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Dismantling the Myth of IT Being a Dead-End Career

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the bofh-unavailable-for-comment dept.

649

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

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No different (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970307)

Surely this is no different from any other career? I.e. if you're good, then you'll do well - if you're no good, it's a dead end.

Oh, and first post!

Re:No different (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970555)

Exactly. I work two jobs (12 hour days) in IT in senior roles, and I make $225,000. Dead end my ass. Read a damn book. Keep up with the industry. Be better than everyone else around you and you'll succeed. Just like every other industry. Nothing comes free.

w00 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970308)

yay
i work for free

Shhhh!!! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970312)

Keep your mouth shut!

We worked so hard to scare all those damned paper MCSE and brain dumpers away. Last thing we need is for them to come back and lower the avg IT wage again...

Re:Shhhh!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970355)

Shoot, I'm trying to find a employer that will give me a job without the useless papers. I can do the job better than 90% of the paper-techs.

Re:Shhhh!!! (4, Insightful)

thej1nx (763573) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970414)

Funny as your comment is, oddly enough NOT lowering the average IT wage is precisely why these jobs are being offshored.

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

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

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

Re:Shhhh!!! (1)

Sqwubbsy (723014) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970433)

That's all well and good but the best counter argument to management is not increase talent pool or taking one for the team (country) but that in offshore endeavors, if you don't have good project management skills, i.e. real tech understanding of what it takes to 'get things done', then your project is toast.

My current org is finding this out the hard way. I suspect others are as well.

Re:Shhhh!!! (4, Insightful)

thej1nx (763573) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970494)

That's all well and good but the best counter argument to management is not increase talent pool or taking one for the team (country) but that in offshore endeavors, if you don't have good project management skills, i.e. real tech understanding of what it takes to 'get things done', then your project is toast.

Again, that is NOT really a good counter arguement. Yes, you may be correct.. for now! Yes, the offshore endeavours might not have good project management and "real tech understanding" ... for now. But for how long will that remain true ? Or are you claiming some kind of racial superiority so as to speak, that precludes others from developing those skills and understanding shortly enough ? When they manage to reach acceptable levels... which will be shortly soon, what THEN ?

What you have to realize is that thanks to globalisation, you are now competing not in just a local protected,closed market, but on a global scale. If you are not willing to compromise on the affluent, aberrant lifestyle, then you MUST run the Red Queen's race. You *must* constantly innovate, improve and keep your skills competitive. That is *one* solution.

The other is to accept the facts and surrender to the new reality. Move up in the chain. Learn another language, so that you can communicate better with THEM in their language, and can still manage the project. Keep them still dependent on you, instead of THEM learning your language instead *and* your skills and eliminating you from the equation completely.

code monkeys (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970316)

computer janitors

faggot niggers

Things you have to ask yourself (5, Insightful)

Alioth (221270) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970319)

You have to ask yourself - is the job you're doing/going to do - does it require your actual physical presence? If not, then it can be offshored.

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

Hmmm. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970376)

I "pull...cat5 through walls, swap...out hard disks in PCs and that kind of thing" quite a lot. I also install and maintain the uber-expensive and high-end Telco-grade equipment at the data centers and generating stations belonging to the very large power company which employs me. The gear I'm working on is a big step up from, say, Cisco equipment.

Is my position likely to be outsourced? Not anytime soon...the desires of the company accountants are secondary to the fear of the penalties should all the lights go out.

Guys who refuse to pull cable or otherwise get their hands dirty deserve to be outsourced. They're only "better" than the rest of us for a short while. Then they are unemployed.

Given 50 years, Is IT that different? (5, Insightful)

PsiPsiStar (95676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970397)

all the jobs that require your physical presence are generally 'IT technician' jobs - pulling cat5 through walls, swapping out hard disks in PCs and that kind of thing - the lower paid end of the IT spectrum (although there are higher paid network engineering types of jobs).

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

Besides, very few good paying jobs of any kind technically require a person's presence. Look on the dark side of things. Why not have a doctor's office with a few nurses, a video setup, and some nice Philippine doctors on the other end. Samples can be sent off to foriegn labs. Same with teachers, as long as there's someone in the room to make sure people behave. Or do we only offshore those things where customers won't be immediately aware that the job is offshored? IT is not particularly less safe than most other jobs, if you want to take outsourcing to an extreme. The difference is that it tends to be more cutting edge than other fields, and the most exposed to innovation and change.

Re:Given 50 years, Is IT that different? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970464)

At least in the US, that would be unlawful unless the nice Phillipine doctors at the other end were licenced to practice medicine at this end. The AMA is able to effectively lobby to prevent offshoring of the medical profession.

Re:Things you have to ask yourself (2, Interesting)

Andreas Schaefer (513034) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970419)

dude, you're right, my job hardly ever required my actual physical presence.
so i offered my boss to lower my yearly income by 30% if he'd pay for my relocation.
that's why i outsourced myself to a far off island with a decent IP connection - i'm typing this from a hammock overlooking the beach.

Re:Things you have to ask yourself (2, Insightful)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970425)

Our company thinks it's great to let the developers behind the software be part of the demonstrations and learning of the software we make.

I think it's not just about human-hardware interaction deciding who may be offshored, but also about the opinion in the company on how valuable the human-human interaction is. Sure, some may still have their developers just sit in a cubicle and work all day, but on many companies they don't, and actually interact with the world, and then it's tough to have these guys in India and just easily accessible face-to-face by some laggy Internet conference.

Re:Things you have to ask yourself (2, Informative)

typidemon (729497) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970460)

Good software requires close proximity. I've never seen good software come from offshoring.

Re:Things you have to ask yourself (1)

linj (891019) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970491)

The jobs that someone could leave school at 16 and be trained to do by their employer tend to be the ones that can't be offshored.

Well, then, to become an IT technician job trainer I go!

Contradictory Article: Economic Theory Triumphs (4, Insightful)

reporter (666905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970519)

The article [computerworld.com] has two sets of contradictions. Consider the following statements taken directly from the article.

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

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

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

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

That observation takes us to the second quote.

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

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

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

Intel's lie takes us to the third quote.

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

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

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

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

Washington should allow free trade (of goods and services, including labor) with only other relatively free markets like Canada, Sweden, Japan, etc. Washington should shut the Indians and the Chinese out of the American market until both the Indians and the Chinese establish free markets in their own countries.

Now, we arrive at the quote that is a damning lie.

4. " The H-1B visas that enable foreign workers to take high-tech jobs are often viewed as a threat to U.S. workers, rather than the stopgap measure they are ."

The above quote directly contradicts quote #3. Quote #4 is the standard lie that American business managers have told the Congress when it is considering raising the H-1B cap. Quote #3 demonstrates that H-1B visas are not a stopgap measure and that H-1B visas are really a permanent measure intended to give unethical American companies (like Intel) access to desperate labor from non-free markets. H-1B visas are simply a sneaky attempt to suppress wages and working conditions in the USA. Without H-1B visas, companies like Intel would be forced to significantly boost both wages and working conditions.

That Washington continues to support the H-1B program and to allow illegal aliens to flood the unskilled-labor market means that Washington's goals are not aligned with the hopes and aspirations of working familes across America. In this coming election, let's support populist candidates. The Republicans and the Democrats be damned.

In the 2008 presidential race, write Bill O'Reilly and Tammy Bruce on the ballot as the president and vice-president, respectively.

Re:Contradictory Article: Economic Theory Triumphs (1)

dodobh (65811) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970572)

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

Or perhaps you need to realise that the labour market is now global, and not local. The countries where you want to sell things are labour rich. So they buy American goods, in exchange for labour.

Re:Contradictory Article: Economic Theory Triumphs (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970582)

In the labor market, a shortage of labor is a power force that boosts wages and improves working conditions. Eventually, wages rise sufficiently high that new workers enter a particular labor market (e.g. the market of computer programmers).

For IT jobs, this mechanism is breaking down. Instead of increasing wages, companies turn to outsourcing. IOW, the mechanism only works if the pool of workers is limited to a single economy [1].

1: 'economy' being loosely used here as 'a region in which salaries are roughly equal'

Re:Contradictory Article: Economic Theory Triumphs (1)

dodobh (65811) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970587)

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

If both an American applicant and an H-1B applicant is qualified for a job, the manager will choose the applicant that is more qualified. That approach directly contradicts the stated intentions of managers from companies like Intel: the stated intention is that a manager will hire an American applicant meeting the qualifications but not necessarily offering better qualifications than a qualified H-1B applicant.

I don't see a contradiction there. They are offering a fixed amount of money, and looking for the best qualified candidate for that money. Barrett is claiming that they cannot find enough US engineers at that salary.

Washington should shut the Indians and the Chinese out of the American market until both the Indians and the Chinese establish free markets in their own countries.

Washington imposes quotas on H1B visas. In a truly free market, there would be no quota on H1B visas either. And American companies would be able to sell their goods in India (most of them can sell in India, the ways in which they can retail is currently limited and even that is being opened up).

Bad thing? I think not (5, Interesting)

Umbral Blot (737704) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970327)

On the other hand this is a good thing for the computer science departments of universities, for less students means that they can do less job training and more actual computer science. If you aren't convinced that real progress in computer science isn't being made any more I encourage you to watch this video [archive.org] . In it you can see all the aspects of the modern computers that we know and love being demonstated oh so long ago, only with less polish. Sadly research hasn't proceeded much beyond this in terms of software. The problem is that the typical student in a computer science course doesn't want to learn computer science, they just want to learn some Java/hot language of the momement and get out into the workforce. This is where bad programmers and bugs galore come from. However if those who simply want a job leave then a computer science degree will once again have meaning, and better software will be produced. Trust me on this one, I'm surrounded by CS majors who think Java is the best language ever, and are unable to program in anything else.

Re:Bad thing? I think not (1)

Krakhan (784021) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970366)

I absolutely agree with your post. Computer Science != Programming. However, it looks like the moron that modded you as flamebait thought otherwise.

Not flamebait, ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970390)

But it should be filtered a bit to prevent toes being stepped upon.
The video seems interesting, and if you compare '70-s folk to '90-s folk there will probably be a difference hinting towards what the poster described.
This is probably more a sign of the times: computers are commonplace now and therefore of much more commercial interest than they were in the '70-s.
In that sense, you will want to have a more commercial view on the job you are going to do. This is not necessarily a bad thing. There will always be geniuses in the sense that certain people will dive deep into the computer science world.
These people are probably researcher-material and will rather pursue their Phd than a commercial job.

Re:Bad thing? I think not (5, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970392)

If you want to work on real computer science, get a Math degree. Computer Science programs have been steadily inching towards Software Engineering programs for a long time. While the basics of Computer Science are still taught at the undergraduate level, the primary focus now is on correct software implementation. Take a look at the previous thread about the ACM Dissertation of the Year. A CS dissertation on improving software quality through statistical analysis. That's not computer science, it's simply advanced software engineering.

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

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

Re:Bad thing? I think not (2, Insightful)

jonv (2423) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970412)

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

CS != IT or SE (2, Interesting)

drachenstern (160456) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970551)

BadAnalogyGuy made some good points in his reply to your post, but I just wanted to agree with you that CS is definitely not the same thing as IT or SE, where CS is traditionally hardware and R&D and IT/SE is primarily sales, support and application programming. I have been bucking the system at the last couple of schools I have been at (displacement because of -> marriage + job availability = no time for school!) because they keep pushing IT whereas I want CS. To top it all off, the IT departments have both been part of the School of BUSINESS, not science, eng or math! I for one don't get that!

Actually, I do. You want people who can sell the results of CS working on the IT side, but can we at least educate people the difference between the TV commercials for "how to program and test your own videogames" and the ITT "tech-support degree" commericals and the real degree programs (not that ITT and some others don't have valid degree programs, just you gotta pick the one for the career you want to actually DO).

This is actually what I want. BadAnalogyGuy stated
Beyond that, a Computer Engineering which encompasses both Software and Hardware engineering is another type of program that would be useful.
I've been telling my wife for a year now that I want to minor in pre-eng and then go back to school for my MS for some field of engineering. Reckon where I can get one of these CE/SW+HW-eng degrees? MIT, Berkely, somewhere a little cheaper?

I know I know, masters programs != cheap.
Really, I only intended to say, "I agree that students who want to learn java should goto a community college. Thanks for the encouraging words from a fellow student". Can those students read assembly code?

Heh. (1)

tm2b (42473) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970328)

Reminds me of the joke that was going around Red Hat when we were going through a series of CIOs:

"CIO == Career Is Over"

What is the destination? (2, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970331)

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

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

What's your goal?

Re:What is the destination? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970405)

So what do you major in for a sales career?
There's no degree in sales that I know of (marketing, maybe?), and
you generally have to go to college to get a higher end sales job.
Might as well major in engineering, so you can sell high cost high
tech equipment or pharma - you'll want to know how to talk to the
engineers you're trying to sell to.

Anyway, a lot of people don't really have that choice - it takes
an exceptionally outgoing personality to "make it" in sales. A lot
of your pay is based on performance (sales quotas), and you get fired
if you don't meet quotas for a few quarters.

You either have that personality, or you don't, and there's probably
nothing you can do about it by the time you're old enough to be reading
slashdot in the middle of the night.

Age of IT staff (5, Interesting)

Half a dent (952274) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970332)

Whilst much of industry looks to hire youthful IT staff rather than older workers, it has the ironic effect of putting people off a career in IT. As not many people want to work in an industry where finding a job when you are past forty is difficult.

Encouraging older workers will also encourage new young workers. BTW. I fall somewhere between these two groups.

Re:Age of IT staff (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970340)

Whilst

Please stop using this word.

Re:Age of IT staff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970395)

Why? It's a perfectly cromulent word.

Re:Age of IT staff (2, Interesting)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970548)

not many people want to work in an industry where finding a job when you are past forty is difficult.
Finding a job past forty is difficult? Silly rabbit,the way it works is you create a startup when you're 26, which is then bought out by a larger company for an obscene amount of money before you turn 30. You use this money to retire on and never have to worry about working again.

Well Duh (4, Funny)

eclectro (227083) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970333)


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

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

Re:Well Duh (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970436)

You might be shocked to hear this, but I'm a slashdot regular and I get women insanely easy.

My secret? I actually talk to women.

Re:Well Duh (1)

dan dan the dna man (461768) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970463)

MSN and cybering doesn't count, I'm sorry...

Bad News (3, Funny)

SolitaryMan (538416) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970488)

The bad news is that married /.'ers can't get dates too!

Re:Well Duh (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970489)

Say you are in medschool or a doctor and they're all over you and it.

To the sort of girl who's interested in marrying a doctor, an IT geek is just as good.

If you had any balls, you could have a differnt girl sucking you off every night.

Re:Well Duh (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970525)

This is pretty funny: it looks like those three all replied!

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

* 3 replies beneath your current threshold.

Re:Well Duh (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970578)

and you had to go and make it 4 replies...

Outsourcing to Indian programmers (1)

chrisranjana.com (630682) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970336)

IT is this same thing that is helping oursourcing. We all know that outsourcing survives only on demand. Yes cost cutting is an advantage of outsourcing too, BUt it is secondary. Companies in the USA and UK are forced to employ H1B visa candidates and are forced to send projects to offshore programmers in India only because there is demand for quality IT professionals. http://www.computerworld.com/managementtopics/outs ourcing/story/0,10801,105969,00.html [computerworld.com] "U.S. Senate yesterday approved up to 30,000 additional foreign-worker visas a year in a program popular with technology vendors. " and the main reason "Technology trade groups have called for an increase in the cap, saying they can't find enough workers with specialized skills."

Re:Outsourcing to Indian programmers (1)

Dadoo (899435) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970471)

You should learn how to filter out the bias:

Companies in the USA and UK will only employ H1B visa candidates and are forced to send projects to offshore programmers in India only because there is demand for quality IT professionals who will work for low wages.

There. Fixed that for you.

Surely you understand the law of supply and demand. If companies want more IT people, all they need to do is pay up. I'm sure that, if they raised the average IT wage to, say $500k/yr, they could get all people they wanted. Likewise, if they're only willing to pay $30k/yr, they'll have problems finding qualified candidates.

Re:Outsourcing to Indian programmers (1)

chrisranjana.com (630682) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970521)

"If companies want more IT people, all they need to do is pay up. I'm sure that, if they raised the average IT wage to, say $500k/yr, they could get all people they wanted" That goes against the law of math . say there are only one million professionals in USA and if there is need for more than that ? That was the very basis of H1B...to bring in qualified experts due to shortage. so the only way to solve is to "produce" more experts locally..colleges and etc Increasing the salary may shift workers from one company to another but the DEMAND and SHORTAGE will still exist.

Re:Outsourcing to Indian programmers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970559)

That goes against the law of math . say there are only one million professionals in USA and if there is need for more than that ? That was the very basis of H1B...to bring in qualified experts due to shortage. so the only way to solve is to "produce" more experts locally..colleges and etc Increasing the salary may shift workers from one company to another but the DEMAND and SHORTAGE will still exist.

You miss the forest for the trees. Increasing salaraies will produce more experts locally, because good people will get trained and enter the field. That takes only a relatively short amount of time, and it does end any supposed shortage.

Re:Outsourcing to Indian programmers (1)

penix1 (722987) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970495)

""Technology trade groups have called for an increase in the cap, saying they can't find enough workers with specialized skills.""

In the fast paced world of IT, if you "specialize" you are dead when that particular tech dies (meaning in a few years). Continuing education is very important and often ignored by those very companies bemoaning the lack of "specialists".

Companies expect their staff to be ready made specialists when the tech is changing faster than a whore turns tricks but of course they don't want to be the ones to pay for that training.

Go figure...

B.

Re:Outsourcing to Indian programmers (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970545)

My experience of offshoring to India (my company's also done it to a fair degree) is that the technical people there are well-educated and intelligent (just about all of them have degrees) and that they're willing to work VERY HARD to bring their field skills up as quickly as possible. Whereas most of us in the Western World get home and put our feet up with a beer in front of the TV, a lot of the Indian workers will stay at the office late into the evening reading technical manuals - the likes of us in Europe and the US cannot compete with that.

However, on the downside, because India is an emerging country, there are no real-world skills out there as of yet and a lot of what you do in a technical support role is not based on what you know but applying logic and standard techniques to fault-finding which you can only have taught yourself through previous field experience. As well as this, Indian workers tend to be very direct and to the point when they speak to customers and this can sometimes be taken as rudeness - this is just down to differing social attitudes.

I do personally think it is wrong that mega-corporations suck wealth from the richer countries without giving back jobs in those same countries but, IMHO, that's up to each government to step in and impose additional profit taxation on those companies to make it more expensive for them to do that - and if you don't agree with that, look at the number of neighbourhoods in the Western World that have sprung up around big technology parks (because people like to live closer to their places of work) which have subsequently been decimated because of redundancies and off-shoring. That's a very clear demonstration of the total LACK of social considerations many corporations have.

But as far as employees in India goes, if company HR departments think that they're good enough for the jobs then let them have them - none of us think of the other unsuccessful applicants for a job if you or I get offered it - so why should they care either?

soul sucking (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970338)

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

You'll jump a foot in the air when your pager goes off because the idiots who own the production system that you don't have authority over (but some-fucking-how are still totally responsible for) can't understand why there are nightly issues moving data between 6 different vendor and legacy systems - and you not only get to diagnose and solve the problem via a conference call of useless IT management idiots but then you'll have to re-live every painful detail before the tribunal the following morning and write up a post mortem and a "root cause analysis" and still try to get all your other work done.

Yeah, promising career... only if you are one of those assholes who walks around doing nothing but saying "I only do J2EE".

Re:soul sucking (1)

thejeek (952967) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970421)

Um... Er.. I only do J2EE?

Re:soul sucking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970450)

I hear you brother!

This message coming to you from someone who's been up since 0600 diagnosing a SQL Server problem and *knows* that he doesn't get any overtime, or time owing for th extra f-ing work he has to put in just to keep this thing afloat.

And I haven't had a holiday in two God-damned (Batman) years. Every time I try to take a few days off I get interrupted.

IT in .uk sucks.

Re:soul sucking (1)

bloodredsun (826017) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970451)

only if you are one of those assholes who walks around doing nothing but saying "I only do J2EE".

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

Re:soul sucking (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970565)

Why are these guys assholes?

Because they can't do the variety of work needed to actually made things work. I worked with a number of groups of J2EE only programmers (and some VB only programmers) and over half of them didn't know what a socket was nor how to create/open/use a socket in Java.

Its a form of cherrypicking. The "I only do 'this' assholes" end up passing off the hard work of getting everything to work together to the few people in each organization who have a wide and deep knowledge of CS/Software Engineering/OS/SysAdmin/DBA/etc work. Those few people are always buried in work and can't run PR campaigns about all the great crap they did. Another example, I a non-java guy had to design a JMS based server system because the 2 Java guys who had screwed around for six months trying to get a vendor's multithreaded FIX engine working couldn't do it - it failed everytime there was more than one transaction waiting to be processed. Lame-o's. Oh, yeah and they were from IIT, too.

It is the Job of Sites Like This to Re-educate (1)

coblivion (962540) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970361)

Of course the mainstream media poisons the potential tech youth in the West. The antidote to that poison is hip, weird, nerdy-geeky sites like this one. e-rant.com [e-rant.com]

Understanding the market (4, Interesting)

bloodredsun (826017) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970371)

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

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

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

Yeah yeah... (5, Insightful)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970375)

I've heard it all before. Managers scream 'skills shortage' whilst lots of good IT workers sit on unemployment queues.

There is no shortage. Never has been. It's because managers want to define the exact skillset... '20 years Java version 1.4.1.13 service pack 2, and preferably 17 years Visual Studio 2005' they refuse to believe that people can actually learn new stuff (and their requirements are sometimes completely ludicrous - I actually left an interview when someone said I didn't have enough java experience.. they wanted 8 years - in 2000. That manager is proabably still screaming 'skills shortage' today).

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

Re:Yeah yeah... (2, Insightful)

bloodredsun (826017) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970408)

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

I think you're right about the market, and about how people only need a few weeks to get up to speed on new stuff (it's not brain surgery is it!) but the crunch is always with the contractors. Trying to stay ahead of the game is tough as you end up in a catch 22 where people will only hire you if you already have experience in something

The fact that you've found good people is probably more a reflection of your abililty as a manager. Your time "at the coalface" gives you an insight into how to hire someone that might not have the skills now, but would be fantastic with a little training. With too many managers, that's a risk they can't take as they just can't see potential, so they fall back on proven knowledge - experience.

Re:Yeah yeah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970448)

Spot on with that mate. Recruiters and HR people are some of the thickest tools on the planet, after all they couldn't get a job doing anything else. During an interview suprise them and have a laugh by asking the interviewer "What does SQL actualy stand for?" or ask them "what FTP stands for?". Many times you get a blank stare, the idiot is just reading
off a list of acronyms that mean nothing. Don't take that job.

Being a computer scientist is a state of mind not a qualification. After I learned my 10th language I just got the ability to pick up anything new within a day or two and be skilled/useful at it within a week. When they ask do I know ZZ9-SkwigleNet (or some made up acronym you never heard of) just lie and say "yes, of course, I designed that", and if you can't pick it up in a matter of days by RTFM you probably aren't a real programmer and should get a job doing something else..

Re:Yeah yeah... (4, Funny)

ayjay29 (144994) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970476)

Too right...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Re:Yeah yeah... (1)

bloobloo (957543) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970481)

That's the same in any industry. If you've made it through the sift to interview, you pretty much meet the specs that they're really looking for. Putting excessive times is an attempt to weed out those who don't feel confident that they could do the job. I'm not saying that it is a good technique but it isn't unique to computers - it is the fact that languages are relatively new that makes it more obvious in IT. I'm a chemical engineer and my current position was advertised requiring 5-10 years of experience in one particular industry area. I had only three, and in another area and got the job.

Off-shoring not a problem? (1)

D'Eyncourt (237843) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970377)

From the article:
>The H-1B visas that enable foreign workers to take high-tech jobs are often
>viewed as a threat to U.S. workers, rather than the stopgap measure they
>are.

That's nice. I'll be sure to tell all of my over-40 friends who used to be in tech support and programming that they must have been mistaken.

dead end eghhh (0, Flamebait)

wwmedia (950346) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970381)

when i was in 3rd year in uni

i was making average 500euro a day ;) thanks to personal determination and great interest in my Soft Eng course (that was few years ago, things are alot better now)

in the meantime my friends from commerce and arts where working in local supermarkets and mcdonnalds (some of them still do )

as an added bonus i get to work rom home now and read /. every so often and not have to cook burgers for some snotty kids

Things are looking up (2, Informative)

LilGuy (150110) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970382)

I got a pretty decent entry position into a tech company with little formal experience and 1 year of college. I've been trying for years and when I'd pretty much given up opportunity knocked. Now we're hiring 3 more technicians with various backgrounds that don't really relate to what we do, but we need people badly.

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

But there's always that "bachelor's degree required" barrier for those jobs. It's pathetic.

Suits me... (4, Interesting)

thejeek (952967) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970384)

I'm sick of coming across people who got into this industry without any interest or aptitude because they thought it was a gravy train and didn't like us geeks getting all the money... I'd be happy to see a return to the glory days of unwashed pizza eating nerds -- jeek

IT Panning Out (1)

SluttyButt (264722) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970387)

For the fresh nerds out in the market, looking at IT strictly from the financial-return viewpoint, this can limit his vision of wanting to do stuffs that matters to him. What they can do is study lessons of the boomers like Jobs, Olsen, etc. and spend a little more time on the conservative side of things. It may not look attractive (now), but patience and diligence always have its own fruits of satisfaction - dealing with conservative ideas.

It is good that now we are seeing IT panning out to a wider mainstream adoption and outsourcing and its effects. On this aspect, do not position yourself in direct competition with this inexpensive labour. Ride on this wave but keep spending your time studying this phenomenon. There ought to be a new angle to this and this is where the next wave will come from - of course you want to be the first to ride on it.

You need to re-adjust your vision of having a career as a nerd. Don't get carried away by hackers-syndrome or big-money-league-game (Google). Success and fortune is merely a happenstance event under the shadow of a greater play of the spirit. This is not to be misunderstood. You may vet this statement by listening to the boomers - if you know how to.

IT like any other careers, is here to stay - in fact it has more leverage potential than the others, as they are crunching stuffs under the IT umbrella.

Come on! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970411)

For the most part there are two distinct groups in IT: true geeks, and the people who think they see a lucrative career opportunity.

True geeks don't really care as much about the "prospects". So long as they get to do interesting stuff, and play with the cool toys, they'll mostly be happy.

The other people buy an MCSE, work helpdesk for a few months, then either sleaze their way into management, or go back to selling insurance, once they see that IT requires a certain amount of dedication and aptitude.

The fact is there are two always-parallel ladders: tech and management. As the money-chasers climb the tech ladder, the going gets touger and tougher, until they are forced to leap over to the management ladder, or fall off the tech ladder, once they hit the level beyond which they lack the ability to develop further skills. This generally happens sooner rather than later.

Geeks can usually keep climbing the tech ladder forever (or until retirement/outsourcing/etc), and so in general don't have or want to leap across to the management ladder. Those few who do it usually regret doing so, and try to leap back to the tech ladder again.

Re:Come on! (1)

atompunk (87711) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970562)

I completely agree with your comment. I started doing IT because it was interesting enough to occupy my scattered mind. The upside to it is that most people are afraid of technology just enough to ensure my continued employment and the pay isn't bad either. However; I'll never go back to Corp IT again, too many politics and too many weird useless non-IT people drinking all the coffee in the department. I still have yet to test for any certs because I've not had a problem finding IT work. Then again, I'm a generalist not a specialist and I'm willing to work for a little less if the job is interesting. Finally, remember this old adage especially if you venture into self-employment: "You only have to be smarter than the customer you're working for."

Re:IT Panning Out (1)

LilGuy (150110) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970454)

I find your comment to be insightful and a bit deeper than the average response. Well said. I think it's something every geek knows, but many won't admit or aren't strong enough to fight the greed.

Career Path (3, Interesting)

jonv (2423) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970396)

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

It must be very confusing for anyone entering or considering entering the industry to see what the career path in IT is. In other areas (electrical / civil engineering for instance) a career initially progresses until chartered status is reached, this is understood by these industries and is a requirement for a more senior jobs. Such a qualification is available for IT (I am in the UK - not sure how this works elsewhere) but not considered valuable when looking for jobs.

I smell a rat.... (1)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970409)

Surely, if there is a 'shortage of good technologists' then salaries would naturally tend to rise anyway.

And if they're not, is it not the case that the same CIOs who are beating their breast at the continued lack of qualified staff, are using bogeymen such as outsourcing and offshoring to repress demands for higher salaries from the qualified staff that they already have? [Now that's a rhetorical question!]

What keeps me out of the field (5, Interesting)

tchernobog (752560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970413)

(Applies to Italy, but maybe to other countries too).

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

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

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

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

As many, many others born in the first half of the '80, I remember writing BASIC games like Snake on lonely Saturday evenings, when a child. Playing with LEGOs and reading a lot. All this is lost for the new generations... both due to increased complexity (when the model you grow up with is Final Fantasy two-thousand-fifty, who's going to program a Tris game in console?) and changes in our society (general disinterest, maybe because scared by a too complex world).

Re:What keeps me out of the field (1)

bloodredsun (826017) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970432)

So what's stopping you from doing it yourself? Seriously, why do you need to work for someone else to create software? I'm not saying become a businessman as your skills may not lie there but I am saying don't just complain about it and then do nothing.

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

Re:What keeps me out of the field (0)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970478)

It's not work, but slavery.

You'd do better without the histrionics and hyperbole. It's not slavery just because you personally think that you would find it boring and unfulfilling.

Not so different from Brazil (1)

zanderredux (564003) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970516)

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

I was just thinking of leaving IT because I came to realize that in Brazil, big money from IT only comes from sales. Yes, there's a lot of clueless pointy-haired people selling flashy stuff. Which is really annoying because most of the times the programming staff takes the hit, since the sellers end up promising way too much more than the software can actually do.

In the other hand, customization does not pay nearly as well because commercial programmers are extremely cheap here, since managers DO refuse to increase the pay of these professionals -- think as an implicit cartel run by the companies to fix wages in a low level. Also, incredible Brazilian taxes make it very hard for companies to keep good, seasoned programmers in their permanent IT staff, so we usually end up with the mediocre ones, as the really bright ones switch fields (most of them) or go work abroad.

Re:What keeps me out of the field (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970517)

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

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

IT is about delivering what customers need within a budget as fast as possible with a sustainable technology. The problems in IT are not technological, they are always people problems. Understanding customer needs and working in a team to deliver high value software on time and under budget is *hard*. Its much harder than writing a compiler or operating system. It requires skills that are not taught in CS courses, more's the pity. Ironically, most technological problems in IT are created by developers who think that technology is a solution.

If you find playing with technology more interesting than solving people's problems, you're not cut out for IT. I'm afraid that you're also not cut out for any kind of professional programming job. You (and everybody else) would be better off if you left programming as a profession as you suggest and just dabble in programming as a hobby.

Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970452)

"He suggests beefing up salaries and convincing young people that IT is a viable long-term career path would help to change this sentiment."

Why not just start employing people?

Can't agree more (5, Interesting)

linuxgurugamer (917289) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970455)

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

It's A Good Career Choice If You Can Be Adaptable (2, Interesting)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970468)

I've been in telecoms now for almost 25 years, I've never done anything else but field engineering or tech support work, I thoroughly enjoy training people but have no aspirations to enter management.

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

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

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

Grey boxes (1)

glas_gow (961896) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970470)

If you are in the IT department of some company whose sole computing requirements are basic internet access, email and office productivity software, then you're not exactly at the bleeding edge of computer science.

The stuff that's interesting, like forensics, security and code innovation, just isn't associated with the term IT because the term is so general it means everything and therefore nothing.

IT is not a profession (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970472)

A profession is an activity where one is treated as such. IT is not such an activity. We all know why. If you are going to spend 4 or more years in university, then get a degree in a profession, where you will be treated as such and not like an idiot in an open plan purgatory chicken battery like most of us nowadays. Also, professionals don't create solutions using patently wrong methods which were recognized as such 30 years ago. Schools are teaching interesting stuff these days, only in a real world business environment they are useless.

What happens to old IT geeks? (1)

frinkacheese (790787) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970482)

What path is there for the it professional in later life? When you're 40, 50, 60 even 65-70 with retirement ages rising what do you do? There is only a finite space for manager/director roles so what do all the older people do?

Re:What happens to old IT geeks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970496)

There is only a finite space for manager/director roles so what do all the older people do?

Drive erratically

Let the ranting begin! (1)

DV_Philm (782171) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970502)

High Cowboy Neal - Long time viewer, 1st time poster (I think).

I can't speak for anyone else, but...
My issues with this career are as follows:
-Busted my butt for 4 years as a help desk and field technician, with a 4 year degree in something else and a 2 year in CIS. I would meet paper McSees making twice what I made and didn't know squat. Then they fired me because I made more money then the other two monkeys there.

-Couldn't find a job making more then $12 an hour in IT. So I moved.

-Got a job with a real company only to realize that there is no such thing as an IT person over 40. Where did they go? As an IT person I am told on a daily bases how important I am and how I "saved the day". Meanwhile, my boss went to a meeting on the issue of redoing our external website only to have a department manager say to him, "I have checked into this and we can save a lot of money if we just use FrontPage." Time to try and get a job with the government (state, etc...). At least there is some protection there. My pay is low as it is (Can't afford a house), so how bad could it be? Really?

There are NO JOBS! (4, Insightful)

kaiwai (765866) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970506)

I'm here, down in Christchurch, New Zealand - sure, not exactly 'silicon valley' but ok none the less; Where are the IT jobs? Here are my pet peeves so far with job searching:

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

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

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

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

Right now I am back at university (again!), studying a Bachelor of Commerce, Majoring in Management - am I going to get a job afterwards, no bloody way; I'm starting my own business, and all I can say, is when I hire people, I won't be relying on 'recruitment agencies', I'll hire them myself, I'll interview them myself, and I'll actually take a damn interest in interviewing each one who replies - and those who I need to question in reference to their resume, will actually get contacted!

It is a dead end career (0)

eviljav (68734) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970507)

Even with no offshoring, IT is a dead end career. You can reasonably expect to top out within 4 or 5 years, and after that, the only way for your career to grow is to go into management. And if management is your interest, you would be better served studying business in college, rather than IT.

IT Ain't Dead End (1)

dark grep (766587) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970509)

Being in the middle of a reasonably successful career in IT, I think it is a fine path to pursue. But lets be honest, if you work in IT you are going to have to admit that many, many of the people you work with are dead end people. There are many fine ones too - but pound for pound we seem to have more than our share of people who, for whatever other fine and noble aspects of their personality they may have (and however well hidden), are certain to only rise to the level the incompetence of their management will allow.

not a myth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970512)

any of the market driven, electronics centered industries is short term, computing or telecommunications. Unlike most other 'trades' these are subject to extremely rapid change and keeping up usually takes more time than most people have. Contracts are often short and companies seem to be constantly evolving and shedding people with each change in direction.

Compared to other trades, computing is a dead-end job, or you burn out trying to keep up with the changes.

Re:not a myth (1)

indiorunner (928915) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970532)

The whole concept of a computer science degree is that you can pick up any language/framework relatively quickly because you have learned the core concepts that are applicable to most languages (algorithms, data structures, OO design patterns,etc..). Many employers fail to recognize that and you can get jobs w/o even having a degree. I put a lot of time and effort into CS and it eats me when I see non-CS guys with some fancy Certification making tons more than I can dream of making when I know I have worked maybe twice as hard to get into the IT industry.

I feel short changed when somoene with less qualifications gets more $$$. I've learned this is more than just being the best at what you do but also being the best marketer of yourself.

Oh yea, OPen source is the way to go people.

The industry is changing not dying (4, Interesting)

el_womble (779715) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970533)

Not all jobs can be offshored. I'm outsourced to the government, and, because of the data I work with, my job can never be offshored. I suspect, thats true of some banking information, and probably true of a few other paranoid businesses, but I have no proof to that effect. So paranoia and security can, and will continue to keep some enterprise grade software firmly onshore.

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

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

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

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

The Reason Why (3, Insightful)

segedunum (883035) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970534)

The reason why people bemoan the lack of good technologists is because IT is not a real profession. Rather than accepted standards, as there is in any other field like architecture or engineering, in the IT and especially the software world we have vendor oriented bullshit with billion dollar companies wanting to sell you more shite than you already have.

The world is also filled with MCSEs, people with .Net, Java, SQL Server etc. etc. skills on their CVs but people then find out that they cannot design a database properly. The amount of databases I've seen where everything is in one table is staggering. Basically, IT (and especially software) as a profession needs to grow up, otherwise the situation will continue.

A little outsourcing of my own... (2, Funny)

rpilkey (107621) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970546)

Then I'm sure that Robert Mitchell won't mind hearing that I will no longer be getting my tech news from ComputerWorld, but http://www.siliconindia.com/ [siliconindia.com] . Rog

they want specialized skill sets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970547)

One of the reasons that employers have problems filling positions is that they want highly specialized skill sets that hardly anyone has. They won't take someone close and let them come up to speed. So jobs go unfilled. Specialization is a serious concern in IT. I am a program. Technologies that are valued change over time. The problem is that employers are not particularly interested in people who have proven track records doing one thing and letting them ramp up on something else. Even if you spend time at home getting good at a programming language and the framework employers base salaries on how many years you have on your resume doing a certain skill. They care less how good you are. This is problematic for long term careers. Employers reward specialization than when that specialization is not valued slap you down. Also, H1-B work typically are the lowest paid members of the team. I have worked with very good H1-B programmers who did not get a raise for 3 years and worked all nighters(the Americans refused to do it). Keep in mind even though technically employers are supposed to pay H1-B visa holders the 'prevailing wage'. There is no real definition for this and there are no penalties for not doing this. So they drive down wages. I would feel better if there were laws with pnalties requiring H1-Bs to make the same money Americans do. This way we compete on a level playing field. The big danger is L-1 or L-2 visas. Large companies open up offshore development shops. Then 'transfer' people here for up to a year and pay them in offshore wages. I have been with companies that do this. This is primarily done with programmers. They fire or do not hire Americans and bring in the cheaper offshore labor. Again we are not competing on a level playing field. There are alot of short term programming jobs where its ok that the guys from India will just quit and get more money when they get home. Employers are not honest when they are offshoring jobs. I quit a fortune 500 company 2 years ago because of offshoring. No one was losing there job at the time, but you could google them and see they were hiring 1000s of people in Bangalore and had people here for training. When I quit managers gave me a hard time because 'why should I worry about it until it happens'. Well because I don't want to waste my time and I don't want to have to find a job with 2 weeks severance pay and being unemployed. 1 year later they laid people off. So they were BSing people to get them to stay until they wanted to dump them. Another problem with IT is contracting. I hate contract recruiters. I get lied to by them all the time. They also drive down wages. Programming jobs are becoming more and more migrant. You need people for short periods of time, then these lifecycle is over, get rid of them. So they use contractors. Contract companies are middle men. They get paid for forward resumes. Its not uncommon to see the exact same job advertised 5 times by 5 companies on the same job site. All will lie to you and tell you why you should be submitted by them(Smart people look for the highest rate). Sometimes you are required to go 2-3 levels down. So there are 2-3 levels of middle men getting paid before you which drives down wages more. You also know you are in trouble when only one contract company is allowed to bid on a spot. They will often take bids on rates and only submit the lowest rates. If the rate is even in the ballpark, I typically take the interview. Get the contact info from the client, impress them, then tell them I want more money. They tend to get pissed, but one time I got my rate increased by 25%. The contract company ate it. Another problem with IT, is that its hard to move up into management. Like any profession, the bulk of the rewards for compensation are in executive management. So why would I want to stay at a low level? Companies are reluctant to promote their best programmers because they have to be replaced. This makes many jobs dead end jobs. This is why I job hop. I see no reason to waste my time if someone else will pay me more or if I won't get promoted. I think IT people should practice employee side capitalism and job hop. You owe your employer nothing. They will replace you with cheaper labor if they can. They will not be honest about it in advance. You owe them nothing. So just quit on them. I stop learning new things on a project after about a year. I find that I learn alot when I go to a new project/company then it tapers off. So why stick around?

Myth? (1)

edward.virtually@pob (6854) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970549)

Um, it's not a myth. The pending offshoring of the vast majority of IT jobs has been documented repeated, on this website in fact. Combined with the fact that most IT jobs now provide little autonomy and lots of tedium, stress, and responsibility, you can see why so many college students can think of better things to dedicate their lives to. IT execs have only themselves to blame for IT's lack of appeal since they are the ones causing it.

I'm about to graduate high school... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970553)

I'm a graduating senior, and I'm one of those who was afraid to pick an IT major. Can /.ers actually in the field right now tell me why I _wouldn't_ expect my job to be outsourced?

Anything I can do, a 25-year old Indian can do for a 1000% less salary. I have really been wondering about this for a while, a few contacts of mine who are in the field were usually negative about it. So, I'm honestly curious on what /.ers can tell me about being in IT and securing a job; because I don't want to get into a field, however interested I may be on it; where I won't be able to secure a job and make a living for myself.

Unrealistic expectations...from both sides (1)

Jack Sombra (948340) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970560)

It's a pretty straight forward situation There is a "skills shortage" because the paymasters want local people at offshore rates while we (The people in the IT industry) want pre 2000 rates. Until the two meet in the middle people will continue leaving the industry and paymasters will continue to cry "skills shortage" Though also paymasters have to become more realistic, just because the last person they had 8 years of X, 4 years of Y, 6 years of Z.2 does not mean they need that for their replacement...and just because the offshore company claims its people do have this, it is not likely to be the actual truth.

video evidence (1)

NynexNinja (379583) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970563)

I think we need to look no further than this video [google.com] to understand why doing what we do is so important.

it's a rubbish career (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14970564)

There are two sorts of people in IT - slightly malodorous techies and scheming, devious managers. If you want a career where you can make serious money and earn respect for actually doing the job (rather than plotting ways to stop other people doing it) go into law or medicine.

Blame the management climate (1)

simong (32944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970570)

I'm currently a contractor working for large IT company (1) on a greenfield project in Leeds in the UK. A little less than two years ago I quit working for large IT company (2), where I had been TUPEd in from my previous employer (UK employment regulations that basically state if a company outsources services, the service company cannot lay off the company's staff). In the last year large IT company (2) have laid off a considerable percentage of their technical staff, including many of those people who were transferred in from other companies. Large IT company (1) outsourced their field support staff to large IT company (3) and considerably reduced their permanent technical staff. In the meantime, both large IT company (1) and (2) now have to employ contractors to run their services. This is primarily an accounting ploy, but indicates the lack of thought prevelant in the upper reaches of management, who seem to believe that the actual nuts and bolts of building systems is done by magic. All three companies are respected names in IT but all want to be management companies and as such seem to have forgotten what the core of their business is.
A frequent consequence of this is that customers rapidly tire of the lack of expertise and support available to them and decide to insource their services again, and people like me go and help them do that.
Add to that the multitude of government projects that are ongoing, quite possibly for ever, or until a different party gets elected, and there's plently of work to be going on with.
In the meantime, all three large IT companies keep landing big contracts, find they don't have the staff and have to hire people like me to keep going.
What's wrong with this picture?

Step #1 (1)

Kithraya (34530) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970573)

Step #1 to dismantle the myth of IT being a dead-end career is to actually make it NOT be a dead-end career.

To the six people who think they've got a good IT job right now, have you thought about where that jobs leads you when you're 30? 40? 60?

Re:Step #1 (1)

simong (32944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970584)

Well, 40 is approaching at great speed for me and I finally believe that I have the wearwithall to start my own business. I know I couldn't have done it before.
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