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10 reasons to stay in IT

Thinking about quitting IT? Alan Norton did -- more than once. See why he says there are 10 good reasons to hang in there.

In his article 10 reasons for quitting IT, Jack Wallen listed some rationales for leaving the IT profession. I would like to offer a different viewpoint, with a few thoughts of my own that may help elucidate why you should stay in IT.

1: Money, money, money

While it is true that you work hard for your money, IT professionals are well compensated for that hard work. The pay isn't just good, it's great. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' An Overview of U.S. Occupational Employment and Wages in 2010 (Chart 6, PDF), computer and mathematical sciences ranked third in 2010 of all major occupational groups with an annual mean salary of $77,230. Only the management and legal occupations had higher earnings.

2: The professionals

If you are like me, who you work with is extremely important. After all, more than one quarter of your working life will be spent with them. I have worked with professionals and those who weren't so professional. I prefer the former and run from the latter. I have met professionals in other occupations, the defense industry to name one, but the professionalism of IT workers ranks right up there at the top.

3: Career continuity

The second time I left IT, I wanted to take time off and do nothing. I found out, too late, that being away from your career can make it harder to return. The biggest problem is how you are perceived by a potential employer. Employers don't like gaps in your resume. You may have the unfortunate opportunity to discover the hard way that discrimination of the unemployed is real.

4: The challenges

One reason I chose to write computer programs was that I found it challenging. When coding, not a day that went by that I didn't run into at least one obstacle in my path. IT professionals thrive on solving puzzles and problems. With the right mindset (which is necessary to be successful in IT), obstacles become challenges. Information technology is challenging, but you won't find it boring. No matter what your role is in IT, the challenges you encounter tomorrow will likely be different from those you experience today.

5: The rewards

Challenges, when met, are rewarding -- another reason to choose and stay in IT. I have never been more professionally satisfied than when a program I wrote actually worked as designed, without errors, or when a long-term systems project was successfully completed on time. Okay, so you're probably not saving lives. But if you support the medical profession you are helping to save lives. And you're saving blue- and white-collar workers the drudgery of tasks that can and should be done by a machine. Few people enjoy doing the grunt work. The systems I built during my career replaced numerous menial tasks. I can honestly say that except for a few rough patches, I left work at the end of the week satisfied, knowing that I was helping others do their jobs better. No matter what role you play in IT, helping people and a job well done create self-esteem and a sense of achievement that are highly rewarding.

As TR member Chronological put it, "Most challenging jobs ever? Maybe. Most enriching jobs? -- 100% sure."

6: Marketability

IT professionals have a much better chance of finding and keeping a job. The future looks bright for IT pros -- at least in the United States. Five of the top 20 and 14 of the top 50 highest paying jobs with the most growth potential are IT jobs, as ranked by CNN Money and PayScale.

7: The skills

Those who want to work in IT are typically quite intelligent with unique attributes and skills. IT attracts the analytical thinkers and technically inclined of the world. If you have these qualities and skills, you can find a home in IT.

Another good reason to stay in IT is to keep your skills up to date. Leave IT for too long, and your skills will become rusty or even obsolete. Before you leave IT, consider that your employer is paying for you to learn new skills and keep your existing skills current. Those skills are an investment in your future.

8: The respect

Jack mentioned in his article that IT professionals get no respect from the general public. I know from your feedback in the forums that many of you agree and feel that you aren't getting the prestige and respect that you deserve. If you are doing your job well, your perceived lack of respect may be due to the ignorance of the beholder and not through any fault of your own.

The general public may well be a tough sell, but you can find respect from your peers. The knowledgeable and wise professional values the contributions of others and shows respect for his or her peers. IT is a great place to earn respect. If you can't earn respect in IT, you probably won't be able to earn it in any profession.

Perhaps I have just been lucky or naïve, but I have always believed that I had the respect of my managers, associates, and clients. Perhaps most important, respect is a matter of attitude, your attitude, and your perception of how others see you.

9: The geek factor

IT is the perfect place to satisfy your craving for cutting-edge technology. Where else are you going to meet your geeky needs and get paid for it? If you enjoy thinking in bytes, gigahertz, flowcharts, milestones, and IF THEN ELSE statements, you will like working with others who share your interests and unique language.

10: The love of IT

Most people who choose to work in IT love what they do. Come on, admit it. Deep down you love your work. For those who don't, it's all relative. When you consider the other jobs available to the masses, and their pay, you just gotta love IT. If you can find nothing you like about you and your IT job, perhaps it is time you parted ways.

In one discussion thread, IT_Goddess may have said it best: "How many peeps can say they really like/love their jobs? So many people I know, outside of IT, dread going into work. Most IT folk I know love their jobs, as long as they are getting fairly compensated for what they actually do."

The bottom line

I have been away from "formal" IT for quite some time now. I have learned from the school of hard knocks the many reasons for staying. Truth be told, I miss each of the above items, more or less in the order listed. When you get right down to the basic reasons for working in IT, more needs of the technically minded are met by IT than by other professions. And the jobs are good jobs. According to the Wall Street Journal, Two of the top five jobs for 2011 were IT jobs: software engineer and systems analyst.

I understand the grueling daily grind all too well, the stress of shouldering responsibilities day in and day out, the long, tiring hours, and the many never-ending frustrations. When your focus is on checking off one more to-do item and answering one more email, it's not hard to understand why you can't see the forest for the trees. I guess it is often human nature not to recognize the positive aspects of where you are in the here and now. As Joni Mitchell once sang, "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone." It's not really necessary to leave IT, like I had to, to appreciate its many benefits.

Additional resources

About

Alan Norton began using PCs in 1981, when they were called microcomputers. He has worked at companies like Hughes Aircraft and CSC, where he developed client/server-based applications. Alan is currently semi-retired and starting a new career as a wri...

96 comments
cynwyant
cynwyant

We have a great group of End users at our site and they really do respect our skills and assitance. Makes the job better knowing they respect and trust us.

ronjons6
ronjons6

I don't like when companies claim they can't get qualified professionals so they request H1B visas. In reality, they did not look. Companies use H1B visas to lower the salary range of the IT market. There are plenty of qualified IT professionals within this country. Our colleges flood the market every year with IT grads. So, for a company to say they can't find US citizens is a farce.

SmilingGuy
SmilingGuy

BUT it is also a job with most uncertainty because its value is difficult to be seen. People remenber you only when they have issues. In my opinion, the best form for IT employment is CONTRACTOR. Many of my friends prefer 5 years of contract than the PERMENENT position. If you are union member that is great, but if you want to move to exampt, consider CONTRACTOR. Is there any PERMENENT?

bmeyers
bmeyers

Sounds like the author has been away from I.T. long enough to suffer from the very human "The Grass is always greener on the Nostalgia side", and therefore to remember only the good parts, and none of the bad. It also sounds like the author was a code-guy and maybe not a systems analyst, or DB admin... Being a DB analyst, I can tell you were dammed if we do, and double-dammed if we don't. By that I mean if everything is running well, by the numbers, according to established parameters, the bean-counters start wondering why they need us and begin to plan to eliminate us. Then if some emergency does occur, and it's detrimental to some data they need, that they did not bother to backup or archive according to I.T. protocols, which were put in place to prevent this very emergency, you can bet the bones crunching under the bus wheels won't be the bean-counter. Were out own worst enemies when it comes to tooting our own horns. And we tend to be humble, by design or just because we don't have the damn time to bask in the glory. Everybody I know in I.T. is tremendously overworked if they are any good at all. That bears repeating, because even today, high-caliber talent of the non-specializing specialist is still very rare. And, Frankly, we are very underpaid for the hours we put in. I have a few friends who routinely put in 12 hour days with no hope of overtime or even comprehensive pay. They do it because nobody else will, or can. Maybe you've forgotten the feeling of being King Tantalus, pushing the giant boulder of IT up the hill every day, only to be inevitably crushed by it over and over again. Or worse have some mid-level management ninny tell you how you can better do your job when they've come over from some department with one tenth the workload, and none of the sense of urgency or responsibility. Nope, sorry. Your analysis simply does not hold up to scrutiny in my experience. I'm tired of giving %100 only to be ignored by people who have come to expect I will break my back for them without reward. IT is not my life. My family is the reason I come to work. I work to live, I do live to work. Never love your company, because it will never love you back.. Only some of your coworkers are capable of that emotion. Bit of a rant, but, I feel much better now. Thanks ;-p

edotamen
edotamen

I can't help noticing that every time I see one of these stories showing the positive perspective of IT tribulations, it's written by a "software person," not the infrastructure or endpoint service types. I am sure it is just sour grapes, as the reason I ever got into computers to begin with was the challenge and creativity of programming, but have ended up painting myself into a corner of one of the lower-paying, and much more mind-numbing sub-fields within the growingly broad "IT" category. It's always important to be aware of where your strengths truly lie, and not be affraid to change course without having to jump ship altogether.

mickyel
mickyel

Constant growth with changing technology is great. You will never get bored in IT because as soon as you grasp one technology another one comes out to take its place. I love the diversity.

bruceu
bruceu

Alan's 10 points are pretty much spot on from my experience. I have been in IT for 38 years but started life as a Civil Engineer but found IT and particularly software development even more satisfying. Both careers actually require similar skills - esp. powers of lateral thinking, problem solving and a logical mind. In 2012 here, the economy started a downturn and many business areas suffered such as the building and related industries. As a result, I was made redundant in April 2012 just 2 months before turning 60. I can tell you that software jobs are hard to find at my age. I specialise in MS Access/VBA so my skills are a bit outdated. I have tried to pick up new skills like MySQL/PHP and tablet apps etc. I have found though that the recruiting industry has a lot to answer to - they don't want to deal with older people & often don't even get back to you no matter how hard you chase. I have found that one key to survival for young IT folk is to "re-invent" youself about every 7-10 years. ie. re-skill. You have to move with the times - don't rely on what skills you leave university with. They'll be outdated before you know it. I have re-invented myself twice since I worked that out & it saved my bacon. When the dot coms were crashing here in 2000, I was able to turn to Access/VBA and build my own business. Prior to that I had been mainly a Fortran guy. I have been lucky though - all my clients have shown me enormous respect & continue to. Why? They get what they wanted and much more. They also learn a great deal about our industry & start to see possibilities that they never thought of. I get paid well and love what I do - there's no greater buzz than to develop a really effective system and see it in constant use for 10 years or more! I admit things are tougher for me now as I approach 61 but never give up on yourself. Your skills and abilities will appeal to someone. Technology keeps you alive and eager to learn new things - do plenty of reading, try new things out - you'd be amazed how you can impress people. Final tip - it's never about the technology; it's about the user always. Technology is the great "enabler"!

Adam_12345
Adam_12345

but I can't agree with all the points mentioned here. Why is the first point: money ? Dealing with IT is not always about money (I mean, dealing with real IT stuff like creating algorithms or creating web applications etc). There is a lot of people who work in IT area and they don't get so much money and many of them treat IT as a passion, hobby. If you think about getting money on IT in first place you will never get money in this business. Speak with (now commercially known) B.Gates, Linus Thorvalds, Steve Wozniak and many other before they bacame CEOs etc. when they were even script kiddies who learnt creating code on others code and they evolved. The same thing with hackers, crackers, beta testers and other people hooked on IT stuff and their way is very similar.

roygertig
roygertig

Let's face it. Alan is right about the respect; but if a Sys/Srv/Ntwrk/Stg administrator is doing his/her job, nobody knows about it. That is until the system crashes and you get all the (dis)respect you can handle.

danielsweb
danielsweb

There's good money to be made in IT, maybe not so much hardware or fixing computers but more with the Web Development, Webosting and SEO services. This is where the money is, remember retail and everything is going online. Soon shops will be empty and be replaced by websites.

ironguts
ironguts

Sadly this is not my reality... as a Canadian I'm was lucky to make 50K a year, IT jobs are getting outsourced and people are getting laid off. I loved my job in IT but in the past year I was over worked for months with on call pages till I was finally laid off for 4 months now. More Schooling was not an option after finding out that schools have empty classrooms for IT related fields. I officially retired from IT after 6 years of work.

albayaaabc
albayaaabc

He/She IT 's (~its) can find the work through interest ways as He/She could through hard decision to execute it. Axactly the job come to He/She find it.

MeijerTSR
MeijerTSR

Pull the main fiber lead coming into the server room. Go to another part of the server room and do something constructive. When you get the call that the server room is down say, "Boy, its a good thing I'm here already." I don't have the nads to do that myself, but I know someone that did (and I should add that they are the only person I have even heard of doing anything like that in my 25+ years of IT). They still are working in IT in this company BTW. (This is just the Cliph Knotes version, do not want to write a book about every detail.)

John_LI_IT_Guy
John_LI_IT_Guy

I've got 18 years in. IT used to be something I liked doing. Today not so much. Can you say ITIL, metrics, SLA's? I used to be able to just go and fix the problem at hand. Now I've got ITIL in my way. It takes 3 times as long to get anything accomplished. Too many A$$ kissing project managers who know less about IT than Tarzan or Jane. I don't agree with getting paid to learn new technologies. Still running XP here. You have to fund your own education. Hey at least that cert is mine and I can leave without worrying about reimbursing my employer. Job security, that's a joke. I've seen too many good co-workers let go because of "downsizing" or "re-organization". Too many IT companies selling the Koolaid that outsourcing is the way to go. Most of them are sticking the screws to their employees so they can do it cheaper than the in-house IT staff.

KWBoyer
KWBoyer

I've been in software development for over 20 years, and it's been a bumpy ride, to say the least. I like it well enough, but I seem to be increasingly alone in that opinion, having had another opportunity (contract-to-hire) go south. My specialty is C/C++, and I've liked working with them. How do you "retool" a development career, or what else is there to do if it seems like it's a lost cause?

richardlr
richardlr

I have made six figure salaries in IT for more than 15 years. Working for large corporations can, depending on the company, destroy your integrity, your intelligence, your ability to think and your creativity. Corporations are generally run like the old Soviet Union except that they fire you instead of shooting you. Success: keep your head down, your mouth shut and toe the party line (Board of Directors = Politburo). All job descriptions should read "Keep boss happy." Creative thinking can get you shot (sorry, fired). If you really want a career, read "Social Engineering", bone up on NLP and learn to read and manipulate people. Forget about doing your best. Concentrate on money and power - that's what you're there for right? If you feel the need to think for yourself, find a small company doing something leading edge and maybe you'll hit the option lottery.

caroseed
caroseed

What about cloud computing? It will definitely change things, but those changes could be positive. I'm guessing that the server experts may face mass redundancy but a range of new job titles could also be created - how about Integration engineer or cloud operations manager? We're currently discussing exactly this topic on the LinkedIn MS cloud group (http://lnkd.in/sQiYk2). More views welcome....

veggiebob
veggiebob

I have worked in IT since 1980 --- did almost every type of work. But as the years went by companies want "experience". Back in the 80's thru mid 90's or so, you go to school graduate, a company would take you in as a trainee. Those days are just about gone. To prove my point --- in the .net days --- I went to school for Web Developer, went to a College part time, never got a job. Then --- I went to a county college for Cisco networking --- it was a Cisco Academy --- finished, got my CCNA, but --- no experience !! I was looking until my eyes almost fell out, could not break into a Cisco routing job. My company is small - I continue my education on my own, we do not change technologies as fast as they change (we are still running XP and a 2003 Domain). I'm the SE at my company. But when I look at job openings I see all that they want I say -- yeah right --- I do not have the experience at a company, school experience, yes no practical experience... That is what I do not like about IT. I will hang in but not 100% happy..... Bob

bhautik987
bhautik987

it feild are tough now a days and as there is not muc salary so dont waste time in it and going to sales,hr or managerial level /

TechnologyCerts
TechnologyCerts

99% of your own success and happiness, is in your attitude and outlook. IT is a great place to be, I agree-so be happy with where you are!

swatisharma1
swatisharma1

Hi. mrrockford, I am really glad to hear that you have 4 offers. but IT means update yourself with new technology and latest trend. You can choose any one but remember Join that one in which you think you can perform very well. After some time you have to go with some management courses..or some advance courses like SAP. Best of Luck for your future....

krlayne
krlayne

I have 3 more courses to complete my degree in Philosophy. I am getting out of IT completely. I am tired being the "fix-it" guy to the point that if a light bulb blows, people in the room look at me! I may not have any other marketable skills besides IT, but I will find some. Been doing it almost 25 years now, and yeah, I feel like it is time to move on.

alienviewpoint
alienviewpoint

Been in for 25 years. Used to be fun. I hate it now. I may, as the author did, find I need to go back. Fortunately, I made real good money, and saved enough to coast for a bit. But I feel I am smarter than to have to walk out of work everyday with my tail between my legs. Let'em fail. Let all the systems go down. Let millions get burnt up. My "ITOLDYOUSO" folder is full. I'm done....for at least 3-4 months anyway. I feel free.

chalicemedia
chalicemedia

Independent creatives and small business people have learned that the only way they can compete with the corporate behemoths is with sharp and innovative uses of tech. Look how many app creators (for both iStuff and Android) are small two or three person shops. As with the PT boats in WWII, speed and agility can not only compete with the slowly responding monsters, but they can actually win some. E.g. no major publishers in the book world or players in the music world are ready to get their feet wet beyond basic concessions to Amazon and iTunes, while indies are creating -- and feeding -- new niches every day.

albayaaabc
albayaaabc

when you live in IT section you find aground correction your way so nice to be intellegent but with your work be real life

realvarezm
realvarezm

the 10 resason above are contained in the word future. 90% of humanity knows what a computer is, at this time smartphones , epads and laptops are the top of sale for retail shops and datacenter are on the rise in every continent (even antartida). Intel will start to sale their 22nanometer procesor and cloud computing is becoming the next stage in evolution for the IT world. Finally, I was a salesman 15 years ago and at that time my future was uncertain, but then I got this job on a sales computer shop and found my path. Since then I have read and write about this, because has become a passion and I???m pretty sure this tool will give humanity the next step in our evolution as species. All and all is very interesting and fun. Cheers

cmartin_39
cmartin_39

Thanks for such great IT article,I got second toughs to continue on my IT career path. but I love what I do.I will continue on this path because I really enjoy it thanks again Juan Carlos

hauskins
hauskins

It really depends on what you are doing in IT. I bet helpdesk work is not that great or even being a CIO etc with all the headaches. Money is one thing, being happy and well grounded is another. I am on the verge of leaving "IT". It has changed over many years from a process of being involved in many technical aspects to one of being a social and entertainment system. Granted, one can find work that is technical (somebody has to keep things running), but in some ways the tech side is getting less and less, and even the pay has fallen. I have been in the middle of a consolidation and for me it has really not created a better place to work along with being happy and feeling productive. Rather, it has been years of social engineering and bickering, all very tiring. It may be that I just need to go out and find the niche I am looking for and see if I want to stay in the biz. There are other interesting things to do for a career and in many ways IT knowledge and methodology can be very useful in other circumstances. I agree with a poster who said that wages are being driven down with such things as elance.com. I have tried that site and not willing at the moment, to create a website for someone at $10/hour. Also another poster noted the absence of career path and that is true for me as well. Of course, one can chart a career by moving through several different companies and even going solo.

jacobus57
jacobus57

Things are different for coders (from my direct observations), and it is a huge stretch to generalize your experience to all of IT. Well compensated? not so much, especially if one tries to work in the NPO realm. Intelligent colleagues? Certainly not in the networking and hardware cfg/support realms. The occasional gem is there, but mainly my co-workers and managers have been a bunch of thieving grunts. Respect? This is a joke, right? IT is not life-and-death, but clients act like it is. I have done life-and-death, and have no problem with panicked calls about a dying baby or serious accident. I do have a problem with panicked (often late night) calls--to which I respond because I have an extremely high work ethic--about not being able to find a non-critical file on a newly configured system, especially when the file is there but the client did not bother to look. I have 25-odd years in IT, and would stack my expertise in cross-platform support, server and workstation hardware and software cfg, and networking against any of my peers. I love problem solving, but I hate the unreasonable expectations and lousy pay. I thought things would improve as a consultant, but even with cherry-picking clients it is a constant scramble fighting against incompetent, over-priced "Services" such as the G***-S***d and fly by night illegals who are able to undercut my industry standard rates. Definitely time for a change...

cybershooters
cybershooters

1. Money has at best been flat for years, going down due to off shore basing; 2. Know plenty of idiots in IT; 3. Can't think of any job with less continuity than IT, because it's usually short-term contracts nowadays; 4. Challenges = stress; 5. Can't say I've ever gotten much reward out of IT, as soon as you've solved a problem someone comes along and replaces the software with something new and you have to start all over again, very disheartening; 6. I'm not sure this is true anymore what with people sending everything over to India etc.; 7. Employers paying you to learn new skills? Wow, you must have worked for some good employers is all I can say to that one.; 8. Great, you earn respect from people you talk to on the internet, whoopee; 9. Most IT people don't work with "cutting-edge technology", more a case of keeping cranky old junk working to save a buck; 10. Nope, don't love it, only reason I do it is for the money. No other reason at all. What I've noticed actually is that people in IT on their time tend to be not that interested in IT, e.g. the latest PDA or the other latest widget, because they spend all week messing around with computers and want to recover from the eye strain during time off (I almost said weekend then, but another point - we have to work strange hours when we can get at the equipment).

hoppin_scotch
hoppin_scotch

I don't know in what fantasy land that the esteemed Mr. Norton lives in but here there is every reason to get OUT of the I.T. field. His "reason" to stay in do not exist here. 1. "Money, money ,money". Here, the I.T. pro is paid about one-half of what the job is worth and a little less than half of what I.T. pros get paid in other parts of the country. 2. "The professionals". Most of the "professionals" that I have met in my thirty-plus year career in I.T. have been the product of high school "boot camps" and were unable to perform most of the basic functions of user support. They _did_ know however, just how to brown-nose the equally inexperienced supervisors to get their own way. 3. "Career continuity". Speaking in a very broad manner, my career _has_ been continuous, if one discounts the Cincinnasty companies' habit of discharging their I.T. senior members after about two years of service. 4. "The challenges". The challenges of computer programming and support exist here as they do everywhere that computers are in use. 5. "The rewards". As Mr. Norton said, the rewards of a challenging job well done are the job, well done. If in the medical field, the I.T. pro may help to save lives. If in the less dramatic work-a-day field, then we save people the tedium of repetitive and almost mindless filing tasks. As for monetary rewards, those are non-existent. 6. "Marketability". Right. Move from one company to another, always at "entry level". Why? Because of the great surplus of high-schoolers and boot-camp graduates who possess the toilet-paper Micro$oft Certified Systems "Engineer" certificate. H.R. departments and clueless, inexperienced I.T. supervisors (who are grads of the very same boot camps) hire the paper, believing that a certification makes a computer technician. I have a single word to describe that attitude. In lieu of that word, I will say this one. WRONG! 7. "The skills". Mr. Norton said, "Leave IT for too long, and your skills will become rusty or even obsolete." BULL! The computer operates today _exactly_ as it operated in Mr. Norton's youth in the days of the x286. In truth, today's PC operates exactly like the computers of _my_ youth operated (at least the _digital_ ones!). It is just that 2011 computers are a bit faster. Windows still "operates" the way it always did, DOS still operates under Windows like always (no matter WHAT the pundits say,Windows is a shell), UNIX still operates like a committee that cannot meet simultaneously, like always. Users have not changed at all. They still depend upon the deskside support tech and the helpdesk tech to hold their hands and meet their every need both at work and with their home pc's. The "skills" do NOT become obsolete and the "rust" is easily removed. 8. "The respect". Not here. Not from the users, not from the supervisors, not from the managers. Respect for the I.T. professional is non-existent. We are thrown away like used dental floss when the job is done or if there is a penny or so loss in projected sales. I.T people are expendable. As one manager put it, "I manage positions, not people. Management is management. I do not have to know anything about the job. That's what the I.T. people are for. I can replace any one of you techs in ten minutes with a phone call to ******* Temporary Service." 9. "The geek factor". IT is the perfect place to satisfy your craving for cutting-edge technology. I cannot argue with that one. I.T., even here, generates a bit of pay for playing with computers. 10. "The love of I.T.". I do like working with computers and I like working with the occasional actual I.T. pro that I meet. I guess that is why I'm entering my thirty-first year in I.T. Know that I would go to a town that appreciates the I.T. pro if only I could afford to move. I can't do that though. Here, the I.T. guy is worth $10 or $12 per hour.

richard.a.hubbard
richard.a.hubbard

1. Only some metropolitan areas have large enough companies to make any kind of career path possible. With no corporate headquarters, small consulting companies or IT staff for small "regular" companies offer little if any promotion prospects 2. If you work in one of those industries that isn't an IT company, IT is usually the first job description (after training) to get laid off. After all, when everything works, why do you need people in IT. 3. Outsourcing to India and H1b visas are the way to go for any up and coming MBA equipped CFO. Who needs Americans who demand a living wage when you can hire cheaper from Thailand? 4. Since IT is not a revenue source, respect from the rest of the company is minimal except at very well run companies. 5. Dilbert is not fiction. Of course, I changed careers at a wonderful time. Now I'm a high school science teacher. At least when I was in IT, I didn't have Faux News telling the world that I am overpaid because I can afford to drive a Hyundai.

premiertechnologist
premiertechnologist

Management today always seems to be sold on what's cool and what's hip about 7 years from now and want people who can do the future stuff today: It may make no sense, but these people are in control. For example: They are going to replace the IBM Mainframe. It's going to go. So they fire the people who maintain it. No plan. Just a vision. It's just got to work out. Two things: Tough to get a job; the work isn't fun any more because of bizarre politics. Working with 3d Printing would really be fun. It's relatively new and exciting. Eventually, say in 3 decades, everyone everywhere won't be going to the hardware store any more -- they'll just print the parts they need at home. The world will change. See! Another vision of the future a lot of people assume is already here -- that's the problem IT folks face: Visions of things to come which may never appear.

ms.palanisaami
ms.palanisaami

I am from India, and I don't think that IT is the best area to work. Here is the pay structure of different levels in Indian IT- 0-2 yrs = 7500 to 8000 USD annually 2-5 yrs = 8000 to 12000 USD annually only the ppl in management who are idle most of the time get paid well. The Petroleum sector is highly paid sector in India with lots of benefits and salary more than what is paid in IT. I would prefer this sector, as it is a public enterprise, work time 8 hrs and no work load. Bu tin IT work time of 11+ hours a day.

ITgurrl
ITgurrl

I don't have a CS degree, but I've been working in the this field for a few years. I am thinking of getting a degree because I feel I get passed over for jobs because of l'm lacking a degree and/or certifications. However, I will be in my mid 40's by the time I get the degree. Will I still be at a disadvantage at that point because of my age (competition with 20/30-some year olds)? Yes, there is something to be said about maturity, but realistically, will I be still at a disadvantage getting a degree relatively late in the game... If you were the employer, what would you think?

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

IT has been a permanent career for decades. It's enabled me to be permanently employed, give or take a couple of weeks. Permanently employed by one employer, well no, why and who cares? One contract I had the some of the guys had been there for decades. The uncertainty is a result of a belief in the myth that salaried = permanent. They are still there, doing Fortran under VMS. If that need was to go, they are going to be well stuffed, contractor and salaried...

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Paperless Office will be a reality. Sorry but I've been hearing that for over 20 years now and it's still no closer today than it was 25 years ago. Col

Alan Norton
Alan Norton

No doubt that cloud computing will change the way IT works, but will the changes be more positive than negative overall? Maybe I am too skeptical or too old school, but I just can't see everyone giving up control of their data. People give up control of their money and entrust banks to protect it, but will the keepers of the cloud data be as careful? People trust banks. How can the general public trust anyone who has their private information when every time they turn on the news another major Web site has been hacked and confidential information compromised? There are still too many questions to know what opportunities and positive benefits cloud computing will bring to the needs of IT users. But it will be interesting to see what the future brings.

Alan Norton
Alan Norton

Hi Bob. When you are young it is easy to get into a starting level position. When you reach a certain age it's very difficult to land one of those jobs. Even if you are willing to accept the lower pay and less 'prestige', you are not welcome and the excuse is always that you are overqualified. Perhaps hiring managers believe that someone going from a $70K per year position to a $40K per year position can never be happy and will always resent their new job. Some of us reach the bottom career-wise, jobless and without hope, and we are quite capable of swallowing our pride and doing a great job in an entry position. Don't give up though. Perhaps expressing the enthusiasm of youth and the right attitude will land you a job.

HypnoToad72
HypnoToad72

But it's still money that buys the food, tools, and continuing and expanding education.

Alan Norton
Alan Norton

Simply offer a different viewpoint than the one that was presented by Jack Wallen. Everyone is different. In a perfect world, everyone would love their job. As I said in the article, "If you can find nothing you like about you and your IT job, perhaps it is time you parted ways." Is there such a thing as a 25 year itch? :-) Good luck in your new career. I hope you find it rewarding.

Alan Norton
Alan Norton

I can only relate my experiences and my lessons learned. Things might work out differently for you. If you find you do miss IT, don't wait too long to get back in. 25 years is a long time. Is there such a thing as a 25 year itch? :-) Whatever happens, I wish you the best.

20YearsIT
20YearsIT

sadly, well said cybershooters ! here some others points : 11. Expected unpaid long hours 12. You are e-chained even on vacation or weekends. 13. When you turn the switch off, you wish could do the same telling the brain to stop thinking about work problems. Working 9-12 hours straight in programming it means that your brain will keep thinking same stuff, regardless if you want or not, till a couple hours after you go to bed. 14. Corporates love to hire HB-1s at 50k salary, even when we get over 100 resumes within 24 hrs from US citiziens. Keeping the salaries down because they " can not get enough talents in USA". 15. Diversity may be great, but most likely your working environment will be with people coming from 3d world countries. Different culture, different mentality, different hygiene and manners. Together with the fun and new world dimensions that diversity brings, as time goes by, prepare to get sometime miserably tired of it. 16. After work, you will be so tired, that may not have enough power to read books to kids, never mind doing other things.... 17. You don't see many programmers at 50s+, ask what happened to them, most likely it will happen to you. Very few make it up in the managements..... 18. IT is not like in lawyers & doctors field, where older you get, more offers you get. In IT field older get, less offers you get. Still I don't see any other field that I would jump and be as happy as I am in IT, it comes with its price. Still is the best what I could do happier. And to be fair, out there may be very few companies where working environment exclude most of the points above. But eventually, the aging point it will get you no matter where you work in IT. Think twice ! I wish the author would have added these points too for a complete picture of this field.

HypnoToad72
HypnoToad72

I've rarely seen in-house training, and then it's only given to people who suck up -- not those to who have actual good performance records... and they are deemed "too good at what they do" to be moved elsewhere. Any company moving towards new infrastructure has been bought on the claim(s) of "improved efficiency", "reduce the need for pricey, educated staff", etc... I'm sure the techiest geeks of them all will have the last laugh, but it won't be due to a joke meant to be funny. As for pay and not love-it or hate-it, the best work comes from loving the field. Unfortunately, while loving what one does is good for the soul, ours is a society about money. And how to get it from others, ethically or otherwise. But all your points are valid, and accepted, even with my angles on various aspects.

Alan Norton
Alan Norton

The only thing worse than a job you can't stand is being married to someone you can't stand. :-)

Alan Norton
Alan Norton

I can't really put a finger on why, but I never really liked Cincinnati. Right out of college I applied for a $10,000/yr job at R.L. Polk. No luck. I applied for another job where I had to take an aptitude test. Even though I scored an A-, I didn't get that job either. Maybe that had something to do with it. ;-) Moving is always tough but I love where I live now. BTW, computers may still use ones and zeroes but cars still have tires too. Most IT skills become obsolete and rather quickly at that - COBOL programmers and VB developers pre .net to name just a few. Edit: Fix HTML tag

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Textbook supply and demand issue. The indian IT boom wasn't based on quality or excellence, it was based on cheap, took a while to work through, but eventually all those involved got what they were paying for... Not picking on you, same happened in Europe during the boom. Shortage of professionals became give amateurs certificates to say they are professionals, and lower the cost of the real ones.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

India has a massive range of Medical Positions within that industry, it would however involve knowing what it is you want to do before starting your education and doing something suitable for what you want to do when you get out of school. But then that applies to anything. You have to look at what it is you want to do and not just blindly accept the BS that goes along with so many Career Counciling People who know no better. But the truth is the same everywhere no one is going to find the perfect job where the Land is covered in [b]Milk & Honey[/b] they have to work for the pay that they get and live the hours that the job that they chose to do requires. Obviously the newcomer will not get the same remuneration as someone who has spent many years learning their trade. Its no good looking at other professions at people who have years of experience and compare yourself to them when you are fresh out of school. They didnt get paid that well either when they first left school and had to earn the pay increases that they got. But the most important thing that I had to learn while I was at Uni was this:- [b]After all that Piece of Paper that you get when you leave School is just the License to allow you to start to learn your Trade. [/b] Col

davidmartinomalley
davidmartinomalley

I'm in the same situation as you - been in IT for 20 years, and trying to complete my degree. It hasn't held me back, but it may in the future. As for the age thing - it really does depend on what you're bringing to the table, what value you add to a department/business. If you are a "developer" and you earn more than a "developer" who is 10, 20 years younger than you, then you're competing. There's a prevailing wage for the skill/value you bring, and you're just not going to go much higher than that prevailing wage. I feel that NOT having a degree at all will hurt you more than having one at a late age. If you have a degree in another discipline (outside of CS), go for your masters. Just MHO.

netman03
netman03

I started in the Data Center running mainframes, made my way to Director of Technical Services (managed everything except programming). 15 Years and the company had a hostile takeover and then I was dowsized out of a job. My age is the touch of death. They would rather train younger people than use 15 years of experience. I feel for you. Good Luck!

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

They'll assume you've had it forever. I don't mention that I haven't got one and most assume I must have because otherwise I wouldnt be clever enough to do the job. I've thought about it a time or two myself, but having dealt with recruiters a few times about the only benefit I can see is I'd 'qualify' for a junior dev jobs, except I'd be too old, not that there's any age discrimitantion in our industry of course.... Hard to say how it will be taken, if it was me your degree would be irrelevant against your experience, but I don't wipe my elbow after a dump...

mrrockford
mrrockford

After a "52 semester break" I will be finishing my CIS degree this year. With a few hours left to finish (Gen Ed Stuff), I have had to turn down 4 job offers in the last 6 months. I would have gladly taken any of them but I want to finally get that sheepskin. When I walk across the stage I will be 48 years old. Just remember, in today's job market who you know is just as important as what you know.

Alan Norton
Alan Norton

Perhaps someone else can chime in with advice. Anyone with some HR experience could answer this better than I can. From what little reading I have done and what I have experienced about age discrimination, the older you get, the more difficulty you will have finding a good job. If that is indeed true, the sooner you act, the better. I believe that if you want something badly enough and work hard enough you can usually get it. Edit: Add last paragraph

bobc4012
bobc4012

Unfortunately, hoppin_scotch's situation is the norm!!! Unless you live in a large, city (e.g., NYC, DC, Boston, etc.), it is not easy to move to a new job. You sell your house (if you can) for a lot less than what you will pay for one in a larger area where you have a greater chance of finding employment. If you are single, living in an apartment, it is much easier. Another factor is one's age. If you are over 50, you are viewed as obsolete, regardless of your certifications and education and experience. In addition, you are also competing with those in countries like India, China, et al where the IT workers are paid considerably less, but still live well in their country. Another point, is when cost-cutting takes place, IT is typically at the top of the list for cuts. Spending hours helping out the inept middle manager (making a big 6 figure salary) fix up his/her screw-ups is never considered - you are just another piece of meat to be chopped off the slab.

MaSysAdmin
MaSysAdmin

Hoppin - I'm a native Cincinnatian in Boston and I really miss home (and Skyline, Graeters, and Montgomery Inn). I've been contemplating moving back but the IT career was rough when I left 5 years ago. It sounds like it's about the same.

ITgurrl
ITgurrl

That is awesome to know. Congratulations! So great to hear of your success story. To have to turn down 4 jobs in that short amount of time is a dream for most people in any profession! Kudos!

hauskins
hauskins

As I am sure you know, it is illegal to discrimination on age, but then they can find a dozen other things to say 'no' except that. I have seen age discrimination in action over the years. If you ever feel like that was the cause and want to pursue it, you might get one paycheck without working for that company ;-) If you feel that age discrimination is a possibility when you have had an interview, make sure and keep documentation, even some minor note taking at the interview. Be prepared if you actually wanted to pursue a case against an employer. I have hired people in their 20' s and people in their 50's. In my case, the 20's have a better overall tech understand in the current climate, but the 50's seem to know how to self manage and actually work.

ITgurrl
ITgurrl

I suppose if the demand for IT workers is greater than the supply (as it is now), then my plan could still be viable. That is really the only advantage I can think of. Thanks for calling out for any HR people who might want to comment.

cnoevil
cnoevil

You know, it ironic how most people figure that you're not too bright if you're a carpenter. They think you became a carpenter by default because you weren't smart enough to do something else. I chose my career as a carpenter because I loved building things. Unfortunately, after 30 years of building things my career just didn't turn out the way I had envisioned it. No exquisite hand crafted front entry-ways, no beautiful craftsman style cabinets, just fighting for a nickel with every other Tom, Dick and Harry for crap work. Anybody with a hammer is a carpenter and none of them are worth 10 bucks an hour any more. I've always loved technology and messed with computers, programming, gadgets, networks and electrical devices, so I guess it's never too late. I know everybody thinks that the younger folks are more well versed when it comes to technology but my experience has been that the ones I know only know about games and text messaging.

cemntshu
cemntshu

I changed careers from carpentry to IT and graduated with a B.S.I.T. in 2004 at age 45. I had taught myself database applications while I was in the construction industry to save time on worker???s comp audits, learning various programs on the way. While in school I marketed myself and was able to do some consulting projects for small businesses to get a track record of not being a total ???newbie??? so that when I graduated I would have some real world business skills. Since you have some field experience already, this will bypass some of the steps I had to go through. After graduation and some networking I was placed in my first job by an IT placement agency. I have been steadily employed ever since. Being a little older you will probably be better versed in people skills, and it will serve you well when interviewing and promoting yourself, since you will probably be doing a lot of team type projects; building consensus and presenting findings where you need more than just programming/development skills. Also, since there are still some ???older??? folk out there that have not embraced technology and are still somewhat afraid of it, you will find that you can be a valuable ally, being able to speak the geek and translating it to something that management can understand. Personally, I have also found that having an emphasis on ???boring??? data has kept me busy since most people want to do the fun stuff if you are so inclined to follow the same path. Hope this helps a little.

cnoevil
cnoevil

I'm just now working on getting my degree. I've pretty much had to start all over since the community college credits I had were 25 years old and at that time I did not complete my program. I'm 51 years old and choosing to leave the construction industry and move in to the technical fields, I.T. or instrumentation control work or whomever will have me. Anything but carpentry. The one thing I regret is not getting that degree so long ago...