hiatus, when my reserve unit was mobilized mid-February 2003 for one year. Not able to find employment, as I was getting ready to demobilize, I extended for another 6 months. I finally returned at the end of July, using vacation time to return early. Thank goodness for unemployment checks, otherwise I would have burned through my severance pay on the high cost of living in California. I believe the tech sector is still hurting. Just look at the states that the Democrats one ... tech heavy parts of the country. I voted for the economy, as I felt the war on terror can't be won if we can't pay our bills (digression here). Now Greenspan is stating the deficiet threatons our economy. WTF is going on?

1999 spoiled us all (1)

kippy (416183) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865883)

Aeron chair? Fooseball table in the cubicle?

I can understand the thing about a higher paycheck and I'm sure the chair and foosball thing were tongue-in-cheek but I think a sizable part of the IT industry actually expects these kinds of perks.

The tech boom gave a lot of us unreasonable expectations about what to expect from a job. I remember being flown out to San Fran from Chicago just for an interview. They treated us to all kind of posh digs after explaining their shake-oil product to us interviewees. I knew even then that this was way too good to last.

For everyone waiting for 1999 to return to the workplace in terms of dressing like slobs, having every perk comped and getting paid obscene amounts, it's time to wake up. That was just part of the business cycle that happened to benefit us. We're an industry like any other and times that good are too good to go on forever. Heaven help you if you're actually holding out for something like that again, at least in this industry.

It all depends on your skills (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865884)

Just "knowing computers" isn't enough these days.

Find something specific, some niche that isn't going to go away, become an expert on it. If that niche does go away, become an expert on something else.

There's money out there to be made for FORTRAN-to-Java/C#/etc porting gurus, being able to maintain old mainframes etc..

How are these two things exclusionary? (2, Insightful)

mcc (14761) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865891)

Businesses like H1Bs because they're easier to exploit. Just because there's lots of people begging for jobs doesn't mean that these businesses are lying when they say lack of H1Bs is killing their business. It could mean, it isn't that lack of workers is killing their business, it's just that having to pay their workers real salaries with real benefits is killing their business.

Too frickin' bad! (0, Troll)

kvn (64836) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865894)

You know, if you set up your company in Fort Wayne, Indiana, not too many developers are going to want to move there. (yes, I have been there. Several times. I wouldn't move there...) Ergo, offer some incentives (i.e. more money, more vacation, better benefits, etc). Don't cry to your congressman and try to import lower wage talent from overseas. And that is the only reason they want the H1Bs - they are WAY cheaper, and will do anything you ask them to.

Lets face it, for some people, rural America (those oh-so-wonderful red states) isn't all that attractive, when compared to the energy and excitement of city living.

Then again, I live in a small college town in the middle of nowhere, so what the hell do I know. Of course, as soon as I finish my dissertation, I am outta here...

Slim Pickings (1)

cshah 1 (803515) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865910)

Im starting to feel sorry for the future tech market. Most of the people with "tech" degrees have no clue what they are doing. I have actually seen someone with a degree in "Information Technology" who didnt know what a router was. I think it is going to be hard on these companies to hire experienced people.

This is what I want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10865913)

more H1-X visa for more qualified and less greedy politician from hell.

Most important of all is HX-X visa for the USA president. Make sure we have someone more capable than monkey.

The economy has problems! (1)

iztaru (832035) | more than 9 years ago | (#10865925)

The companies have problems because the products are not selling very well. That means that they need to cut costs by finding cheaper ways to run their business processes.

Unfortunately the IT function in the companies is losing its relevance or importance. IT is not longer required for competitive advantage and that means that there are less reasons to hire highly skilled people.

The solution: outsourcing. Hire cheaper people from overseas or send your development centers to other countries. IT is not longer a valuable resource to create competitive advantage and the companies can live with the average service.

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