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IT is one of the most popular careers to switch to

Over a third of respondents to a new Randstad survey say that if they had to switch to a different career, they'd choose IT.

A recent study from staffing firm  Randstad found that if US workers were to start their career over, IT is the most popular field to switch into. Additionally, over a third of employees deem computer and technology as the most important skills to growing their careers today.

Ironically, although highly sought after by overall employees, those currently employed in the IT industry reported the second to lowest retention index scores when compared to other industries (rating only higher than the HR/recruiting sector) and half say that they expect to be either seriously considering a job offer or accepting a new job in the next six months.

Kind of makes you wonder what's going on. At first consideration, I thought it was a knee-jerk reaction from a lot of people who are currently deeply enamored of their smartphones and tablets. They're all thinking, wouldn't it be wonderful to mess around with gadgets for a living? They're not considering, of course, the headaches and long hours involved in keeping data dealing safe, diagnosing server issues and dealing with people like themselves.

So what would you tell those who responded to this survey about a job it IT?

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

13 comments
lozzags
lozzags

Certainly seems like in these unstable times, people still need IT

wjkaliman
wjkaliman

I've been in the Field for 6 yrs and it's constanly changing. Its like a treadmill thats not stopping but only getting faster. Ive seen automation elimate jobs that were once problay thought to be a career position. As I said, only 6yrs and Ive witnessed what reisen55 comments about management outsourcing. It seems to come back to who you know and not how good your skillset is.

BigEugene
BigEugene

When I first started programming in 1956 (56 years ago) I was in a very select, highly prestegious group. People respected me like I was a rocket or nuclear scientist. Now, however, there are millions of software developers and it does not mean as much. If you have a government security clearance and have talent, then this field pays very well. If you do not have a security clearance, then you are competing with people in India, who are probably as smart or smarter than you and will work for a lot less money, so you will find it hard to get a good paying job. Besides the clearance, the other key to success is to know more about some small subset of computing than everyone else (or at least most everyone else). That way you talent will be in demand. You also want to get as many certifications as possible - they seem to be worth more than a BS degree.

reisen55
reisen55

Years ago when Novell was nifty and IT was respected, it was a good career but today American management is driving everybody with skill sets OUT of it by outsourcing and offshoring everything they can. I truly believe that IT is viewed not as an integral part of a business but as an expense line item that can be reduced if we outsource to India and thereby pay staff $5 an or so, maybe less, and no health care benefits either. Just look what IBM is doing with so many of it's employees. Accounts have deserted Big Blue because of bad service from India. AstraZeneca cut it's 7 year deal. ServiceMaster said BYE BYE and is insourcing everything. Hilton went away. And IBM views this as a good thing so they can further cut AMERICAN workers and invest more in India. IT used to be fun. It is dreadful now and I am the sorrier for it.

John_LI_IT_Guy
John_LI_IT_Guy

IT has changed for the worse in the last 19 years. Too many incompetent project managers!!! Too much emphasis on managing tickets rather than fixing real IT issues. It's all about how the reports look.

OurITLady
OurITLady

and they are sure they know what they're doing then I say good luck to them. I'm sure Jaredthegeek is right and people think we sit and play all day with the latest gadgets or software. What they don't see is the blood, sweat and tears when a business critical server dies at 5pm and we're there until past midnight trying to get it back online, the programmers trying to meet impossible deadlines, or the helpdesk/desktop support staff getting screamed at because someone isn't allowed to install a game on their company machine or get to their facebook account (not that we block facebook here unfortunately). I'm one considering moving away from IT, after 15 years it's not so much of an adventure as a major PITA. There are still aspects of technology I enjoy but they're decreasing rapidly and I'm hoping to get out before I lose the joy completely.

jaredthegeek
jaredthegeek

People look at IT as playing all day. They don't understand everything involved outside of maybe a helpdesk call person. Engineering a network, working long days and late nights. Its not all rosy.

cybnetic
cybnetic

More older folks and some younger I have witness of leaving IT due to too many issues with technology, people, career, incompetent boss's, peer's... etc etc.. People are just getting tired of all the bull you have to put up with it order to do this business. There is no easy work around for IT issues. Flower farming is looking better and better everyday.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000 moderator

But unfortunately not many want to pay for it as they are being told every day that everyone uses a computer these days so these same people are very IT Literate and do not require the support that they used to when they only used computers at work. The implication is that these people can fix their own problems and you don't really need a dedicated IT Support Staff or Department. In the oft touted vein of [b]Do More with Less[/b] which Microsoft has been pushing for years now it is generally accepted that a IT Service Staff is a Unnecessary Expense that can be done without. Of course this is only true till you actually attempt to [b]Do Without[/b] and the network comes crashing down because some end user who has given themselves Administrator Privileges has deleted the networking Protocols on the Server because it's not required on their workstation so it obviously wouldn't be required on the server. As many IT professionals will tell you a [i]Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing[/i] and when these people are let loose on a major network unsupervised and uncontrolled they can do in a few seconds what takes days or longer to undo and costs the company millions of $ in the process. The reality however is despite what the Bean Counters say to the Bosses the Bosses are unwilling to actually do away with their current support staff and departments but do use the arguments from the Accounts Department to push down what they pay their IT Staff and at the same time increase their workloads. To attempt to deal with this situation the IT Departments are getting more and more specialized and only employing people who know their exact systems as knowing more is a waste of their budget which they simply can not afford. So the end result is you get under prepared IT Workers who only know a fraction of what they actually need to know, get no funds for their continued education to learn new developments as they occur and are expected to deal with Migrations to new systems that they have no knowledge of, are not paid by the company to learn and are supposed to advise what is the best path ahead for the company into the bargain. As they have limited experience they naturally only recommend what is already at hand as they have little to no idea of the alternatives available and what funds are available for any new deployments get eaten up by their preferred and only known systems, Licensing Costs and tie the company into a system that may be suitable but just as easily is totally unsuitable and far more expensive than what could be had if a True Professional was dealing with the situation. Of course by skimping on fully rounded staff to begin with and saving money at the very beginning they tie themselves to what they have and really have no room to develop regardless of what new Technologies become available. They all end up with [i]well we currently use Product Y so the new version of Product Y must be an improvement and will increase our profits and cut down our expenses as the current version is reaching the End of Support so we simply have to upgrade/Migrate to the new version ASAP.[/i] The one certainty is that while it may be correct without knowing what else is available in all forms, expecting any advice recommending a move to a different platform/software application of any type from what is currently used is never going to happen. Col

Charles Bundy
Charles Bundy

[i]an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks[/i] Life itself is an adventure, but even with the knowledge that few escape that particular adventure [i]alive[/i] I'm excited to be on the path! :)

Charles Bundy
Charles Bundy

just how much less flexible I am to deal with it after 25+ years in the business. But unlike the technology one can develop a mitigation strategy that survives for more than 18 months wrt people. And people are much more interesting than flowers...

djnathan81
djnathan81

Unfortunately that path gets very old when it is continually repeated. That is why I change jobs every couple of years as even though the path is the same at least the scenery changes :)